Duke Aiona Reads Aloud

Lieutenant Governor participates in literacy program on Friendly Isle.

Some of the Lieutenant Governor’s biggest fans were the students.

The Lt. Gov. first participated in the literacy program four years ago as a guest reader. “I came and I read and I was amazed at how many people showed up,” he said. “I said this is a program that needs to stay.”

Since then Aiona has helped to secure funding and participated regularly enough that he has a Read Aloud chair with his name on it.

After speaking to the adult attendees at Kualapu`u, the Lt. Gov. sat in his chair and read from Alan Brennert’s “Molokai.”

“We would not be here tonight if it wasn’t for this man,” Read Aloud America founder Jed Gaines said. Aiona introduced the program to the Department of Human Services for funding, Gaines said.

Since then the program has expanded to include six schools. Next year the Read Aloud Program will be in seven schools, including Kaunakakai and Kilohana Elementary Schools.

Aiona also works with the Uplinks program on Molokai. He said he worked with the Department of Human Services and the Office of Youth Services to establish the after- school program that also offers counseling services. Focusing on preventing underage drinking and drug use, Aiona said the program “tries to take away risk factors.”

The Lt. Gov. said he would like to return to Molokai soon, and he hopes that families will keep on reading.

Read Aloud Program sessions will resume after spring break. Maunaloa will host sessions on April 22 and May 6. For more information contact the school liaison Kimberly Kaii at 552-2000.

Kualapu`u Elementary School will host sessions on April 23 and May 7. For more information contact the school liaison Leila Elia at 567-6900. Families can also contact the Kualapu`u Family Facilitator, Tarrah Horner, for more information on how to get involved. Horner can be reached at 567-6900 ext. 231, or email tarrah_horner@notes.k12.hi.us

For more information on programs Lt. Gov. Aiona is working on contact his office at 808-586-0255. For assistance or referrals to support groups call 211.


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