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Ledcor Maui’s inaugural gift drive raises $100K for youth  : Maui Now

Maui youth and administrators gathered at Queen Kaʻahumanu Center for an inaugural Ledcor Cares gift-giving event. PC: Ledcor Maui

More than 100 youth and administrators from three local nonprofits gathered at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center on Dec. 18 as the guests of honor of Ledcor Maui. The festive event was the culmination of a month-long gift drive by Ledcor Maui called Makana no nā Keiki (Gifts for Children), which raised $100,000 for Maui youth. 

Makana no nā Keiki was developed as part of Ledcor Cares, the company’s national initiative to support children’s health and wellness. This local initiative in its inaugural year and a difficult year for Maui, gifted Maui’s keiki with makana that meet their needs and desires through three charitable organizations. 

Ledcor Maui and its industry partners raised $100K during the month of October for three non profit organizations with a focus on children’s mental health, access to education, and community support. —- Pictured from left to right (holding the check) Eric Gerlach, Ledcor Maui; Thomas “TJ” Daya, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui; Nicole Hokoana, Maui Youth & Family Services; and Paul Tonnessen, Friend’s of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui. (Between Thomas “TJ” and Nicole is Casey Lamb) of Ledcor Maui). Back row: Team from Ledcor Maui. PC: Ledcor Maui

Eric Gerlach, senior vice president of Ledcor Maui, and his Ledcor Maui team welcomed the keiki, nonprofit administrators and its retail and activity partners to Queen Kaʻahumanu Center’s Center Stage to present gifts, meet partners, talk story, and take photos. After a delicious treat of local Grown on Maui extra-sweet Maui Gold pineapple chunks, all the keiki and families dashed off to shop at Tanoa and Shapers, the program’s clothing brand partners.  

The Makana no nā Keiki program promised to match donations with corporate funding up to $30,000 since its launch in October. Ledcor Maui employees and industry partners responded with more than $35,000 worth of donations. The match from Ledcor Corporation brought the figure close to $70,000, and a generous donor rounded the total up to $100,000. 

Three local charitable organizations were designated as the beneficiaries: Boys & Girls Clubs of MauiFriends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui, and Maui Youth & Family Services. These groups worked with Ledcor Maui to select which items were most needed and wanted by their youth members to support their health and wellness.

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All funds raised were then used to purchase gifts: from baby & mama kits; to keiki fun like whale watch excursions with Trilogy, movie tickets and outings to Fun Factory; to new clothes and essentials by local brands – Tanoa, Shapers and Hi-Tech Surf Sports in Kahului, Kīhei and Pāʻia. 

“We feel this gift drive is a special way to care for our Maui keiki—teens, young adults and families too—as well as the organizations that support them in providing resources, mentorship and assistance,” said Ledcor Maui’s Gerlach. “Through partnering with local businesses, we were able to extend our reach and support the greater community a s well. All of us at Ledcor Maui are humbled by this outpouring of support, and we wish to extend our sincere mahalo to everyone this holiday season.”

Administrators of the charitable organizations said they enjoyed the unique nature of the program, which provided a combination of personalized gifts for their members and cash donations to the organizations. 

“The trauma that some of the children have had to endure especially from the recent wildfires on the island is naturally overwhelming for them as it is for all of us here,” said Paul Tonnessen, executive director of Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui. “We hope Ledcor Maui knows how much the children benefiting from their kindness appreciate it. Mahalo, Ledcor Maui, for showing the children we serve that there is a caring and loving community out there willing to invest in the journey of their healing.”

One of three local beneficiaries of the program, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui is devoted to serving children affected by trauma and providing a healing process for them to recover. Pictured from left to right/front row: Eric Gerlach, Ledcor Maui; Tanoa; Paul Tonnessen, Friend’s of the Children’s Justice Center of Maui. Second row from left to right are David Goode, Casey Lamb and Naomi Glass of Ledcor Maui. PC: Ledcor Maui

“The Ledcor Maui team really went above and beyond to provide thoughtful donations, and the youth in our programs were excited to participate,” said Chelene Arnold, program director at Maui Youth & Family Services. “This support goes directly to improving the quality of life for our youth who have been victims of crime and those in our aged-out foster program. On their behalf, thank you for your generosity.”

“We were so impressed by the generosity of the Ledcor Maui staff and their partners,” said Chelene Arnold, program director at Maui Youth & Family Services. One of three local beneficiaries of the program, MYFS provides a range of behavioral and mental health programs to support young people and their families’ personal growth and emotional stability.” —– Pictured from left to right Kauwela Bisquera, Queen Kaʻahumanu Center; Nicole Hokoana, Malia Bohlin and Chelene Arnold of Maui Youth & Family Services; and Eric Gerlach, Ledcor Maui. PC: Ledcor Maui
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According to Thomas “TJ” Daya, director of operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, “More than 40 youth from six of their clubhouses across the island attended the Ledcor Cares event at Queen Kaʻahumanu Center. For many, if not all of them, that experience will be one that lasts a lifetime. Their smiles were priceless!”

