< Back

Not to be Served by to Serve

September 11, 2018
By Kimberly Yip

"High school camp brought an opportunity that changed my perspective," Megan Hirasaki (Gr. 9) mused. When asked about her experience at high school camp, Megan replied, "It will be hard to forget." From August 14-17, the high schoolers spent four days at Pu'u Kahea Conference Center in Waianae learning more about God's love. The high schoolers were able to live out His word in the surrounding community through various service projects that addressed the needs of the kupuna and homeless.

Similar to last year, we spent two days at Waianae District Park's gym with kupuna from the Kupuna Wellness Center, a program offered by Lanakila Pacific. At the gym, the high schoolers and I entertained and connected with our partnered kupuna. On the first day, each student interviewed their kupuna, addressing the struggles they experienced in their lives and lessons that they wished to share. I was blessed to be partnered with two kupuna, Uncle Eugene and Aunty Audrey, who both taught me valuable lessons. Through his broken words and hand signals due to his impaired hearing, Uncle Eugene taught me that as long as there is a
will, there are no limitations. Meanwhile, through her joyful laughter and gentle smile, Aunty Audrey taught me the value of family as she gushed about future reunions she anticipated. In hopes of bringing joy to their day, we performed several musical pieces and an exciting dance. On the second day, we gave our kupuna gifts, served them lunch, and continued to entertain them through a talent show.

In addition to serving the kupuna, we were blessed with various opportunities to serve the homeless. The U.S. Vets offered an opportunity at a homeless shelter called Paiʻolu Kaiāulu Waianae Civic Center. With the motto "hana like kakou," translated into "many hands working together," many organizations, such as John A. Burns School of Medicine and Wyland Galleries, collaborated with the shelter. With the motto in mind, the high school served the homeless together by cleaning and repainting buildings.

Ka Paʻalana's traveling preschool provided another opportunity, where high school students were able to play with preschoolers from homeless families. In addition to assisting Ka Pa'alana with the traveling preschool, the freshman class was given an opportunity to pass out hygiene kits to homeless in Pu‘uhonua O Waianae, a homeless encampment near Waianae Boat Harbor. When detailing the eye opening experience, Megan Hirasaki explained, "This changed my perspective toward the homeless because most of them do not have a choice. It
made me realize how many items I take for granted."

These organizations that serve the homeless strive to offer them resources to help improve their standard of living. These service projects not only gave our high school a chance to serve, but also blessed us with memories that will be hard to forget.