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Maui students urge visitors and kamaʻāina across Hawaiʻi to “Pledge” to their Future : Maui Now

Lawmakers from Maui at Pledge to our keiki event at the state capitol. PC: FILE Kanu Hawaiʻi.

At the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, student leaders across Hawaiʻi launched the Pledge to Our Keiki, a commitment and volunteer service platform for all schools. Now, they are asking the business community, organizations, kamaʻāina, and visitors to mālama them in their efforts to support all of Hawaiʻi.

Pledge to Our Keiki elevates the voices of Hawaiʻi’s students and channels the collective actions of the community to provide support where the needs are greatest. By working together, supporters hope to make an even greater impact to support Maui in crisis and build resilient systems to safeguard the future across Hawaiʻi Nei.

“The Pledge to Our Keiki represents a collective vow from various sectors of our society — including the visitor industry, businesses, government, and nonprofits — committing to proactive measures that safeguard the community and environment for the generations to follow,” according to organizers.

In partnership with Kanu Hawaiʻi, an advocate for resilient and sustainable communities, this pledge establishes a foundation for ongoing commitment and volunteerism, engaging both residents and visitors in a shared responsibility towards Hawaiʻi’s future, organizers said.

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The Pledge to our Keiki was drafted by students during the Mālama Honua Voyage of Hōkūleʻa  in 2013-2019 and modeled after the Palau Pledge. The Palau Pledge movement towards environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism has amassed 902,064 pledges worldwide.

Maui Schools that have signed on so far include: Lahainaluna High School, Seabury Hall, Baldwin High School, Maui High School and Haleakalā Waldorf School. In addition to signing the Pledge, students are working on campaigns to promote the call to action within their communities.

Lahainaluna HS signing the Pledge. Photo Credit: Judy Marie Dela Cruz

High school leaders across Hawaiʻi are forging impactful partnerships with kūpuna, local businesses, influencers, and well-known figures, including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, to amplify their voices.

“This collaboration is creating a powerful platform for Hawaiʻi’s student leaders, facilitating a global shift towards more conscious and regenerative tourism,” according to organizers.

Seabury Hall Lou Bouvet and Caitlyn Smith-Ryland Photo Credit: Manu Bouvet
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“While celebrity involvement like Johnson’s brings invaluable attention to our cause, it is the students’ passion and dedication that remain at the core of this transformative movement. In line with these efforts, students from every corner of the state have started to actively engage with the Pledge and share its message within their communities,” organizers said.

Dwayne Johnson. Photo Credit: Seven Bucks

A recent boost to their endeavor was a video message from Dwayne Johnson, affirming his support for the program. Johnson expressed his pride and admiration for the students, saying, “I’m proud of you, I love you, I’m honored to be an ambassador of the Pledge to Our Keiki.”

The video was shown to Lahainaluna High School Student Council leaders during a pledge signing ceremony on Jan. 12.

“This endorsement, while significant, underscores the larger narrative of student-driven change and commitment to Hawaiʻi’s sustainable future,” according to organizers.

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Lahainaluna High School Principal Richard Carosso spoke with Student Council members on Jan. 12, 2024 while signing the Pledge to Our Keiki saying, “the pledge is about a commitment in part to preserving the environment, but for us it’s probably a little different. It’s a pledge to get involved in responsible redevelopment of our community. I think that makes what you are doing here today so important and something to be thinking about as you are signing the pledge.”

Pua Case, a USA TODAY’s Women of the Year, a recognition of women who have made a significant impact in their communities and across the country, is also offering her support for the Pledge and for the island of Maui.

Pua Case Pledge supporter. Photo Credit: Pua Case

“Over the recent years it has become extremely evident that there is a need and a strong desire to ensure that Hawaiʻi is cared for, protected and stewarded in a manner that will define the future of the Hawaiʻi that the next generations will inherit. Many here and around the world are standing for the places that hold the stories, the values, the traditions and practices of a people that still depend on their environment to feed and sustain them. With that knowledge and understanding, it is indeed the time for all of us who are committed to protecting the water, the land and cultural ways to align in our efforts, and strengthen one another,” said Case.

Case acknowledges, “We are not alone, and in these times of such serious impacts to our island home, we must unify in our efforts to do all that we can in every way that we can, so we reach out to ask all who touch our shores, drink our waters and transform because you have been touched by Hawaiʻi to answer as our keiki call out to residents and visitors alike to pledge to stand with them, be responsible, volunteer, and give back to keep this place sacred for generations to come. With the upcoming Unity walk for Lahaina, we hope people across Hawaiʻi will support our keiki for their future and the future of Lahaina. Our work is far from finished.”

Partners of Kanu Hawaiʻi, such as Alaska Airlines, have also offered their support. “Alaska Airlines is proud to be a long standing supporter of Kanu Hawaiʻi and the Pledge To Our Keiki. The Pledge is an integral part of our caring service here in the Islands, symbolizing our deep commitment to sustainability and the Hawaiian cultural value of mālama,” said Daniel Chun, Alaska Airlines Regional Vice President, Hawaiʻi. “With the help of Kanu Hawaiʻi, we distributed over 27 million miles – donated by Alaska, employees and guests – to provide much needed travel support for over 500 Maui residents impacted by the wildfires. By signing the Pledge, we acknowledge our shared responsibility to support a sustainable and resilient future for Hawaiʻi’s communities.”

Kanu Hawai’i invites the public to sign the Pledge to Our Keiki and put your commitment into action today. With the Pledge, participants can choose nonprofit partners and volunteer opportunities to find meaningful ways to give back and show your support on every island, including those most impacted on Maui. To take the Pledge visit www.pledgetoourkeiki.org.

Kanu Hawai’i started in 2006 as an organization of working-class citizens who sought to protect and promote what makes Hawaiʻi special – our connection to the ʻāina, culture of aloha and self-reliance. The founders created Kanu Hawai’i to strive towards change rooted in kuleana (responsibility) and a commitment to the change.



Source: Maui News

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