Hawaii’s 2013 Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Announced

Brian Kahele, a single father who works full-time, overtime and on weekends as a painter and still finds the time to coach baseball to underprivileged kids 5 to 9 and also assistant coach older kids 9 to 11 every day except Sunday, was selected as the top finalist at the 20th Annual Luncheon celebrating Hawaii’s Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth today at Washington Place.

Washington Place

Washington Place

“Brian’s unselfish desire to help kids that really need help – he searched Goodwill and Savers all over the island for baseball shoes for the kids who couldn’t afford them – stood out for me.” said Vice Speaker John Mizuno, co-chair of Children and Youth Month/Day. “Some of these kids come from the projects, some don’t even speak English, but Brian stepped forward, even using his own money, to ensure that these underprivileged youth had an opportunity for a normal childhood.”

“Brian epitomizes the outstanding Advocate for Children and Youth” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, co-chair of Children of Youth Month/Day. “His willingness to help kids in need, not for the recognition or other rewards, but simply because the need to help them existed, is what I find special about Brian.”

The other finalists include:

  • Daniel Caluya, principal of Na Wai Ola Public Charter School
  • Phil Chun, founder of the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM)
  • Imelda Gazmen, Filipino Community Center’s Kids Summer Enrichment Program
  • Cedric Gates, founder of Active Hawaii Organization Inc.
  • Lisa Pakele, program director for Keiki Steps
  • Judge Karen Radius , retired Oahu First Circuit Family Court judge
  • Dave Shoji, UH Wahine Volleyball coach.

There were two organizations in the Top Ten:

  • HI HOPES (Hawaii Helping Our People Envision Success) Leadership Boards composed of young adults ages 14 through 26 who are currently or formerly in foster care
  • Surfing the Nations, a non-profit that serves at-risk children through the sport of surfing and other activities