COURTESY LANIKILA MULTI-PURPOSE SENIOR CENTER
McKinley High School football players volunteered yesterday to help the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center with its landscaping, along with members of the Metro Rotary Club of Honolulu.
Senior center ‘digs’ groups’ support
The McKinley football team and Rotary Club maintain the facility
Upkeep is difficult with only four full-time staff employees at the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center.
That's why program coordinator Karen Takemoto was glad for the dozens of hands available yesterday to help with the landscaping of the 39-year-old facility, which serves more than 2,000 seniors.
About 50 members of the McKinley High School Tigers football team and 20 members of the Metro Rotary Club of Honolulu did four hours' worth of yard work at the center yesterday morning.
The volunteers planted grass around the seating area outside the center. Before yesterday, the soil around the benches
was several inches below the walkway, which Takemoto said was dangerous for the seniors.
"They're helping us spread about two tons of dirt," Takemoto said. "The ground was very eroded and very dangerous. When they step off, they were at risk to blow out their knee or twist their ankle."
On any given Saturday morning, the McKinley team could be found at Ala Moana beach running and training. Yesterday's project was just as hard of a workout, said linebacker and 16-year-old junior Iosefatu Sio Fiso.
"We love to show our pride, represent our school," Fiso said. "We love to show people that we have aloha in ourselves."
The football team also volunteers its time at a football clinic at the Palama area and helps staff the Great Aloha Run.
"I find this just as valuable (as training)," said coach Bobby Grey. "It burns the calories and gets that attitude out of 'What can I do for you,' not 'What can you do for me.'"
The Metro Rotary also does a number of projects for the center, including holding a "senior prom" formal dance for its members.
The center relies completely on volunteer work to help with the upkeep. The center's on-staff part-time janitor is more than 80 years old. Takemoto said he is "very active," but the amount of work needed to be done is beyond his abilities.
"We greatly appreciate these efforts," she said. "We're here trying to run a program for 2,000 seniors and we need all the help we can get."