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Celebrating kupuna volunteers in Lihu‘e

LIHU‘E — Mary Pigao, the director of Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, said kupuna were playing music at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the Mo‘ikeha Building of the Lihu‘e Civic Center on Tuesday morning.

“Having the Kaua‘i RSVP kupuna at the DMV building has definitely made a difference for the many clients who use the building,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, who met with Pigao, the Kaua‘i RSVP, its Advisory Council, the county Finance Department, and the county Agency on Elderly Affairs, to celebrate April being Volunteer Month through a proclamation.

Kawakami said his mother used to tell him that “when you give the gift of time, you’re giving a part of your life,” and the efforts put forth by community volunteers each time they are out doing a deed makes an impact.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, from various backgrounds, and with unique life experiences, and it truly takes a remarkable person to give their time to serve others freely, the National Volunteer Month proclamation states.

The month of April recognizes all those who give their time, energy and resources during National Volunteer Month, and is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in Kaua‘i’s communities, as well as encouraging volunteerism.

Over at the DMV building, kupuna Julie Souza, Kawahine Kaui and Elaine Panui serenaded clients needing to visit one of the DMV building tenants against the backdrop of fresh floral arrangements created by Mokichi Okada Association Hawai‘i Chapter members Sandy Takaezu and Jan Sueoka.

The group’s efforts made a difference, as youngster Mayzee Turner started lilting in time to the music that filled the spacious room.

“She just started dancing,” said Norma Laymon, who needed to do business in the building. “We had to come over and see what got her excited.”

National Volunteer Month is an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities and be a force that transforms the world, the proclamation states.

Kaui joins other kupuna, as she volunteers every week at the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery at Kukui Grove Center in Lihu‘e.

“Volunteers provide a wide variety of skills, knowledge and experience,” the proclamation states. “They make a difference to individuals, nonprofits, faith-based and other community organizations.”

Kawakami explained through the proclamation that Volunteer Week transitions to Volunteer Month starting this year.

In 2022, Gov. David Ige signed a bill to recognize April as Volunteer Month in Hawai‘i beginning in 2023. Through an amendment to Act 81 passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Ige in 2022, the entire month of April is now Volunteer Month.

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Source: The Garden Island

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