In a festive gathering of what can only be described as ohana, the families of O Ka’u Kakou and Bay Clinic, Inc. recently shared a meal to celebrate the first annual Ka’u Family Fun Fest held in June. The Ka’u-based community festival drew crowds from all over Hawai’i and raised over $51,000. The funds will benefit the construction of a new Bay Clinic Ka’u Family Health Center building in Na’alehu.
Representatives from O Ka’u Kakou, Wayne Kawachi, President of the Board of Directors and Raylene Moses, Board Treasurer and Ka’u Family Fun Fest Race Chair, announced the final results of their fundraising efforts and presented the official check to Michael Gleason, Bay Clinic Board of Directors Chair.
“This is so much more than a gift to Bay Clinic,” stated Mike Gleason upon accepting the check. “This is a gift for Ka’u. For Hawai’i. For us all. This is the meaning of malama. We are so grateful.” He went on to say that the improved access to health care for the Ka’u community will benefit the entire Bay Clinic service area of East and South Hawai’i. The new clinic building will allow for double the staff and available patient visits in Ka’u.
Bay Clinic’s CEO Paul Strauss expressed his own gratitude to all members of the O Ka’u Kakou Board of Directors, including June Domondon, Nadine Ebert, Jeanette Howard, Carol Massey, Katherine Okamura, Fred Ramsdell, Scott Stabo, Myra Sumida and Walter Wong Yuen. He also thanked additional members of the Ka’u Family Fun Fest planning committee for their efforts, including Monica Adams, Tanya Aynessazian, Melissa Corrao, Guy Enriques, Yvonne Gilbert, Dixie Kaetsu and John Replogle.
The Ka’u Family Fun Fest was held June 11, 2011 and included a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K races as well as tournaments, music, a silent and live auction featuring Mayor Billy Kenoi, and an entire day of healthy, family-friendly activities. Staged at the Na’alehu Park in Ka’u, the event drew over 1,000 attendees including many international participants.
Bay Clinic is continuing to accept donations for the Ka’u Family Health Center building fund at http://www.bayclinic.org. Founded in 1983 as a grass roots health center, Bay Clinic is now one of the largest nonprofit health care providers on Hawai’i Island with seven service sites providing primary care, mental health counseling, family planning, pediatric and prenatal care, dental services and community outreach for the districts of Puna, Hilo, and Ka’u.
Plans for the second annual Ka’u Family Fun Fest are already underway though a date has not yet been announced. The public is encouraged to contact the planning committee at email@example.com for information on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.