priorityKokua Council, one of the oldest senior citizen advocacy groups in Hawai‘i, plays an important role in a complex web of community organizations. Kokua’s main focus is on the informational, advocacy and educational needs of seniors.

Kokua complements and supplements the agendas and actions of national and local agencies, and coalitions such as AARP, HGEA retirees, Kupuna Caucus, the Caregivers Coalition and the Center on Aging, just to name a few. Kokua’s niche and strengths are the experience and wisdom of a board of directors who individually and collectively have been engaged and respected voices for seniors for some 40 years. Among our leaders and advisors are long-time advocates such as Laura Manis, Sam Cox, Tony Lenzer, Larry Geller, Marilyn Seely, T.J. Davies, Barbara Service and Lyn Moku.

The Kokua Council are government watchdogs, taking care that the laws are well-written and most importantly, enforced in ways that serve their intended purpose and benefit. Kokua believes that no government, no matter how well intended, can see the whole picture, or can fully understand the impacts of its actions or inactions.

Kokua also believes in stimulating, facilitating and sponsoring an ongoing public dialogue regarding issues of importance.

For many years, Kokua Council has sponsored monthly public meetings, where movers, shakers, experts and leaders come to explain, discuss and make cases for policy positions. When there is a new state or city administration, Kokua invites new administrators to address its members.

Recently, Kokua established a Windward Chapter, where retirees on Windward O‘ahu can engage seniors and, their elected representatives in informational and educational meetings.

In the last several years, Kokua Council has sponsored debates among mayoral and congressional candidates. Its annual Community Priority Setting Forum draws participation from a wide range of community organizations, each sharing their agendas and seeing collaborative support.

Over 50 individuals, including members of the Legislature, joined the council’s 2016 forum.

Of particular interest and concern are the most vulnerable among us: the physically, financially, emotionally, mentally and politically frail. As Hawai‘i’s aging population grows and its needs intensify, Kokua Council recognizes that many cannot effectively express or advocate for their personal and family needs. Too often, government hearings are held in places and at times that are challenging for seniors. Federal and state health and human services systems are layered with complex and often befuddling eligibility rules and barriers. Services are not always available at times and in areas where there is need.

This year, Kokua Council filed suit against the state Department of Health over its failure to follow the law and post timely and complete inspection reports.

Seniors and their family members are encouraged to attend Kokua Council’s monthly meetings (fourth Monday of each month), become members and even serve on its board of directors.

 


c/o Harris United Methodist Church
20 South Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu HI 96813
Larry Geller, Kokua Council President | 808-540-1928
Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month.
At each meeting, topical issues are presented for discussion
and possible action. View the details online at
www.kokuacouncil.blogspot.com/

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