Thanks to the hard work of past and present board members, staff and volunteers, along with the support of Maui County and the community, BBBS will soon celebrate 40 years of service to island keiki.
In 1969, some community-orientated individuals were concerned about Maui’s “disadvantaged” keiki and came together to try to find a solution. Research demonstrated the highest percentage of troubled kids—specifically boys—were those without fathers.
Hence, “Big Brothers of Maui” was established as a community initiative to present these boys with positive role models and mentors.
The “Sisters” followed soon thereafter, officially forming in January 1977. The merging of the two programs was something the “agency took a great deal of pride” in, as BBBS of Maui existed prior to the merger of Big Brothers of America and Big Sisters International in 1977.
The Mercer K. “Chubby” Vicens Mentoring Center, completed in the fall of 1998, was a “dream come true” for BBBS of Maui. The 6,000-square-foot facility was built with the support of Maui County and grants from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Samuel & Mary Castle Foundation and Alexander & Baldwin (A&B) Foundation.
Maui’s locale is the only Big Brothers Big Sisters agency nationwide that is fortunate enough to have its own after-school facility. During its four decades here, this big-hearted organization has served over 16,000 “Littles” from elementary to high school, and more than 7,000 community members have had the opportunity to volunteer as a “Big.”
Nowadays, BBBS of Maui operates two of the organization’s traditional core programs, the After-School and Community Based Mentoring Programs. BBBS of Maui is the only nonprofit agency on the island that offers one-on-one mentoring to youth. In addition, the Wailuku After-School Mentoring Center serves over 30 kids each week, and it is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m.
The program is also available at Makawao Elementary School, Lokelani Intermediate School and at residential areas such as the Lahaina Surf Apartments. It allows high school students to be paired up with elementary kids in a supervised, educational “homework-help” environment.
The community program is a unique way for keiki to spend fun time with mentors and make memories, while learning life skills along the way. “Carefully-screened” adults are matched with “Littles” between the ages of 6 and 17, and according to BBBS of Maui, programs like these have proven that kids who participate are less likely than their peers to use drugs or alcohol, and skip class or an entire day of school.
The Lunch Buddies program has also been quite a success, with volunteers making time to meet “Littles” at school and just eat, read and talk story.
BBBS of Maui is full of love for keiki, in addition to the families of those suffering from substance abuse. The organization provides helpful classes, thanks to a partnership with The Institute For Family Enrichment. BBBS of Maui will also be piloting a national program called Amachi, which seeks to assist the families of those who have been incarcerated.
Join the “Bigs” and “Littles” of BBBS of Maui for its 40th Anniversary Luau Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Wailuku Mentoring Center, located at 200 Waimaluhia Lane. Cocktails will be served at 5:30 p.m., with a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Eric from the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa at 6:30 p.m. The event, also sponsored by A&B Properties, will feature live music, a silent auction and countless hugs! Limited seating is available and tickets are $100, with all proceeds benefiting BBBS of Maui.
For more information on the event, contact Kassel Taeza at 242-9754, ext. 207, or visit www.bbbsmaui.org.
“Little moments…BIG magic!” Big Sisters Amber Sensano and Leah Agaran and their Little Sisters, Cyerilihis and Sheilana, are all smiles during a BBBS After School Program at the Wailuku Mentoring Center. If you’re interested in attending the BBBS of Maui 40th Anniversary Lū‘au Celebration, making a donation, becoming a “Big” or signing up a “Little,” call 242-9754.