Making students’ wishes come true
You know that desk in your office that no one uses anymore? The file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in years? Or that swivel chair that’s been collecting dust in the corner?
If you’re planning to move, downsize or refresh your office space, consider donating any no-longer-needed, gently used furniture, equipment or supplies to Maui’s teachers and students through the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) Wishing Well… for Maui Students program.
That’s what Mercer Advisors did earlier this month. After deciding to make some changes to its Kahului office space, the wealth management company contacted Wishing Well founder and director Sarah Sorenson of Whale’s Tail Realty. Two weeks later, Sorenson had packed her Honda CRV full of the company’s offloaded items—not just once, but twice.
“I’ve picked up two carloads of so many different supplies and equipment: computer monitors, keyboards, office chairs… just to name just a few things,” she said. “Before I picked up the second load, I had already distributed about 50 percent of what was received from the first carload.”
The items from the first carload were delivered to King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Baldwin High School, Waihee Elementary School and Lihikai Elementary School. Items from the second carload will be distributed to schools later this month.
“I would like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to Mercer Advisors for helping so many, especially in this extremely tight financial environment for all of the schools,” Sorenson said.
Wishing Well…for Maui Students, a program of RAMCF, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has been making wishes come true for students, parents and teachers across Maui County for the past 14 years. Run by volunteer RAM members and fueled by the generosity of the community, the program covers every public school on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, along with Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers (KHAKO), a nonprofit that shelters students in different grade levels at its Wailuku and Lahaina facilities.
Throughout the year, volunteer coordinators collect and distribute “wish list” items to schools so students have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. Volunteer coordinators are assigned to each school. They include RAM members Malia Ashlock, Traci Bean, Michelle Bosque, Linda Briske, Michele Crozier, Kim Delmore, Susan DeLoria, Penni Egger, Gloria Ezera, Mary Fabbio, Rosaling Link, Jill Kaiser, Paula Kobayashi, Jeannie Kong-Evarts, Melissa Montgomery, Kris Musto, Darryl and Jane Ng, Suni Novotny, Barb Potts, Ricardo Ralha, Anna Revilla, Sharon Robinson, Melissa Salvador, Sarah Sorenson and Sharon Viger.
In the past, Wishing Well volunteers held school supply drives at the entrance of the Kmart store in Kahului. But since the store closed in 2017, the program has relied largely on donations from residents, visitors and local businesses like Mercer Advisors. Sorenson says the program’s wish lists have been longer than usual amid the dual public health and financial crises. In addition to teachers’ requests, she has received calls from parents and grandparents asking for assistance. Given the unprecedented circumstances, she says a larger quantity of donations is needed.
That said, Sorenson and her fellow Wishing Well coordinators hope other businesses will consider donating to the program.
“If there are any offices or companies on Maui that are downsizing or maybe remodeling and have gently used equipment or supplies, please contact me,” she said. “I would be glad to come by and let them know what the schools can and cannot use.”
Want to make a difference for Maui County’s students? In addition to contributing gently used office furniture, equipment and supplies, you can make a cash donation or purchase most wished-for items like disinfectant wipes, liquid sanitizer (large and small bottles), liquid soap (large and small bottles), paper towels, boxes of Kleenex, kids’ face masks, dry-erase markers (broad and fine point), erasers for dry-erase boards, pencils, pencil erasers, crayons, wide-ruled composition books, backpacks, and rubber slippers in varying sizes. For more information about the RAMCF Wishing Well…for Maui Students program or to make a donation, visit www.ILoveMauiSchools.com or call Sorenson at 283-3969.
The Maui News – February 15, 2021