Surfing The Nations has an amazing program called the Ulu Pono Kids program. Ulu Pono means ”To thrive on a righteous path’”. Ulu Pono’s goal is to help the youth of the area find that better path. Through the generosity of Friends of Hawaii Charities, Ulu Pono is able to offer a free after-school program during the school year called ‘Thriving Arts.’ It is through ‘Thriving Arts’ that at-risk youth are given lessons in art, dance, and music. This year, they’ve been studying ukulele and art following the theme of Imagination. Ulu Pono also offers a once a week reading intensive program called ”Genius Factory” where the kids have a reading buddy who helps them build upon their reading skills and other areas of academics. Not only do the kids have a chance to learn, but a chance to develop personally. I have had the privilege of witnessing transformation in these kids. Some of these kids are in very challenging and even harmful environments. I’ve seen children who don’t even have the confidence to speak a single word become bright chatter boxes, I’ve seen children who were known for their unruly behavior become leaders, I’ve seen these kids blossom when given love, instruction and a chance to thrive in their own creativity.
Giving alternatives to destructive lifestyles, holding out good choices to combat the devastating choices is a fundamental principle in effective activism: Don’t simply tear down, but build up. Don’t simply pit yourself against something; let your cause be to change, to transform, to restore.
On November 17th, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of the Ulu Pono kids as they showcase their art accompanied with ukulele performances. If you are in Hawaii, this is a night you do not want to miss. Local well known artists such as Patrick Parker, Clark Takashima ,Nick Welles and Clark Little will be displaying their work alongside the children’s. The night will include free admission, food, a great gallery to browse, vendors, live music and more. Most importantly, it will be a night in which the community gathers to empower the future artists of the island. Come enjoy the evening, get inspired and help cheer on and build up our youth.