When the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) inducted its new slate of officers and directors at its 50th annual installation event on Friday, Sept. 7, it simultaneously made a difference in the lives of Maui County youth.
In addition to the proceeds from the event, $26,000 was raised for RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund through Mea Kako‘o, a sponsorship group established in 2017 to further benefit the scholarship fund.
RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded $681,000 in scholarships to college-bound high school seniors throughout Maui County (as well as past recipients of RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund) since its inception in 1989. Funds for the scholarship program are raised through events like RAM’s installation event, the Realtors Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, RAM’s Big Deal fundraiser and the “RAM’s Got Talent” show at the Historic Iao Theater.
To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be a high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship (from the previous three years) and they must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university or trade school. Applicants must also be full-time Maui County residents who are currently attending—or have previously attended—a public or private high school in Maui County; however, students attending private high schools off island will be considered residents of Maui County if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that private high school. Current GED participants are also encouraged to apply for the scholarship award.
RAM members also raised $29,200 to help Ka Hale A Ke Ola (KHAKO) Homeless Resource Centers purchase a new playground for its facility in Wailuku. The playground is sorely needed: Last year alone, KHAKO provided more than 12,600 hours of service to children on the property.
“Change, especially to a child in the circumstances of being homeless, can be frightening,” said 2018-19 RAM President Gina Duncan, who spearheaded the KHAKO playground fundraiser after touring the Wailuku facility over the summer. “The new playground can provide a measure of comfort and stability for these children. I’m proud that our Realtor ohana is a giving and compassionate group and was able to raise funds at our annual installation event to build a playground for the children.”
KHAKO is a comprehensive resource center that prepares families and individuals for permanent housing while providing emergency shelter, counseling services, addiction recovery management and adult education and training, as well as a primary care medical clinic and childcare facilities. The organization underwent a paradigm shift last year, redirecting its focus to breaking the cycle of homelessness by finding and maintaining permanent housing for its residents.
And housing concerns are top of mind for RAM, which chose “Aloha in Our Community…Housing for Everyone” as the theme to guide the organization forward through 2018-19. Additionally, “housing concerns” was recently added as an objective of the RAM Community Foundation. The Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2007, and since then, has provided academic scholarships to Maui County students and assisted public schools countywide through the Wishing Well…for Maui Students program.
The fundraiser for the KHAKO playground is the Foundation’s first housing concerns-related initiative—and it will have an immeasurable impact. “Maui’s homeless, interim housing and affordable housing concerns need everyone’s help at this critical juncture,” Duncan said. “This playground is one small step toward improving the lives of Maui keiki.”
KHAKO provides thousands of meals to its residents every year and volunteers are always needed to prep, cook and serve food at its Central and West Side facilities. KHAKO also seeks monetary donations and contributions of goods or services; immediate needs include a passenger van, walk-in freezer, sheets, blankets, towels, unused pillows, and small dining sets.
To learn more about KHAKO or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.khako.org or call 242-7600. For more information about RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund, visit www.ramaui.com/foundation/presidential-scholarship.
By Sarah Ruppenthal
The Maui News – October 13, 2018