Hawaii Youth Impact Program (YIP) to kick off its Second Year
I am a strong believer that change transpires when various sectors of a community rally together for the greater good. And that is precisely what I saw when the Hawaii YIP program kicked off its second year at a press conference and luncheon on May 22 at Eating House 1849 in The International Marketplace. Riki Ellison, Founder and Chairman of the Youth Impact Program was in attendance, along with Chef Roy Yamaguchi, University of Hawaii Head Coach Nick Rolovich, UH Athletics Director David Matlin, Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Kauai State Representative James Tokioka, Senate President Ron Kouchi, and Hawai’i News Now Rick Blangiardi, just to name a few.
After a successful first year, the program is again bringing together local businesses, the U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Army, as well as student athletes and staff from the University of Hawaii to offer a two-week camp that will help mold and ignite our youth to become exceptional members of society. The goal of the program is to increase academic scores and graduation, instill discipline and respect in at-risk boys between the ages of 10-14 to encourage them to make the right decisions in life. This is all facilitated through classroom instruction, led by the Marines and the Army, with football coaching driven by student athletes and staff from the University of Hawaii.
The skills that are taught go far beyond the football field. They are teaching them skills and lessons that will help them develop good study habits and character . Not all of these young lads will be able to make it to the NFL so a camp like this will help them develop good habits that will help them become productive members of our community workforce .
The success of this program wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of all the sponsors who help provide the 100 students with daily meals, transportation to and from UH, football uniforms, equipment, and school supplies at no cost to families. I’d like to extend my mahalo to Riki Ellison and Chef Roy Yamaguchi for bringing this program to Hawaii and knowing they could make a positive impact for our youth. HLTA is thrilled to be sponsoring this program for the second year in a row.
$10,000 Check presented to UH Foundation for Athletics
During the YIP press conference, HLTA, in conjunction with Friends and Family of Agriculture, presented the UH Foundation with a $10,000 check to go towards UH Athletic programs. Athletics Director David Matlin accepted the check at the event. I made the commitment to the University of Hawai’i at a special quarterly meeting of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce that focused on UH Sports. Matlin and seven UH coaches were the special guests that evening on the Garden Island that HLTA in coordination with Friends and Family of Agriculture help plan and organize for the Kauai Chamber of Commerce. It was one of the most successful Chamber events ever staged on the Garden Island that led to several follow-up sports activities there.
Above and Beyond Award
Two Saturday’s ago, in the midst of launching our 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk on Oahu, I was caught by surprise as the Salem Media Hawai‘i Team made their way to the stage to award me their Lex Brodie’s Above & Beyond Award. For those who may not be familiar with this award, it is Salem Media Group’s community service award presented to an individual who has “gone above and beyond the call of duty, have put themselves in harm’s way, made a substantial sacrifice for the good of others, or provided a meritorious contribution to our local community.”
There are many individuals who are constantly giving back to the community, and so I am honored to receive this special accolade. But as I made it clear that day I’m accepting it on behalf of all the special friends and associates I’ve had the pleasure of working and serving with all these years. The Charity Walk is a prime example of hundreds of people coming together annually to help execute an event that benefits thousands of our local organizations and people! Mahalo Hawai‘i for your continuous support, and a special shout out to each and every one of you who are going above and beyond the call of duty in your everyday lives.
I would also like to extend my gratitude to Lex Brodie’s, Salem Media of Hawai‘I, and to the corporate sponsors of the award: K5 the Home Team, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Team Lally Keller Williams, J.J. Dolan’s Hand Crafted Pizza, Arcade Green, and Windward Ford.
Retirement of Donn Takahashi, Prince Resorts
Tuesday, May 22nd, I was honored to attend the Retirement Celebration for Donn Takahashi at the Prince Waikiki. Donn’s lifelong tourism career is an inspirational one, and he has been an exemplary leader at Prince Resorts Hawaii for the last 25 years. Under Donn’s leadership as President of Prince Resorts, during the past 14 years ago, we have witnessed its remarkable growth and development.
Kisan Jo, the new President of Prince Resorts, is a financier by trade and as a Deloitte-trained accountant, he has risen to become one of the youngest hotel operators in Hawaii, which is no small feat. I also happen to know Kisan on a personal level, as he is a graduate of my Pacific Century Fellows program. I am sure we will also see great things from Kisan and Prince Resorts in the near future.
Best wishes Donn, on your retirement after a 46-year long career, from bellman to President of Prince Resorts- a success story indeed. And congratulations, Kisan, as you step up to the plate.
Another record-breaking year for the Visitor Industry Charity Walk!
Celebrating 40 years of giving back to Hawai‘i’s communities.
Nearly 7,000 walkers, participants, and volunteers gathered in Waikiki on Saturday, May 19 for the close of the 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk held on Oahu, raising a day-of total of $450,000 - with monies still rolling in.
Throughout the month of May, Charity Walks were held on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Hawai‘i Island and Kaua‘i. The combined funds raised from all of the State’s Walks as of this date totals for now a new record of $2.5 million!
Saturday’s walk on Oahu started with a light breakfast provided by Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa as the crowd was gathered for the morning announcements by emcee Sam Kapu.
Welcome remarks were given by Charity Walk Chair Glenn Vergara, HLTA Chairperson Gregg Nelson, Honorary Chair Rick Blangiardi, Salem Media Partner Dita Holifield, Council Chair Ernest Martin, and yours truly. Return guest appearances were made by Hawai‘i News Now’s Guy Hagi and Stephanie Lum to count us down for the launch of our 40th walk.