According to Thomas “TJ” Daya, director of operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, “being a member at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui comes with a variety of benefits, whether it be having a safe, fun and positive place to go to Monday through Friday, supportive relationships with our incredible staff members, or robust programming and activities.” “Ledcor Maui’s generous contribution allows us to continue to serve the youth of Maui, especially those who need us the most,” Daya said. — Pictured from left to right (in front of the table), Darren Strand, Maui Gold Pineapple; Riley Coon, Trilogy Excursions, Ashley Mason, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui; Eric Gerlach, Ledcor Maui; and Thomas “TJ” Daya, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. Second row on the left are David Goode, Casey Lamb and Naomi Glass of Ledcor Maui. PC: Ledcor Maui

“Our keiki are navigating very complicated issues like being displaced from their homes, the loss of treasured possessions and recovering academically from tragedies derailing their education on the heels of the pandemic,” said Ashley Mason, director of impact and development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. “Now more than ever, it’s the simple things that mean the world to them: a trusted adult to say, ‘I believe in you,’ a safe place to go after school, a nice new outfit or a positive experience that brings them joy and laughter; to just be kids. Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui is very fortunate to have the continued support of Ledcor Maui and its partners through the Ledcor Cares campaign.”

“As we all know, our community has faced unprecedented challenges this year, and will continue to do so throughout the long road to recovery following the 2023 wildfires,” said Ashley Mason, director of impact and development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, one of three local beneficiaries of the program. “Ledcor Maui’s Makana no nā Keiki program provides a huge boost for our keiki right now.” — Pictured from left to right Darren Strand, Maui Gold Pineapple, Riley Coon, Trilogy, and Ashley Mason and Thomas “TJ” Daya, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. PC: Ledcor Maui

Ledcor Maui is proud to partner with local retail/activity businesses, including Tanoa, Hi-Tech/Shapers, Trilogy, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Maui Gold Pineapple and Kula Country Farm. 

“As someone who is Native Hawaiian and grew up in Hawai‘i, we feel truly blessed to be able to give back to the Maui community in this way,” said Cindy Forsgren, one of the owners of Tanoa. “We love Maui so much, and as a fairly new business on this island, it’s very important to us that the community, especially the keiki, know we are here to support them as they recover from this very challenging year.” 

Trilogy Excursions and the Coon family look forward to hosting the keiki and their families on exciting whale watch excursions. “We hope these keiki whale watches will play a positive part in the recovery for Maui’s community and our youth,” said Captain Riley E. Coon, director of sustainable tourism for Trilogy Excursions. 

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 “It is our goal to inspire Maui keiki to have a love for the ocean,” Coon added. “We believe in the power of play and having fun! When you combine that with the ocean—which sustains us and is vital to our island life—you not only create beautiful memories, but it also can be therapeutic and healing. It is a joy and privilege to work with Ledcor Maui and Maui’s nonprofits to share our passion for the ocean with Maui keiki.”

For Darren Strand, director of Hawai‘i Farm Project, seeing the keiki enjoying Maui Gold pineapple was a happy moment. “It’s awesome knowing the nonprofits will be able to provide our fresh and extra-sweet pineapples throughout the year, knowing that they come from right here on our island,” Strand said. “We applaud Ledcor Maui for their innovation in devoting a portion of the Ledcor Care funds to buying local Grown on Maui produce and supporting local agriculture. There is nothing more uplifting than being a part of the team that helped create all those wonderful smiles.”

“A big mahalo to Ledcor Maui for allowing Shapers & Hi-Tech Surf Sports to be a part of this awesome event for our Maui children,” said Kim Ball, president, Hi-Tech Maui, Inc. Being a local business, we love supporting great causes for our keiki.” 

In the center of town, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center offered a spacious venue to bring the groups together. “Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center is committed to being the heartbeat of the community by focusing on supporting organizations and initiatives such as what Ledcor Cares is doing,” said Kauwela Bisquera, general manager of Queen Kaʻahumanu Center. “We hope that through our partnership, we will see our community thrive in impactful ways.” 

Ledcor Maui’s Makana no nā Keiki annual fundraiser is a Ledcor Cares initiative, through the dedication and effort of Ledcor employees and partners. Over the past 10 years, Ledcor Cares has contributed $24 million to more than 200 charities nationwide, with a focus on children’s mental health, access to education, and community support. 

For more information, visit ledcormaui.com.

Source: Maui News

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