On Saturday, February 10, over 500 people attended the 3rd Annual Keiki Expo at the Mitchell Paole Center. The event gave parents an opportunity to access the on-island childhood services and programs while their keiki had a blast with races, ice-cream making, toys to play with, constant hands-on activities and a crazy-fun jumping castle. While parents had the opportunity to gather information, ask questions, and access the many different programs available on Molokai, the kids enjoyed some good, old-fashioned fun!
With many local families attending the event, the keiki of Moloka’i provided much of the entertainment for the day, both formal and informal. The crowds were serenaded by the nahenahe voices of Na Keiki o Ka Punana Leo o Moloka’i and captivated by the hula dancers of Halau Hula o Kilohana.
The Keiki Survivor Challenge and the “Diaper Dash” Keiki crawling contest were a big hit and a new addition to the expo. While many of the kids were stunned in amazement at the bustling expo, Lansen Valdez Negrillo and Lauakea Pereira crawled their way to winning the Diaper Dash. All of the contestants were given a ball to take home while the winners received an inflatable jumper and a car seat with compliments from Queen Lili’uokalani Childrens Center (QLCC) and Molokai Police Department (MPD).
Emphasizing the safety of our children, parents signed up with members of MPD for Free Keiki Car Seats or Booster seats and Chevron Hawaii prepared over 300 keiki ID’s which included the keiki's photograph, contact information and fingerprints. Keiki travel was also encouraged and supported by Molokai High School business students who provided child-friendly luggage tags.
While keiki enjoyed poi smoothies and ice cream courtesy of Kaunakakai School, free dental products were made available by Molokai Dental Health. Good dental hygiene was promoted by adults and plush toys alike while every child received a copy of the newly published book “Haloa.”
The event was coordinated by The Moloka’i Keiki Group who aim to build a network of service on Molokai that will ensure excellence in early childhood education whilst promoting their safety, health and success. They would encourage any parents who missed the expo to contact any of the sponsors for help and information and to register their keiki for kkindergarten as early as possible.
Early Childhood Advocate Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello, who was instrumental in organizing the event, wanted to spread the message of Moloka’i Keiki Group—Ho’owaiwai Na Kamali’i Moloka’i Advisory Council. She urges the community to remember that “each child is a Promise. Our investment in them will be a solid investment in the future of our Molokai community.”
While parents across the island thank Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello, she would like to thank every sponsor of the event, including Punana Leo o Moloka’i, County of Maui, INPEACE, Queen Lili’uokalani Childrens Center, Rawlins Chevron, Kamehameha Schools, Molokai Family Support, Pulama I Na Keiki, Healthy Start, Na Kamali’i Hoaloha, All God’s Children, Moloka’i Dental Health, Na Kamali’i Hoaloha, Kamehameha Preschool, Kamehameha Schools Enrichment, MEO Headstart, Read To Me, Kualapu’u School, Kualapu’u School, Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, Kilohana School, MHIS Business Class, Kaunakakai School, GRADS, Tutu & Me, Department of Health, MPD: Jamie Winfrey, The Parent Line, Aloha Care, Molokai Community Children’s Council/ARC and The Molokai Girls Volleyball Club.
Mahalo to the many sponsors for making this event possible and for their continued support and investment in our Future, our keiki.