Molokai Keiki Group News Release
Nine years ago was the first Molokai Keiki Expo, created by the Molokai Keiki Group (MKG). The event is a “one-stop shop” where families are encouraged to bring their children to engage in the many fun activities provided while parents have an opportunity to gather information, ask questions and access programs.
This year’s Keiki Expo will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Mitchell Pauole Center.
The MKG was created in September 2004 by passionate community advocates as a grassroots effort to address the needs and gaps that exist on our island pertaining to early childhood and being pro-active in finding solutions. At the time, Ho’owaiwai Na Kamali`i (HNK), a project of INPEACE (Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture), was the lead organization that provided the resources and support needed to get MKG started, with a specific focus on Native Hawaiian children and families.
MKG’s purpose is to foster and promote a healthy and safe environment for our keiki and ensuring excellence in early childhood education, therefore ensuring our keiki are safe, healthy and ready to succeed. We believe that each child has promise and our investment in them will be a solid investment in the future of our Molokai community.
In 2004, an island-wide data collection identified specific gaps and needs, not only for Molokai, but throughout the state. The study was completed through HNK with the assistance of the University of Hawaii’s Center on the Family. One item that stood out concerned families not accessing services because they lacked awareness of the services available in their communities, including Molokai.
The Molokai Keiki Expo was created in an effort to bridge that gap. The goals of this community event are: 1. To build public awareness and understanding of early childhood education and its importance in a child’s development, 2. To give families an opportunity to access the many services and programs on island in a fun environment, 3, To encourage early registration for kindergarten and readiness on transitioning into kindergarten, and 4. To support and strengthen the network of services on island.
This year’s ninth annual event is free for the community and includes activities such as the “Diaper Dash” Keiki Crawling Contest, preschool performances, keiki hula halau performance, keiki hands on activities, storytelling, jumping castle, free Keiki IDs and many educational book and prize giveaways.
Mahalo to the sponsors, for without them this event would not be possible: County of Maui, Punana Leo o Molokai, QLCC, Kamehameha Schools, FIUF and Rawlins Chevron/Chevron Hawaii.
For more information about the Keiki Expo, contact Lori-Lei Rawlins-Crivello at 658-0104.