A unique benefit at my former school was the endowed Kent Summer Sabbatical program offered to faculty and administrators after seven years of service. Established to ensure that educators who had dedicated their careers to Roland Park Country School would be able to pursue a passion in the summer which could be shared with the school community the following fall. Proposals were required and once accepted you could plan your time away with a generous stipend.
My proposal was to live in a home on the ocean on Maui and write a collection of poems. It was a magical week with my family. Each morning I wrote for a few hours at a picnic table literally perched on a ledge overhanging the ocean while the house full of teenagers was silent. My view was an endless crystal clear blue ocean. It was truly a dream come true.
Maui did not disappoint. From surfing on the North Shore (the kids, not me), to driving the Road to Hana, to swimming with turtles in our own backyard, to hula dancing at a luau at the Polynesian Culture Center, to visiting Lahaina, the island’s beauty and its people filled our hearts and souls.
We were treated like Ohana on Maui. Family. We have never forgotten the kindnesses we received there. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, their homes, and their towns, when the nightmare fire erupted recently fueled by hurricane winds roaring through dry, wild grasses. The devastation is simply heartbreaking.
For me, and as the Head of Kent School, I always think first about the children. Will they have enough food to eat and will they be able to attend school? As such, I am choosing to support the Maui Food Bank accepting donations that will pay for meals provided to displaced residents. If you are so inclined, here are additional local resources accepting donations:
Hawaiʻi People’s Fund: Providing immediate relief to those directly impacted by the wildfires on Maui Island.
Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation: Partnering with the state Department of Education to support school communities in West Maui through Oct. 1.
‘Āina Momona: Establishing an emergency fund for Maui County first responders, including Firefighters, Lifeguards, and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Maui Humane Society: Supporting shelters for displaced people and animals, and caring for injured animals.
Stay Maui Strong