Mala’ai staff and our students would like to give a huge shout out of thanks to our current, wonderful classroom volunteers. Because of them we are able to have work groups of 5-6 students per adult. This offers our students the chance for focused, deep learning. Many thanks to our volunteers Hermine Baker, Coco Connolly, Marilynn Fitzgerald, Debbie McAlister, Bri Standing and Leanne Cohen.
Micah Baker and Winston Wizinowich of Bio-Scapes Hawaii LLC generously donated 6 fruit trees that our students loved planting! Mahalo nui loa!
Our friend and long-time volunteer, John Dean, passed away on July 4th. Over the years John helped us to design and build several important structures in our garden, including the outdoor kitchen, the germination station and most recently, our Hale Moa, or Palais de Poulets, our chicken coop. His skillful work, keen wit and ability to craft a phrase, “You paid for the whole hammer, use it!“ left a legacy with each of us who got the chance to work with him and to learn from him. John’s dedication to our students and our garden lives on through his work, functionally serving the hundreds of students who come out to the garden and our thriving flock of hens on a daily basis.
John set sail from home at Maluhia, the farm he and his wife, Jan, built in Kalopa. We send our love and best wishes to Jan, who not only shared her husband’s talents and skills with us, but was the first Board President of Mala’ai. John will greatly be missed. Workparty and lunch at Malaʻai to celebrate John will be scheduled sometime in the new year. Stay tuned for details.
We are deeply grateful to have hosted our FoodCorps Service Member, Seri Niimi-Burch, for the past two school years. FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. For the past two years Seri has worked with students in the garden, leading classes and facilitating small groups. Seri is very organized and detail oriented. She is an excellent teacher and relates genuinely to the students. She will be teaching an after school STEM class in Malaʻai next year made possible by a Kamehameha Schools grant and will be the Food Corps Fellow for the state, supporting and advocating for the FoodCorps Service Members working in Hawaiiʻs schools. We look forward to watching her blossom into a leader in this movement.
A message from Seri: “It has been a true pleasure and honor to have spent the past two years learning and growing at Mala’ai alongside such dedicated staff, lively students, and caring community. It is inspiring to see what abundance and beauty can transpire from the focused, loving work of many hearts and hands! Mahalo nui loa to all those who have shared their time, ‘ike and mana’o to help make my experience with this amazing program meaningful and enjoyable.”
We are also so thankful to our many partners, donors, volunteers, and community who make our work possible! We are especially appreciative of our Board of Directors, both the past directors and our current directors. Without our dedicated and passionate board, we would not be where we are today!
We also want to thank all our attendees at Art and Sol! It was one of our best years yet. The enthusiasm of the wonderful people who attended is still bringing a smile to our faces. Thank you so much to our community!
WISH LIST: We have repeated asks about our Wish List. Here are some things that would make our programming even better! A new refrigerator; A New Classroom Tent; New Cabinets for Tent; and a Pizza Oven!