Monday, April 25, 2005

Second Malama Jam
shows kids can make
a difference

A Punahou student group
has raised $25,000 to help
abused children

"Children Helping Children" is this year's theme of the second Malama Jam benefit concert Sunday.

The theme was chosen because a dozen Punahou students are spearheading the concert to help abused children, says Malama Jam co-founder River Kim. He and friend Tierney Morikawa formed the service group with their classmates last year as part of their mission to make service a lifestyle among young people.

'Children helping children'

What: The Malama Jam, a concert to benefit the Children's Alliance of Hawaii

When: Sunday at noon, beginning with a silent auction and food sales, followed by the concert at 2 p.m.

Where: Mamiya Theatre, Saint Louis High School

For concert tickets: Call River Kim at 778-6470 or the Children's Alliance at 599-2955. Tickets are $10.

Proceeds from $10 ticket sales will go to the nonprofit Children's Alliance of Hawaii. The event will be held at noon in Mamiya Theatre at Saint Louis High School, beginning with a silent auction and food sales, followed by the concert at 2 p.m.

Kim formed the group after telling his father not to give him any Christmas presents in 2003 "since we have so much" and seeing the homeless on the streets without basic necessities, he said. As a gift, his father, Gregory Kim, gave him a coupon that entitled him to working with his dad on a fund-raising event to help the homeless. The first Malama Jam, last year, raised $20,000 for the Institute for Human Services.

River Kim said this year's concert will go to help abused children upon the request of the Children's Alliance, whose former president, Susanne Pearce, attended their first concert.

Kim said he would like to be the director of a nonprofit organization when he becomes an adult.

"I don't need to work for a lot of money. I get more satisfaction in helping people. It's a better reward than the money," he said. He attributed his values to having "really good parents who showed me to put other people before yourself."

Kim said the Punahou student group wants to involve young people from other schools in organizing next year's event. Performers have volunteered from Punahou, Assets, Waldorf High, Campbell High, Farrington, Kapolei Elementary, Word of Life, Hanahauoli, Kaimuki High, Niu Valley Intermediate, La Pietra and Kamehameha Schools.

So far, the Punahou group has raised $25,000 in donations, including $10,000 from the Carl and Hildgund Bucky Foundation.

Jackie Chang, one of the group's members, said she is gratified that the fund-raiser is "totally youth-powered" because it aims to lead by example and "be an inspiration to other kids" to give back to the community.

"We want to show that it's possible for people our age to make a large difference," she said.

Gregory Kim, a lawyer who works with startup businesses, said he is the mentor and "chief grunt" of his son's group because he wants "to teach kids to aim high and to learn some entrepreneurial skills. I want them to know that just because they don't have a lot of resources doesn't mean you can't get things done. There's no limit to what they can do."

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