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Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
The children's corner of the Borders Bookstore in Waikele
resembles a senate floor complete with a gallery. Mililani
residents, from left, Brandon Dancer, 4, Amanda Dancer, 7,
and Malyssa Barbasa, 8, ponder the issues
of founding a new community.

KIds ruLE

Kid-Run Town is Funtown at Borders,
Waikele, run entirely by children with
citizen passports being their ticket in

By Nancy Arcayna
Special to the Star-Bulletin

IDS are people too, and while adults may understand this concept, we certainly don't act as if we believe it, telling them what to do, when and how to do them. Adults teach children reading, writing and arithmetic, but what the youngsters also need to learn is how to think.

"Kid-Run Town" is a program that allows children to learn leadership skills, gain a better understanding of the community and appreciate their importance in society. And it gives them a better idea of what their parents do on a daily basis.

The first town meeting came to order last Tuesday. The children of the kid-run town definitely had an agenda. They needed to name the town, make laws and create a currency system.

As the participants learned about their constitution and rights as citizens, they began to use their decision-making power. In one hour, they seemed to accomplish more than our politicians do during an entire legislative session.


Bullet What: "Kid-Run Town"
Bullet When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in September
Bullet Place: Borders, Waikele
Bullet Call: 676-6699

Some parents tried to get in on the action and needed to be reminded that they had no voting privileges in the newly established town.

"My third-grade teacher allowed us to create our own community and I want these kids to have the same experience," said program coordinator Shaun Flores. "We all live in towns and it's important to show the kids what it takes to live and work in a community."

The main goal is for the keiki participants to learn how to speak their minds about things and form opinions, she says.

Naming the new town was the first item of discussion. A room full of raised hands showed an eagerness to share ideas.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Michele Yamanoha, 3, of Mililani is given a choice of
passport colors in the Borders children's community.

Names considered were Happytown, Christmastown, Helpingtown, Kingstown, Thinkingtown and Playingtown. A few of the kids were quite fond of the name No Rules Town.

"Then I don't need to listen to my parents, don't need rules, wouldn't have to go to school and could watch TV all the time," said 10-year-old Michael Pinto.

Following a democratic vote, the newborn community was dubbed Funtown. And, because No Rules Town was voted down, the next logical step was to create the rules.

"By voting, you are making a difference in the community," Flores explained to the keiki.

The youngest children really had a feel for acceptable behavior within the community.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Borders employees Lehua Lilinoe, left, and Shaun Flores
present to the children a special passport required
for those participating.

The official town rules were no fighting, biting, hitting or killing; no stealing; no teasing and to always be nice; no running or screaming; no going places by yourself; always looking both ways before you cross the street; and last but not least, no burning houses. One child even suggested "no touching bears," but others did not consider it important enough to include in the rules of the town. Perhaps they felt common sense would be enough to keep most children away from bears.

The children also decided "croovers" would be the type of currency they would use in the new town. Townspeople would be awarded with croovers for good behavior, attendance, following directions and finishing tasks.

The children schemed and voted to receive five croovers, the maximum allowable award, for each rewarded action.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Mike Pinto, 8, of Aliamanu has his passport picture
taken by Shaun Flores of Borders, Waikele.

Finishing tasks was the exception, worth only two croovers. "We don't like to finish tasks like cleaning our room," said 6-year-old Samantha Pinto.

Future discussions will cover designing a school; defining different types of families; a discussion of jobs and how a bank works; and a mock trial. The program will end with a town festival. "The kids will even take a look around Borders and learn how to run a retail store," says Flores.

"This is the first time we are having the kids decide everything on their own. Some kids come and are very shy, but eventually open up.

"The kids are learning from each other and feel comfortable sharing the information with us," she said.

At the close of the meeting, the children lined up to have their photos taken for passports that will be stamped at each town meeting.

"Having my picture taken and making the passport was my favorite part," said Kailee Guerrero. "And voting was fun too.

Guerrero's brother Robert said he learned not to play with matches but admitted the best part of the program was the rewards and prizes.

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