The day I visit the Molokai Arts Center, Betty West is teaching a kūpuna ceramics class. Betty was one of the founders of the center, which grew from an idea discussed at the local pizza café by locals — mostly seniors — who felt the island needed a place to nurture the arts. Between 2010 and 2012, the group incorporated as a nonprofit, raised funds and applied for grants, and were offered a home on the property of Coffees of Hawaii in Kualapu‘u.
Volunteering is a popular antidote to feelings of isolation that can occur as we age. Here are two programs that enable seniors to share their time and skills with younger generations.
If you attend any sports events involving the University of Hawai‘i’s Rainbow Warriors or Wahine, it soon becomes obvious that local kūpuna are among their most avid supporters. From attending home games, to donating to booster clubs, to picking thousands of flowers to make lei for the Women’s Volleyball Team, Hawai‘i’s seniors are with the athletes every step of the way.
The Big Island again finds itself dealing with a large number of people displaced by a lava event. “The fast-moving lava flow from Kīlauea volcano on May 3, 2018, forced 1,500 residents out of their homes and in search of shelter,” says Kimo Alameda, County Executive on Aging.
The measures that came into effect in wartime Hawai‘i were described by one man who helped create them, Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Green, as “a new experiment in government — a joint operation of the military, civilian business and the general public.” A great number of the general public were, of course, women and they played many roles on the home front.