Agents of Change: Making Spirits Bright at Olomana School

The Agents of Change elves were busy this past holiday season ensuring that spirits were bright at Olomana School. Our elves presented 30 laundry baskets packaged and wrapped with goodies to give to the families of Olomana School students.

Olomana School, located in Kailua, is a public school that serves at-risk students from Windward Oahu’s secondary schools and also Hawaii Youth Correctional Facilities’ students who are in transit. Agents of Change representatives visited the school in the fall of 2017, to ascertain what we could do to meet the needs of students.

Our representatives were met with enthusiasm from the staff and given a tour of the campus. We then had the opportunity to watch students in action while they participated in hands-on classroom activities that were both inspiring as well as educational. The students were more than enthusiastic as were the teachers and staff, motivating Agents of Change to get involved.

In addition to looking for long-term vocational support for graduating students, the school’s staff asked Agents of Change if we could support their holiday `ohana gathering for students and their families. It is a tradition where presents of supplies and food are given to each family. Agents of Change responded in kind by actively engaging the Kailua community and business and social groups who were willing to help.

Paniolos Hawaii’s restaurant generously agreed to house a drop-off donation box for community members to contribute. Contributions included wrapping paper, gift cards, shampoos, soaps and baskets.

The Le Jardin Academy fourth graders in Ms. Maughan's, Ms. Leventhal’s and Ms. Leyshon’s classes collected sheets, towels and gift cards. Punahou School’s fifth grade class, led by Ms. Koshiba and Ms. Furuta, collected books, family games and stuffed animals. Other groups such as HOTT Fitness added to the contributions of goods and donations. The Kaneohe Marine Corps contributed food for each of the families. Agents of Change representatives also reached out to Kailua’s local Safeway, Longs and Target and secured additional gift cards totaling over $200.

This year more than 170 people, including students and their families, attended this festive gathering. They were treated to the work accomplished by Agents of Change’s community elves. It was the biggest turnout the school has ever had and the Agent of Change elves did not disappoint.

All in all, on `Ohana Night, 30 laundry baskets of goods were presented to the families of Olomana School. The baskets contained sheets, towels, a book, a family game, stuffed animal, shampoo and/or soap plus a gift card between $10 and $15.

Aunty Rene, `Ohana Night coordinator, explained, “The families thought they had to choose one of the items in the basket, not realizing that each family received a whole basket. They were overwhelmed by the generosity.”

The vision of Olomana School’s administration and teachers is to provide an excellent alternative education that engages and challenges all students in hopes of achieving their mission. Their mission is to produce productive citizens by promoting positive values and strengthening academic success.

Agents of Change volunteers continue to be inspired and challenged by current events and work to engage and improve our community through education and action. We are proud to help Olomana School’s `ohana and make their spirits just a bit brighter.