What Can We (in Spite of the DOE) Do to Help Hawaii’s Kids?

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.


Lots of bitching and moaning going on these days about the simmering teacher-furlough controversy here in Hawaii. I’m not being condescending–I’m as guilty as the next guy. Sometimes it feels so good to complain. Indeed it’s therapeutic. That is, until the law of diminishing returns kicks in and the anger starts eating you up inside. (Can you tell I’m ticked off?)

I’ll fess up here and say that my primary source of “complaint material” comes from punaweb. But it’s everywhere: newspapers, blogs, letters to the editor, not to mention lots of good old-fashioned human-to-human venting.

For the record I think it’s wonderful we have a forum like punaweb where folks can vent, pontificate, analyze and brainstorm. But sometimes the negativity gets old…depressing is a better word.

So my intent here is to chuck the negativity and get out of the damn box. I’ll start by suggesting that we all put behind us the anger and stop complaining. It’s time to belly up to the bar, folks. For there’s no better way to improve a situation than each of us asking a very simple question: what can I do?

I’ve got a few ideas. Nothing earth-shattering mind you, just a small personal contribution. Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting my ideas apply to others; we all have different situations, limitations, skills, and resources. But there’s something each of us can contribute. It might be money, participation in fund-raising activities, political activism or just volunteering your time to share knowledge and skills to help the keiki.

Or…a multitude of other great ideas beyond my feeble imagination. What I know for sure is that it’s really gonna take a village to crack this nut. That’s why I’m asking for your help–for the sake of our kids, for the sake of our future.

Before going there I’d be remiss not to first ask, What can I do?

1) I’d be willing to volunteer my time to teach language/culture/communication on Fridays. (When I’m not traveling I work at home so it’s feasible for me. Retirees would seem to be in a better position to do this than most working folks. Who knows–if enough of us volunteer we might be able to fill an entire Friday so parents of students could work that day.)

2) I will donate money directly to our local charter school whenever I can (as much as I can afford, no more no less).

3) I will email our political leaders in Hawaii and demand they change their evil/ignorant ways. (Not that it will do any good–and forgive me for being so cynical–but I figure the effort will at least be a therapeutic exercise in blowing off steam.)

My better half and I are working on a couple other relevant projects not yet ready for public consumption. If the stars align I’ll be covering them in a future post. Stay tuned.

For now, this is all I’ve got to offer. But it’s a start. I’d sure appreciate hearing your ideas too.

What can you do to help?

Copyright © Tim Sullivan 2009


6 responses to “What Can We (in Spite of the DOE) Do to Help Hawaii’s Kids?

  1. The only answer I see that works in real time is direct personal action. Especially- teach a kid something. Here’s a pledge: I’ll teach any willing kid how to make charcoal. It’s worth a buck a pound. Instant career. Perhaps a miserable one, but a proven one, and might be worth more than all they get out of 4 years of local high school. It will also teach about management of invasive species, about climate change, about the issues facing agriculture, and about good stewardship of the land in one lesson.

  2. Thanks Jay, that’s exactly the kind of response I was hoping for. 2 or 3 more volunteers and we’ve got a whole school day covered…

  3. Actually, HAAS is a perfect environment for such a project (I’m assuming that’s where it’s going)–Steve would be wholly hip to it, and a good time can be made of the issue too.

    We’ll need someone to donate about 100 pounds of hotdogs. . .LOL

  4. Hello,

    To Jay: I like the idea of direct action. I’m volunteering a few hours myself every week with people who need it the most. It helps to see you can make a difference at your personal level and best, you can understand what is going wrong…

    Going to Gemba 101 : )


  5. What I will do personally… Is not promote a forum that is run in a very weird way and that has many members that post mis-information that may lead kids down the wrong road in the future.

    Kids need to read positive things online.

    The negativity at Punaweb is definitely something to keep kids away from.

    I myself personally have begun to teach a few kids at a VERY Young age now how to blog.

    Hopefully in 10 years… they will be able to make some big differences in this world with their blogs.

    I know I myself have made a difference in Politics and a few other things on this Island by blogging the things that I have.

    Our future is our children… Steering them away from negative things is just one of the things I can do.

  6. Thanks for helping young kids learn to blog, Damon. Learning to express oneself in any medium is an important skill. It makes sense that you choose to make a contribution in this area. And thanks once more for your efforts in driving political change (whatever your views happen to be).

    But I wanted to clarify what this post is about. I’m looking for positive ideas on what we CAN do to help the kids, not what we won’t (or don’t want to) do. Thanks in advance for keeping things positive.

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