Groups pitch in
Volunteers aim to restoreBy Mary Adamski
Ala Wai, soldiers polish Diamond Head,
students plant for Kahoolawe
THOUSANDS of Oahu residents abandoned their Saturday leisure today to muck out debris from streams, plant seedlings, paint a battleship and collect food for the needy in observance of Make a Difference Day.
The largest of several local projects in the nationwide harnessing of volunteer energy is the Ala Wai watershed restoration project. About 1,000 people signed up to work at 14 sites in the effort sponsored by the city Parks and Recreation Department TeenClean '98 and Youth for Environmental Service.
An additional 630 volunteers were to join the Department of Land and Natural Resources in litter cleanups at state parks, boat harbors and shorelines, and many other organizations planned ways to benefit their communities in the campaign sponsored nationally by Points of Light Foundation and USA Weekend.
"Students really are concerned about the environment and feel they need to get involved. This is an exciting day for them," said Sean Casey of Youth for Environmental Services, which last year won the Paul Newman award that the Points of Light Foundation presents annually to a participant in each state.
The YES organization gives presentations about the environment in schools, this year focusing on the Ala Wai watershed, he said.
In one of the most spectacular projects of the day, 20 Schofield Barracks soldiers were to use their skill rappelling down the slopes of Diamond Head to clear litter from the landmark's frequently photographed frontage.
"It's an adventure training thing for us," said Lt. Gary Trevino of the Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment.
Lt. Harris Brumer said all 550 soldiers in the battalion are joining in projects today, including a cleanup at the Camp Mokuleia beach front and repairs and groundskeeping at Haleiwa Elementary School, Trinity Lutheran School and a women and children's shelter.
Thirty-nine University of Hawaii students were to rendezvous at the Papakolea Community Association Center on a planting project that aims to have a major impact.
Wiliwili, ilima, pili and other native species will be nurtured until they mature enough to be transplanted on Kahoolawe. The volunteers will also plant seedlings in the back yards of some Papakolea residents.
The students were recipients of $2,000 scholarships from American Hawaii Cruises. The grant carries a stipulation that they must perform a community service each semester, said Atina Pascua, UH service learning coordinator.
Other highlights in Make a Difference Day include:
Opportunities to help abound
Anyone can contribute to a food drive for three Oahu domestic abuse shelters sponsored by AmeriCorps/Students and Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence and Junior League of Honolulu. Drop-off points are Richards Street YWCA, Sam's Club, Tamura Store in Waianae and three Honolulu Safeway stores.
About 150 people will clear debris and spread gravel on Manoa Falls Trail.
Iglesia Ni Cristo Church members are among 300 volunteers painting, raking, trimming and picking up trash at Sand Island State Park.
Young patients at Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children will present money they raised in a recycling drive to children who live in domestic-abuse centers. The presentation will be during a tree-planting ceremony at Leahi Park by Domestic Violence Access Project, the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Hotline, and Shriners Hospital.
Navy Seabees and Aluminum Shake Roofing Co. will team up to reroof a building at St. George's Episcopal Church at Pearl Harbor.
Aiea Community Association members and others, numbering 250, will scrape and paint aboard the USS Missouri Memorial.
The Sierra Club and others expect 100 people at a litter cleanup along the Ka Iwi shoreline.
Wal-Mart Store in Mililani is presenting donations of $600 to Women in Need, a domestic violence awareness group, and $400 to Moanalua Middle School PTSA for projects benefiting the underprivileged.
About 45 employees of the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel, including new general manager Jan Goessing, have adopted Waialae Nui stream as their cleanup project.