Volleyball Event ‘Gives Back’ to Molokai
By Rick Schonely, Sports Reporter
The ‘Give Back’ Volleyball Clinic and exhibition game was held last week at the Molokai High School Barn. Molokai High School graduate and former head volleyball coach Matt Helm and his Whitman College girls volleyball team was here on the island for a week and conducted the clinic along with former professional volleyball players Logan Tom and Allen Allen and Farmer Alumni and former UH Wahine Middle Blocker Kalei Adolpho.
Helm said he was very happy to give back to his home island.
“Volleyball is big on Molokai and someone planted the seed for me and many have continued to water it and fertilize it and let it grow and that’s what we hope to do with this clinic an exhibition game,” he said. “At the game we honored Cappie and Judy Caparida for all that they have done for the Molokai Volleyball community.”
Tom was an All-American at Stanford University and a four time Olympian. Allen was a three-time All-American at the University of Hawaii and was a professional volleyball player and a former Division I college coach that now has a business teaching volleyball all over the world.
Allen said local athletes have what it takes to succeed.
“These Molokai kids can do it,’ he said. “They have the skill set and we just need to train them on what they have to do mentally when they come out to play.”
The exhibition game was played against the local Molokai volleyball club Kime Ka La and an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed some high-level volleyball, with Whitman College winning 3-1 in four sets (25-14, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21). Many of Coach Helm’s former players at Molokai High, who won the D II State Championship in 2010, played against his current Whitman team and assisted with the two-day clinic.
Kealani (Kimball) Bartlett enjoyed giving back to the youth of Molokai.
“It’s good to come back home and teach the children of Molokai and let them know that they can do whatever they want,” she said. “If they want a career in volleyball or basketball or whatever they want to do, hopefully it inspires them to try these things and believe that they can do whatever they want.”
The two-day instructional clinic was a huge success and was attended by over 150 local Molokai youth. Allen has traveled all over the world teaching volleyball and said he enjoys what he does.
“I have been fortunate that I can make a living teaching volleyball and hopefully we can pass on some legacy to the youth and then we will have more Kalei Adolpho’s and Matt Helm’s and many more,” he said.
The Whitman girls and the off island instructors were able to enjoy Molokai’s hospitality, which included an overnight trip to Kalaupapa. Helm said this trip was brought to fruition with the help of many. It was only natural to want to give back to Molokai, Helm said.
“Growing up in a family that was very community oriented is something that is a part of us and so being able to give back makes everyone feel good,” he explained.
Many of the island’s local businesses and community members contributed to the clinic and exhibition game and helped to make this all possible for the youth of Molokai, as well as Whitman College.
“Whitman College is very supportive in creating great experiences for our athletes and I felt that this trip would be an excellent experience for our athletes and I would like to thank them and the ‘W’ club and the Williams Ohana and all the Whitman community for making it happen,” said Helm. “One of my coaching philosophies is teaching life lessons through the sport and that’s what the Molokai coaching community did for us and continues to do for all the youth growing up on Molokai.”