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Growing Dreams

A floral and fashionable benefit for Maui’s families.

July 14, 2009
Trisha Smith

“This year, we have some fresh ideas, as well as some of our popular favorites,” said event chairperson Jennifer Bleier-Lake.

In its ninth year, the colorful event moves back to its original home at the Kea Lani for a designer fundraiser that benefits Maui Youth & Family Services (MYFS) each year. MYFS is a comprehensive social service agency with the mission of “building better lives with Hawai‘i’s families.” For the last three decades, MYFS has offered a variety of services for Maui’s youth and families, including prevention programs and outpatient treatment options for substance abusers as well as for those with behavioral problems.

The annual MYFS signature event raised around $60,000 last year due to the hard work of its organizers and the generosity of the island community.

Article Photos

The innovative Hitomi Gilliam will showcase her brilliant skills in contemporary abstract style in the art of floral design at the Growing Dreams Floral & Fashion Extravaganza on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea. All proceeds benefit Maui Youth & Family Services.

This year’s featured guest presenter is the innovative Hitomi Gilliam, a distinguished designer, lecturer, instructor and author specializing in contemporary abstract style.

Canada’s Gilliam is a “mega-star” in the world of floral design and a member of The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). She is one of only five recipients of AFID’s prestigious Design Influence Awards.

“We are delighted that we were able to coordinate with Hitomi’s calendar,” said Bleier-Lake. “She is an incredible talent and brings her unique contemporary design to the event.”

During the high-class luncheon, Gilliam will provide artistic floral demonstrations, with flowers provided by several local growers. Guests have a unique opportunity to learn new techniques and gather ideas to make their very own arrangements, just like the pros. The vibrant creations will be available for purchase during the morning’s festivities.

Sophisticated models will hit the runway for a stylish show, strutting their stuff in feature fashions from Valley Isle retailers such as Blue Ginger, Water Lily and If the Shoe Fits.

The extravaganza will also include a lovely performance by talented musician and kumu hula Napua Greig.

Take a chance at the popular “Rubber Duckie Pond,” where a donation of $20 will earn you the chance to dive into the fun. Everyone’s a winner, as each friendly “floatee” coincides with a grab bag that includes an assortment of surprise items from several Maui merchants, and no two bags are alike.

Stop by the blooming Flower Shoppe to purchase some exquisite floral creations to give to your sweetheart or brighten up your home.

There will be a silent auction again this year with a variety of items to bid on such as local art, jewelry and activities, courtesy of generous donors across the Isles.

This year will also feature a special video from local filmmaker Shan Liljestrand, with music and narration by Jake Shimabukuro, featuring some of the heroes of MYFS.

Arrange your schedule to make sure you don’t miss the Growing Dreams Floral & Fashion Extravaganza on Saturday, Aug. 29. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with the show starting at 10 a.m. Guests may purchase tickets online by visiting the Website at and going to the Growing Dreams page.

Those interested in helping out a good cause in a fashionable way have plenty of time to purchase the $125 tickets, with regular tables still available for purchase. VIP tables are already sold out. It’s a win-win event for everyone, as contributions are tax-deductible.

For more information, or if you or your company would like to become a sponsor or provide donations, please call 280-1175 or 357-5422.

To learn more about Gilliam, visit



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