Forest City Hawaii Donates Classroom Supplies to Kealakehe Elementary School

Media Release:

Forest City Hawaii is no stranger to rolling up its corporate sleeves and getting busy with community based projects. Founded on the corporate values of its parent company, Forest City, community involvement is a core value and an integral part of the way Forest City Hawaii does business.

Take for example Forest City Hawaii Development Manager Race Randle. With community involvement ingrained in his values, Randle looked for opportunities of service that would benefit the children (keiki) of West Hawaii. Logging on to HelpHawaiiSchools.com, Randle searched the school site for a local West Hawaii school wish list and discovered the school supply wish list from Kealakehe Elementary School.

The Hawaii State Department of Education launched its Volunteers and Partners program as a pilot program in 2006. The Volunteers and Partners initiative is an avenue to assist teachers with wish list and classroom supply shortfalls. Kealakehe Elementary School Principal Nancy Matsukawa saw the partnership opportunity and assigned Joy Agard from the Parent-Community Networking Centers (PCNC) office to canvas their teachers. From those needs, Agard composed a teacher wish list and uploaded it to the statewide web portal www.HelpHawaiiSchools.com.

Kealakehe Elementary School Principal Nancy Matsukawa and Race Randle, Forest City Hawaii

Kealakehe Elementary School Principal Nancy Matsukawa and Race Randle, Forest City Hawaii

“The Help Hawaii Schools website started as a pilot project involving four schools.  This past school year was the first year that all Hawaii schools were listed on the website and we currently have more than 3,500 volunteers and donors registered in the system,” stated Judy Nagasako, DOE Educational Specialist.  “Our goal is to increase and sustain volunteer and donor resources that support student learning and to develop the capacity of schools to effectively recruit, manage, coordinate, recognize, and retain volunteers and donors.” Randle reviewed the list of Kealakehe Elementary School teacher wish list and quickly took action to fulfill those needs.

“Forest City Hawaii will be developing Kamakana Villages at Keahuolu, an environmentally sensitive, sustainable community centered around new, affordable homes for Kona’s working families. It’s good for us to grow our community giving here,” said Randle. “We are looking forward to being a part of the Kona community and helping our schools is the right thing to do.”

What does the Kealakehe Elementary School wish list look like? Mr. Flo, 5th grade Math Teacher asked for and received as a donation from Forest City Hawaii math flash cards and 30 small dry erase boards for his students to use during lessons. Miss Reynolds, a 1st grade teacher at Kealakehe, asked for and received children’s scissors, reward stickers and Play-Doh. Several teachers asked for and received dry erase markers and erasers. Mrs. Lusk’s 4th grade class will be happy with their new upper and lower case alphabet stamps, ink pads and Play-Doh. In total, Forest City Hawaii donated over $500 worth of classroom supplies for Kealakehe Elementary School- and just in time for the next school year.

“In the true spirit of laulima (working together) Forest City Hawaii encourages other businesses to get involved and help fill the gap of teacher and classroom needs. We will bring not only jobs to the community through the development of Kamakana Villages, but new schools and the support of nearby social programs and health care,'” said Forest City Hawaii President Jon Wallenstrom. “It’s a new approach. It’s the right approach.

2 Responses

  1. I say three cheers and a big hurrah for Forest City. As one of a small group of people that went to schools and donated supplies, I say at least they are doing something to help. The teachers and principals we spoke to on the east side of the Big Island, said so many kids are showing up for school with no school supplies because their parents can’t afford them. And even more shocking was the kids that came to school hungry because they had nothing to eat at home. No-cost or low- cost school breakfast and lunch were their only meals.

  2. There’s that fine line between schmoozing for public support of development permitting and generously being part of the community. Forest City doesn’t have its development permitting but says it will be developing here. This mainland developer needs to remember that a project that’s done well (as opposed to promising to be) might be welcome to be part of the community and a helper in solving its challenges. But anything less, despite donations to local schools, will not stand.

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