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Keiki Fest with a Cause

 

Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

Molokai’s first Keiki Fest brought a crowd to Mitchell Pauole Center last Saturday for games, food, educational booths and services. It also raised awareness for a special cause. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and organizers of the first annual event — who wore blue in honor of the nationally recognized month — said the festival’s goal is to both celebrate keiki and raise awareness of the cause.

“We’re trying to take away the negative [connotations of prevention] and bring the positive,” said Tylor Tanaka, one of 12 members of the Community Action Team that organized Keiki Fest.

Tanaka said the event drew even more attendance than expected and its success will help them plan for an even bigger event next year.

More than 30 organizations and vendors filled Mitchell Pauole Center’s hall to share information on local keiki services like preschools, educational opportunities and on-island child-related resources. The County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Program offered Keiki IDs that attracted a long line at the event, while families got popcorn, children enjoyed a bounce castle, hands on crafts and activities like face painting, and youth gathered with interest for a robotics demonstration by the award-winning MHS robotics team. Everything at the event was free of charge for families.

Tanaka said the event was similar to the Keiki Expo held in the past, but with a different focus. Child Abuse Prevention Month used to kick off with a sign holding in front of the library, but organizers decided to bring new life to the awareness effort with the Keiki Fest.

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