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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Adopt a teacher,
help the students

Question: Could you provide a contact for the Adopt-A-Teacher program? I would like to participate in this program but cannot seem to find the information previously given.

Answer: If you have access to the Internet, the best place to get information, as well as forms to actually adopt a teacher, is You can also call 485-0601.

"One hundred percent of a donation goes to a teacher," said Maggie Ulm, the passionate founder and director of the nonprofit Adopt-A-Teacher Foundation.

Teachers seeking help are asked to fill out an adoption form, a profile form and a wish list.

She says more than 1,000 teachers, mostly public, but some from small private schools, have submitted wish lists with her foundation, and more than 300 individuals, groups and businesses have formally adopted a teacher. The adopters are mix of businesses, parents, individuals, groups and clubs.

Nationally, a teacher spends $32 per student out of his/her own pocket every year, Ulm said. It's not uncommon, when you have really "gung-ho" teachers, for them to spend $1,000 to $3,000 out-of-pocket, she said.

Whether you can give a dollar or thousands of dollars, provide supplies, equipment or time, "That's terrific," she said. "A teacher will appreciate any kind of help."

It's taken less than a year for The Adopt-A-Teacher program to spread throughout the community.

"I went public on June 16 (1999) with it, but the corporation didn't start until Dec. 13 and we received our 501C (nonprofit tax exempt status) in February," said Ulm, a mother of three, owner of an electrical field engineering company and the one-woman force behind Adopt-A-Teacher.

Growth has largely been by word of mouth.

"I tell 10 people to tell 10 people," Ulm said. "I do seminars and talk to teachers, parents, CEOs of companies. And I go to all islands and talk."

What Adopt-A-Teacher aims to do "is take care of children and to make sure that every child has the best education possible, no matter where they live or the environment they have," Ulm said.

Q: What is the role of police officers when they shut down streets for whatever reason? On Thursday, April 20, there was a massive traffic jam because of a bomb threat downtown. About 3 p.m., I was driving diamondhead on King Street heading toward Ward Avenue. At Ward, two police officers blocked off the mauka-bound lanes, forcing cars in three lanes on Ward to turn right onto King. Of course, many of these cars ended up blocking the intersection. What ticked me off was seeing two officers -- one in a regular police car and the other in a Cushman -- just standing there doing nothing! In fact, one officer was just leaning against the Cushman. Why couldn't they help direct traffic?

A: The officers were supposed to have directed traffic in that situation, according to police officials.

Officers and supervisors have been reminded of their role, said Honolulu police Maj. Michael Tucker of District 1 (downtown-Chinatown).


Why aren't the traffic lights synchronized better on Likelike Highway, from the H-1, past Kamehameha Shopping Center and up to Kalihi Valley? You have to go through five lights and they're all red! -- Cindy

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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