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Helping Set Students up for Success

By Sarah Ruppenthal

Summer break is officially in full swing, but August will be here before you know it. That’s when thousands of Maui County students will head back to the classroom for the 2023-24 academic year. 

And just like they have for the past 16 years, Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members will help make the new school year a little easier for many of those students by collecting school supplies all summer long through the Wishing Well… for Maui Students program. 

Wishing Well… for Maui Students (or “Wishing Well” for short) is a program of the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 2007, the program has donated countless goods, supplies and services to public schools countywide. Run by volunteer RAM members, the Wishing Well program covers every public school on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, along with Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, a nonprofit that shelters students in different grade levels at its Wailuku and Lahaina facilities. 

“We include the students in the shelters because they, too, go to public schools and often have to start over with needed supplies,” explained Sarah Sorenson, who founded the program 16 years ago. “One thing the shelters, as well as the schools, often need are puzzles, Legos and board games to keep students busy when the wind and rain is coming in too hard for the children to go outside.”

As for school supplies, the most-wished-for items include composition notebooks, Crayola markers, No. 2 pencils, mechanical pencils, sheet protectors, colored pencils, dry erase pens, pencil erasers, highlighters, ballpoint pens, construction paper, art supplies, playground balls, protractors, compasses, pedestal-style floor fans, glue sticks, electric and handheld pencil sharpeners, staplers, and sticky notes of all sizes. 

Other items like office chairs, file cabinets, area rugs, bookcases, storage containers, and flatscreen TVs are also frequently requested. “The need for gently used or new office chairs for all staff is a constant need,” Sorenson said. “Receiving a locked file cabinet to keep documents safe is another item requested.”

Kahiau 06.23.23

From left: Sarah Sorenson, Michele Crozier, Shanell Miyamoto and Paula Kobayashi pose with some of the donated school supplies collected by Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) affiliate company Finance Factors last December for the Wishing Well…for Maui Students, a program of the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation. 

Photo courtesy Sarah Sorenson 

You can help the Wishing Well program continue to make a difference for local students, teachers, and parents by donating any of these items or making a monetary contribution. Whether it’s cash, school supplies or office equipment, Sorenson says every little bit helps. 

To learn more about the Wishing Well… for Maui Students program, visit, where you can make a PayPal or credit card donation. (Please note that the donation is for the Wishing Well program.) If you’d like to offload any gently used office supplies, equipment or furniture, call (808) 283-3969 to schedule a pickup service. If you’re a Maui County public school educator, principal, or family who could use some help getting supplies before school starts in August, contact Sorenson at (808) 283-3969.

Realtor means a member of the National Association of Realtors. Do you know a Realtors Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Sarah Ruppenthal at 

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