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Paying It Forward

The Will Smith Foundation benefits local kids

February 10, 2011
Debra Lordan

In order to prepare island keiki for emergencies, The Will Smith Foundation is teaming up with MFD Chief Jeffrey A. Murray to create a new safety awareness program for grades K through five.

“If we can teach the kids now, they will teach others as they grow older,” said Chief Murray.

The foundation and the fire department’s team of experts aim to create a workbook that covers everyday safety and what to do in case of a fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake or other life-threatening event. The department will compile the material and the Will Smith Foundation plans to produce 30,000 kid-friendly workbooks.

“This is the kind of thing Will and myself would have been involved in, but since he can’t do this, I can make these things happen for him,” said Will’s mom, Susan Moulton, president of The Will Smith Foundation.

The foundation was established in 2007 after 8-year-old Will Smith was killed in a car accident on Maui in June of the same year. Since its inception, The Will Smith Foundation has contributed more than $20,000 to safety, school and other programs geared toward island kids. Many organizations on the Valley Isle—from canoe clubs to classrooms—have benefited from foundation gifts. This project, which is planned to be in schools by fall of this year, is the largest undertaking by the foundation on Maui to date.

The foundation’s mission is to provide the means to provide positive life experiences to children through art, music, acts of compassion and safety programs.

“Our motto of providing positive life experiences for children is more than just words,” said Moulton. “Will was a very positive and giving person. With every dollar the foundation spends, I always think how excited he would be to see us helping so many other people.”

The nonprofit foundation has planned several fundraisers in the next few months to help support projects such as this one. A fashion show is scheduled for March 12 at Mala Wailea, Will’s Run for Hope at Kanaha Park is slated for June 4, and a live event at Flatbread in Pä‘ia is slated for the summer.

“All the money we raise on the island stays on the island to benefit local kids’ programs,” said Moulton.



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