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Storytellers in spotlight in Nawiliwili

NAWILIWILI — A volunteer and community-driven event gathering storytellers from all walks of life to share their insights in a talk-story format unfolded on Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Eyes Wide Open Production Theatre in Nawiliwili.

“Ideas worth spreading” was a common theme.

Puna Kalama Dawson opened the event, giving her talk, followed by Sabra Kauka. Both Dawson and Kauka are revered Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and their message of “The Power of Aloha” set the tone with wisdom, grace and a message of peace and malama for our island home.

Participants were reminded that “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono,” the state motto, means “The life of the land is perpetuated in its righteousness.”

Brittni Friedlander, the 2022 Miss Philippines Hawai‘i, spoke next, of her role working to merge science and the arts for the advancement of women and girls in science and technology careers fit for the 21st century.

Amanda Blackwell recounted her journey to body self-acceptance after her time in the professional figure skating arena.

Patricia Wistinghausen shared her wisdom from her experiences at the front line of suicide prevention on Kaua‘i, sharing her message of the importance of destigmatizing mental health.

Kasey Baltz reminded all to take time to tap into our inner light and childlike joy to help realign with ways to live intentionally and with joy.

Meryl Abrams took attendees on her journey of near-drowning near the Samoan Islands, metaphorically illustrating how capable we can be if we find our core strength and do what it takes to come through on the other side of a seemingly impossible task.

Cary Valentine shared his personal experiences with hardship, ultimately finding a way to use self-doubt as a leverage point to free himself from limiting beliefs.

Rachel Secretario shared her classroom experience of helping children learn to trust the process of creating something fun and creative, reminding all how fun can be a driver of action and trust.

Elisa Audo-Beliov, Ph.D., wrapped up the night with a personal recount of her cancer diagnosis and realization of the significance that words can have on an outcome, calling on participants to reframe the word “cancer” to include the possibility for more hope and healing. She suggests we choose a word that conjures up a vision of our natural immune response to detect and consume cancer cells.

Jennifer Schwartz Bell-Grey and Jenn Veeck organized the event. County Council Member Felicia Cowden was the mistress of ceremonies.

The event was sponsored by Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, Zonta Kaua‘i, Aloha Construction, KKCR, Guardian Self-Storage, Eyes Wide Open Multimedia Outreach, Tzol.Tech, MTE and Come Together Wellness.

Food and refreshments from Nina’s Thai Food Catering included Thai samosa, fried spring rolls and summer rolls, beef burgers, salmon burgers, veggie burgers, organic chicken, vegetable stew plates and assorted drinks.
Source: The Garden Island

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