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Crossing life’s ‘Bridge’

LIHU‘E — The significance of being a team player and desire to pursue education beyond the shores of Kaua‘i broke through Wednesday during conversations with The Bridge: Kaua‘i to College mentor Kevin McPhee and Kaua‘i High School senior Keane Tibon.

The appearance of novel coronavirus and its pandemic state clouded the focus.

“I learned about The Bridge: Kaua‘i to College from Mayumi Fulgencio, who graduated Kaua‘i High School last year,” Tibon said. “She was very intelligent, and is away at school studying environmental sciences.”

McPhee added, “Her parents must be very happy,” the mentor said. “She wanted to go to school in Germany, but they wanted something closer to home. Look at what is happening in Europe with the COVID-19.”

More overtones of COVID-19 poked through as the subject moved to the switch of The Bridge’s annual fundraiser from the Gala 2020: Casablanca gathering to an online auction to be in compliance of the latest social-distancing guidelines.

“We constantly need funds,” McPhee said. “We provide the guidance to students at no charge to the students. We also provide funds for SAT test preparations, and have shared-cost programs during the summer.”

Tibon is one of those students benefiting from the mentoring and assistance programs offered by The Bridge.

“I plan on studying nursing or anesthesiology after graduating,” said Tibon. “Kaua‘i Community College has a pretty good nursing program, but I want to experience something outside of Kaua‘i.”

Some of those life experiences filtered through the conversation amidst the air filled with COVID-19 — a caregiver and client being unable to visit the client’s mother due to enhanced security at the care facility, shortened shopping center hours and more.

“I come from a small island, Bermuda, with a population of just 65,000 people,” McPhee said. “The mindset there is to return to the island after getting educated. I was ready to return, but the plans didn’t work out that way.”

“We’re not tutors,” McPhee said. “We’re mentors at The Bridge. We have mentors from all different walks of life. We acknowledge that and build from that.”

Tibon agreed with the depth of assistance.

“Mentoring is good,” Tibon said. “The help I got from Kevin got me to know him better, and that relationship was a big help because he helped more than just writing letters of reference or filling out forms.”

McPhee, a soccer player and coach at many different levels of soccer, helped Tibon learn more about basketball, where he played with the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation boys basketball championship team.

“He taught me, too,” McPhee said. “I went to some of his games and got to learn the game from him, and the fans that sat around me. Coaching is part of mentoring — you can coach talent, not create it. The talent comes from the heart.”

Tibon said he learned from basketball as well.

“Coach always tells us we’re role models,” Tibon said. “You never realize who is looking at you, on or off the court. We need to lead by example.”

Those lessons come to light as The Bridge switches from its fundraising gala to the online auction fundraiser — how to bridge the necessity of change.

“The items that will be available were all meant for the gala,” McPhee said. “We were able to break them down into saleable packages that people can bid on through Malama Auctions. This is going to take place pretty soon — once we get the link where people can start bidding.”

Tisa Herold, The Bridge: Kaua‘i to College treasurer, announced the link, Thursday afternoon.

“The online auction is live now at https://bid.malamaauctions.com/bid/48617?section=items, or go directly to the Malama Auctions website and select The Bridge: Kaua‘i to College icon,” Herold said. “The auction will close on April 1. Some of the items available include a Robin McCoy Fine Art giclee “Mahaulepu,” Holoholo Charter tours to Ni‘ihau, or Napali, day pool pass for four at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa, Makai Golf Club and The Palate dining certificates, dining certificates to the Red Salt, La Sezia, The Beach House, Plantation Gardens, Gaylord’s, and a lot more.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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