This December 29th marks my 10-year anniversary of moving to Kauai with only two large suitcases (oh, the easiness of the mid-twenties) and the determination to make it my new home. As 2019 — and decade — rapidly draws to a close, it provides an opportunity to reflect upon what has transpired. In this decade, I’ve also gotten married, become a mom, gotten divorced, launched a real estate career, bought my first home, gotten married again, witnessed April 2018’s flood destruction, and participated in the community response thereafter. Oh, and I learned how to surf. Simply put, a lot has happened.
While watching the gentle swaying of palm trees outside my window and reminiscing about the past 3,652 days, I am thankful to my younger self for tenaciously pursuing a life 5,000 miles from, what was then, home. And, I’m grateful to Kauai for the past 10 years of life experiences — both the beautiful and bittersweet — for highlighting how good life is (or can be).
It is in this reflective moment of thanks and gratitude to Kauai that I want to highlight a few local Kauai and Hawaii nonprofits, which are doing wonderful things for our community and the aina that nourishes us all. I am proud to contribute to these groups and hope that you consider them as well.
North Shore of Kauai
HomeSchool Now is a “hands-on, nature-enhanced (educational) program allowing children more privatized instruction to reach their highest individual potential” and has filled a void on the North Shore of Kauai for families seeking an alternative educational path. The program “intertwine(s) Common Core, Waldorf Methods, hands-on learning, small group instruction, and outdoor education.” I’m a firm believer that there’s a school for every child and am indebted to HomeSchool Now’s learning environment, which creates space for each child’s individual growth.
The Surfrider Foundation“is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches…local Kauai programs include Net Patrol and Beach Cleanups to keep our beaches free of marine debris; Blue Water Task Force (Water Quality Monitoring) to check the water quality at surf breaks, beaches, and streams; Ocean Friendly Gardens to keep polluted runoff from entering the ocean and Ocean Friendly Restaurants to reduce the amount of plastics and Styrofoam going into the ocean. We teach in the schools and promote student research projects.” Every year through community outreach and participation, this impactful nonprofit removes thousands of pounds of plastic debris, trash, and fishing nets off of Kauai’s otherwise pristine beaches. I highly encourage participating in their beach cleanups. It’s extremely eye-opening.
Hawaii Island Land Trust (HILT) “takes a uniquely Hawaiian and holistic approach to land conservation. We conserve lands that enable Hawai’i’s long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource.” If you’ve spent any time exploring Hawaii, you’ve more than likely come across a HILT-protected property. Thanks to this conservation trust, places like Kahili Beach (aka Rock Quarry), Wai Koa Loop Trail and the Wai‘oli Loʻi Kalo, Waiʻoli, Haleleʻa, (part of the Hanalei taro fields) on Kauai and many unique, impactful locations throughout Hawaii are preserved for the public’s enjoyment today as well as future generations’.
This year’s Kauai fundraiser will be held at the Princeville Ranch’s Pooku Stables on Dec. 19. Tickets are still available.
Hawaii Life Charitable Fund “is a donor-advised fund at the Hawai’i Community Foundation and is supported primarily through (Hawaii Life) agent, broker, and client donations, though anyone can donate to the HLCF. Our mission is to work to preserve Hawaii’s beauty and culture by supporting its people.” In 2018, the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund generously contributed towards various local relief funds for Kauai and Oahu’s flooding, Maui’s wildfires, and the Big Island’s volcanic destruction. This past year’s focus was on affordable housing for families in need, and 2020’s focus will be on raising ocean awareness.
Happy New Year!
Through all of life’s ups-and-downs, the inevitability of change, and the tenacity of ourselves and others continues to propel us forward. Personally, it’s been an impressive decade, and a retrospective look reaffirms a commitment to my Kauai life. I am amazed at what has transpired, and I am ready to see what’s coming over the horizon.
I’m thankful for my supportive friends and family, my local community, my loyal clients, my health, and Kauai. I am truly lucky.
May your holiday season be filled with love and cheer. Wishing you the very best in the new year (and decade)!
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou,