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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some Aloha Spirit for Back-to-School

So summer is over and a new school year is upon us. While we all want to hold onto those precious moments of childlike summer, it is time to refocus on all the wonder every new school year brings.

Kate and I just returned from a wonderful summer in Hawaii. Besides the sheer natural beauty, the reasons Kate and I love Hawaii are the people and the loving Aloha Spirit they share with us.

After 40 years of visiting the Islands and now having a home there, we still hold each day in awe for the wonders that present themselves. Paddling has become a daily joy, swimming with the dolphins, watching the whales. And, of course, marveling each evening at the glorious sunsets!

We have become very involved with the local Ohana Foundation that provides emergency medical support and educational scholarships for the children of everyone working at Hualalai.

A new project the Ohana Foundation is supporting is Lifeplan! We are now in the third year deploying Lifeplan to every school on the west side of the Big Island. This summer, we held the second annual Youth Summit during which 50 young people who had gone through Lifeplan participated in a one-day session to gain more insight and assets to grow their Lifeplans.

This new school year will see more than 1,000 young people participating in the Lifeplan program. The Lifeplan Institute of Hawaii will grow this island-wide, and in two years, take the program statewide.

It is gratifying to see this program take root in our own backyard! I would be remiss not to acknowledge the incredible leaders of this work. They include Kei Lin Cerf, Robin Mullen, Ellen Cunningham, Mark Geist, Alice Bratton, Art Souza, Will Murakami, Trish Champagne, Beth Mehau, Susan Wood – and, of course, our own Jim and Lee Kooler.

It is thrilling to see the benefits young people are deriving from the Lifeplan program. I look forward to keeping you apprised of the progress here in Hawaii and across the country.

Here's to a productive and revealing new school year!

All the best,


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