Last week, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa announced the creation of the "Operation: Pass the Dream Forward" program. Its goal is to collect a minimum of one ton of new and used books from the Maui Nui community and send them to Maui County's sister cities in Ilocos Norte, Philippines.
In February, a delegation from the County of Maui, which included County Council Chair Danny Mateo, Councilmembers Gladys Baisa, Elle Cochran and Don Couch, and Managing Director Keith Regan, traveled to the Philippines with Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Zalsos to formalize Maui County's sister city agreement with the town of Badoc.
During their visit, the Maui County delegation met with various mayors and discussed the needs of their respective communities and ways in which Maui County can make its sister city relationships with them more meaningful. Many indicated that there is currently a shortage of books written in English, and that such books would certainly enhance the education of children in their region.
"There is such a strong desire for the people of Ilocos Norte to learn the English language," said Regan. "Having a shortage of books written in English therefore makes learning challenging."
Upon returning to Maui, Mayor Arakawa was informed of the need and together with Regan came up with the idea of a book drive.
"We thought that a book drive would be a perfect gift to our sister cities (Badoc, Bacarra, San Nicolas and Sarrat) of Ilocos Norte, as books provide a lifelong gift of literacy to children," the mayor said. "At the same time, such a project would be a great opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the importance of sharing with others."
"Sharing used books with our sister cities is a great way to teach children about charitable giving," added Regan.
New and used books for both children and adults may be dropped off at various participating locations including the Kalana O Maui building (Mayor's Office located on the ninth floor, as well as second-floor lobby), Department of Environmental Management Administrative Office in Ste. 100 of One Main Plaza, Araki-Regan & Associates, Bistro Manila Maui, Four Sisters Bakery, Four Sisters Restaurant, KPMW and Noble Travel.
To sign up to be a participating location, call 280-1299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.