Maui has shown its true colors once again by coming to the aid of those in need across the ocean with a frenzy of benefit events.
And least week, Mayor Alan Arakawa announced he is helping to launch the “Aloha Initiative,” a program founded by Keith Powers and Michiko Ishida-Powers of Palo Alto, Calif., and Keith Regan and Lynn Araki-Regan of Wailuku.
The mission of the Aloha Initiative is to provide citizens of Japan who have been displaced with a warm and welcoming home.
“While we hope that all of the displaced are able to find placement in Japan with the help of the Japanese government and local support groups, they may need some additional help,” said Powers, a part-time Maui resident.
“Our goal is to assemble a community of people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to some of the displaced in case they need our support,” said Keith Regan.
Mayor Arakawa wants to provide survivors with an opportunity “to get away and recharge themselves both physically and mentally. While monetary support is critical, we must also consider the importance of mental support for the survivors. Even if many choose not to come to Maui for respite, they will receive word through this program that our islands care and embody the true spirit of aloha.”
How this will work—who will come, how they will be placed—will all be addressed in the coming weeks.
“Right now, our primary goal is to build a community of families that are willing to host someone for a week, for a month or even for a year,” said Powers. “We also have people signing up to help in other ways—like offering to host dinners and provide clothing.”
Program organizers also encourage members of the business community to support this effort with commitments of in-kind contributions, including flights, food, clothing, etc.
“Everything helps,” added Powers.
This program will succeed only with our help. Showing compassion by opening your hearts and homes will serve as a shining beacon of aloha to help heal the wounded world of people of Japan.