Rainy Day Fund

Event raises money for Hawaiian immersion preschool.
By Melissa Kelsey

With rainwater running over the roof and pouring out of the gutters, Ho`omau 2009 participants feasted on fried ice cream, shave ice, and ono plate lunches under Lanikeha’s awning last Saturday. Inside the building, attendees of the fundraiser for the Hawaiian immersion preschool Punana Leo O Molokai browsed student artwork, purchased hand-printed Punana Leo t-shirts, enjoyed hula and Hawaiian music performances by local artists, and bid on silent auction items.

Saturday’s weather forced event organizers to move the festivities inside Ho`olehua’s Lanikeha Center. A strong community foundation and a worthy cause kept spirits high despite less than favorable conditions.

“This event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school,” said Lauren Teriong, a parent of one of the preschool’s students.

There were more obstacles than just the weather, according to Rosie Davis of Kamalei by the Sea, a vendor at the event selling jewelry made from shells. As a result of the faltering economy, Punana Leo O Molokai waived entrance fees for venders this year and made all school contributions by vendors voluntary instead of mandatory, according to Davis.

“It was a nice approach for all of us, not having to pay that fee,” said Davis. “If we were going to do this, it had to be a voluntary donation. Times are hard right now.”

Punana Leo O Molokai is a preschool in Ho`olehua committed to re-establishing Hawaiian as a first language spoken at home. Other island Hawaiian language programs from preschool through high school also participated in the event.

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