PRINCEVILLE — The Kauai Marathon isn’t just about running.
It’s about giving.
Race organizers recently displayed a sharing spirit with $5,000 donations each to Kumu’s Cupboard and The Bridge: Kauai to College. Both organizations are geared toward helping young people through education.
“They’re aligned with our mission of giving back to the youth of the island,” said Robin Jumper, who handles public relations for the Kauai Marathon.
Elyse Litvack, president and co-founder of Kumu’s Cupboard, which is based at Kukui Grove Center, provides free school supplies to teachers.
It has helped about 400 teachers already this year, who can come in and pick up what they need to help students.
“The bill is always zero,” Litvack said.
She said the $5K donation will help it continue to stock shelves with books, materials for art and science projects, student incentives and even cleaning supplies for the classroom.
“We tried to cover the gamut,” Litvack said.
The Bridge: Kauai to College provides free one-on-one mentoring to high school students starting their freshman year who want to attend college. It also raises money to help with their college prep expenses and puts on college-success workshops.
“This money is enough to give one kid a really fantastic scholarship in a program that takes them overseas or off-island,” said Susan Davis, president of The Bridge. “We really value that.”
She said traveling to study in places like Germany, Venezuela and Japan “is transformative. It changes lives.”
“They get excited about what’s out there. They realize their horizons are so much larger than they had been thinking,” Davis added.
In three and a half years, she estimated The Bridge has touched the lives of at least 30 students in a mentoring capacity.
The Bridge currently has 10 students being mentored, and wants to expand to middle school.
“The earlier we start with them the better,” Davis said.
Kevin McPhee, a mentor, said he’s working with two Kauai High seniors. Both have been accepted to colleges, which will open more doors and opportunities.
“My position as a mentor is just to help guide them through the process,” he said.
Tory O’Malley, secretary and board member of The Bridge, said many parents don’t realize there are many scholarships available from colleges.
“We can help them find out about that and get their kids connected,” she said.
Davis said another key aspect of The Bridge is that it helps kids learn to build relationships with adults.
“Once they get to college, they have to be able to do that,” she said. “It’s very highly coordinated with their ability to succeed.”
The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon was held Sept. 1 and attracted about 1,600 runners and walkers.
In its 11 years, it has donated close to $150,000 to nonprofits, and has had an estimated total economic impact of about $30 million on the island.
Keiki are key to the marathon’s goals.
“At the end of the day we want these student-athletes, the youth of our island, to come back and help either put on the marathon or work for other nonprofits,” Jumper added.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island