Kanikapila and good times with plenty of aloha and smiles are ever-present in KOPP’s activities and evident in the lei and entertainment shared with cruise ship guests.

ALU LIKE Inc.’s Ke Ola Pono No Na¯ Ku¯ puna Program (KOPP) provides nutrition and support services to Native Hawaiians aged 60 and older at 12 program sites statewide plus home delivered meals to those not able to get to a site. Aging is never easy, especially when you have to go through it alone, as many of our ku¯ puna do, watching their spouses, relatives or friends pass away— mourning over these losses and never really recovering. Ku¯ puna greatly appreciate the KOPP program. Some of them identify it as one of the factors that has given them a reason to live and thrive. They come to learn about health and nutrition while creating bonds with new friends.

One significant aspect of the KOPP program is to promote and instill Hawaiian cultural traditions. Many ku¯ puna lived through an era when the Hawaiian culture was shamed. Some cultural traditions and oral history disappeared over time. With the rejuvenation of the Hawaiian language and culture, KOPP has been able to help revive this integral part of their lives by providing cultural activities such as hula, dance and cultural expertise through talented ku¯ puna, and community practitioners who give of their time.

During the past year, KOPP has become involved in two win-win community partnerships that have allowed ku¯ puna to share their talents and give back to the community. At the same time, these partnerships have given community groups a chance to give back to ku¯puna.

Rayce Bento, KOPP’s Big Island manager, worked with Linda Nako, a sales representative for Castle Resorts Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, to provide ku¯puna an opportunity to share cultural activities. Hotel guests meet ku¯ puna in the hotel lobby where they learn hula, ‘ukulele, fresh flower lei making, la‘i or ti-leaf lei making, floral hair pin making, and coconut and lauhala weaving, plus many other culturally related arts and crafts that guests are able to take home.

They get a first-hand experience of the aloha spirit as no one else can provide but our lovely and gracious ku¯puna. Our ku¯puna enjoy sharing their expertise with the guests of the resort and appreciate what the resort is able to do in giving back to them and supporting ALU LIKE. Mahalo to Linda Nako and Hilo Hawaiian Hotel!

ALU LIKE staff Shirley Simbre- Medeiros and John Mahi worked with Nalani Brun from the County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, to initiate a project for ku¯puna to greet passengers from all over the world with music, dance and lei as they disembark from cruise ships in Nawiliwili Harbor. Ku¯ puna are having a blast showing who they are and are full of the aloha spirit and Hawaiian culture. We all truly appreciate Kaua‘i County’s effort to give back to ku¯ puna!

 


ALU LIKE INC.
Let Us Work Together, Natives of Hawai‘i
808-535-6700 | www.alulike.org

We are honored to perpetuate our mission to ko¯kua Native
Hawaiians who are committed to achieving their potential
for themselves, their families and communities.

Mahalo to ALU LIKE’s Ke Ola Pono No Na¯ Ku¯puna program
staff for contributing to this article:

Sarah Chandler, O‘ahu Program Specialist III
Rayce Bento, Hawai‘i Island Program Manager I
Shirley Simbre-Medeiros, Kaua‘i Program Specialist III
John Mahi, Kaua‘i Program Specialist III
Elizabeth Meahl, Director

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