LIHU‘E — The storage shed at Na Kama Pono Pre-School is much more orderly thanks to several hours of work by students and volunteers Sunday morning.
For the second straight year the Pamantasan Club of Kaua‘i Community College took part in the state Adopt-A-School Day service project in conjunction with the Hawai‘i Jaycees.
Pamantasan (Tagalog for higher education) is a Filipino-American student group. The volunteering activity goes along with promoting culture, heritage and history for Filipino-American Month in October.
Pamantasan President Jonathan Ibanez said the Na Kama Pono project was a little overwhelming at first, but that the students got a handle on it once the items were pulled out and sorted the learning aids into indoor and outdoor item.
Some older and duplicate items are being donated to Ui Corr. She is opening a nonprofit pre-school on Kaua‘i’s Westside.
It was a little different from last year’s project where students weeded the plant beds and scrubbed the sidewalk in front of the One Stop Center. This project was as rewarding, Ibanez said, and went well despite fewer staff and students taking part.
“It’s a good tradition to carry on,” he said. “Its good to show that we are making an effort to reach out to others and help out in the community.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared Oct. 14 as the annual Jaycees Adopt-A-School Day that has grown to include 120 schools events statewide. However, the only Kaua‘i event could not take place until Sunday, due to a conference, according to Pamantasan club adviser Frances Dinnan.
The selection of Na Kama Pono came through Pamantasan club members who study early childhood education and work with the program. There was a need to move cabinets and clean out the shed and the available people gave the project an incentive.
“We asked members to go out and look for possible service projects on campus,” Dinnan said. “The work was a little much for the teachers to do on their own.”
The supplies are used in the classroom as concept reinforcement items. They support the thematic units of emerging curriculum in a child-center program that changes frequently and over time the dozens of plastic storage bins lose labels or become cluttered.
“In a nutshell, they saved our lives,” said Val Rita, the lead teacher of Na Kama Pono. “Over time the things get put back where they don’t belong and things pile up. The 10 commandments of the shed fell by the wayside.”
The students helped to purge files older than seven years old that date back to the beginning of the program nearly 21 years ago, Rita said. The space for new files will save having to find new cabinets.
The participants said they were there to support their club and to do something good for their school and the community.
Frenzy Perono, sophomore, pre-nursing, said this is her second year helping out Adopt-A-School. She works as a pre-school aid for the program and said cleaning the units will make a difference.
“We are cleaning up and re-organizing,” Perono said. “It helps with the club and it helps the school.”
Delcey Garma, a senior in business, said she is helping out as a parent of a student at the preschool.
“It feels good to participate and to help out the school that my son goes to,” she said. “I didn’t even know the shed was that big to even hold all of that stuff.”
Early Childhood Education Faculty Program Coordinator Dana Shelit said teachers do not have enough time during the day for this type of cleaning. “With children around this type of work is not possible,” she said.
“So we’re glad that the Filipino club has some time to come and help us,” Shelit said.
Na Kama Pono is run by two teachers, seven adjunct lecturers, and three student aids. It is also used by student teachers for lab experience, along with nursing and psychology students for observation and assessment work.
“This is a really good resource for the campus,” Shelit said.
Cleaning out decades of student projects is a good time to ask the community for donations, such as storage sheds, patio furniture, or even an old boat that could be grounded for children’ play.
“We are always looking for that kind of stuff,” she said.
Shelit said she is developing a capital campaign for a green building, and is preparing within a year to expand into a second school for five year olds not yet in kindergarten in a neighboring building.
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or firstname.lastname@example.org.