Once the walkers got going, they were treated to food, entertainment, and fun throughout a 5-mile course starting from Ala Moana Beach Park, through Kalakaua Avenue and back.
Food selections at checkpoints along the route included staples such as spam musubi, watermelon, my favorite chocolate chip cookies from Double Tree and more. I was also excited to see that many of our checkpoints were trying new ono giveaways this year which included li hing mui pineapple, chicken kelaguen, and pulled pork tacos. Needless to say, this truly is the only walk in Hawai‘i where you actually gain weight!
As our caravan visited the checkpoints along the route, it was refreshing to see many new faces this year walking and volunteering alongside our Charity Walk veterans. This year we saw large public school groups come out to participate and volunteer from Farrington , Waipahu , Kaimuki , Dole Intermediate and Momilani Elementary joining the ranks of other large volunteer contributors , such as Special Olympics. Also joining our hospitality members from the Honolulu and Waikiki districts, was a huge Ko Olina contingency that came out in force from Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Aulani Disney Resort and the Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina ! We were also pleased to welcome new Charity Walk checkpoint host, Lucky Strike Social Honolulu and welcome back the ‘Alohilani Resort, who had taken a break as they rebranded the former Pacific Beach Hotel.
I would also like to give a special shout-out to some of our past Charity Walk Leaders; they did their time as some of our very recent Charity Walk Chairs and continue to be a part of our tradition of giving. Kudos to past HLTA Chairs Scott Ingwers and Julie Arigo for putting on their Saturday sneakers and walking with us and to Past Chair Kelly Hoen who was on the front lines at the Outrigger Checkpoint at Beach Walk. And it was amazing to see former HLTA Chair Andre Tatibouet share his memories of the very first Charity Walk that he walked in 4 decades ago !
As participants made their way back to Ala Moana Beach Park to finish the walk, they were greeted with the famous Portuguese sausage chilidog plate lunch provided by the Kyo-ya Ohana, music by Pule Kakou, and lucky draw prizes of “staycations” here on Oahu. Emcees led by Salem Media's Sam Kapu and Kimo Villarimo and our very own Bulla and Lynette Eastman of Aqua- Aston welcomed walkers back to the park and entertained the crowd as they enjoyed their lunch and the beautiful weather.
With a banner year and record-breaking numbers officially in the books, I would like to extend my sincerest mahalo to all of our sponsors, partners, volunteers, donors, and participants who have made this year such a resounding success. It is thanks to your hard work and generosity that we are able to continue our Tradition of Giving! After all…”We’re all in this together”.
Mahalo Hawai‘i for your Kokua for making our 40th anniversary of Charity Walk our best one yet!
See Charity Walk in local media!
Hawaii News Now: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38234168/statewide-walkathon-raises-25m-for-local-charities
HLTA Donates $25,000 for Garden Isle Families Hit by Floods
On Wednesday, May 9th I was joined by members of the HLTA Kaua‘i chapter to present Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc., with a $25,000 donation on behalf of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and Hawai‘i Hotel Industry Foundation. These funds are being allocated to assist families from the hospitality industry that were affected by the recent devastating floods on Kauai.
I went to visit KEO headquarters in Lihue, and was joined by HLTA Kaua‘i Chair, Jim Braman, as well as Chapter board members Christina Gabriel and Sandi Kato-Klutke. We were met by Mabel Fujiuchi, Chief Executive Officer of KEO, and her team who gratefully accepted the contribution on behalf of the organization.
As many of you already know, HLTA continues to be a leader in the business community in generating funding for worthy causes, and I can’t think of a worthier cause than helping our employees get back on their feet. They range from families with badly-damaged homes to people who’ve lost everything, and we want to help them rebuild their lives. This month we are hosting our annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk in each of the state’s counties, and through these fundraising efforts we are able to help fund deserving causes such as this.
Charity Walk 2018: Celebrating 40 years of Giving
Congratulations to Maui County, Kauai, and Hawaii Island for setting momentous milestones in their Visitor Industry Charity Walks this past weekend! Kauai brought in over $350,000, Hawaii Island raised $305,000, and Maui raised an astonishing $1,357,639. With walks on Molokai and Lanai bringing in $17,000 and $36,000 respectively on May 5th, Maui County raised a total of $1,410,639! It is worth mentioning that these record amounts are also day of counts and we expect that more monies will continue to roll in throughout the next couple weeks! Therefore, our present state-wide grand total is now just over the $2 million mark as we head into the final leg of the 40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk here on Oahu on May 19th.
With such wonderful results this weekend I would like to take this moment to thank the Charity Walk Chairs on each island: Christina Gabriel and Chip Bahouth on Kauai, Steve Yannarell and Rob Gunthner on Hawaii Island, and Ryan Nobriga on Maui, your leadership and drive has made reaching these fundraising records a reality. I would also like to thank the Hawaii News Now celebrities that came out to support each of their hometown walks, mahalo to Ashley Nagaoka, Billy V, and Chelsea Davis for being a part of this tradition of giving! Last but not least, I would like to send our gratitude and appreciation to all those that spent tireless hours coordinating the walks and of course to all those that came out and participated, your kokua will help benefit worthy programs and non-profits servicing your communities.
With each of the counties surpassing their fundraising goals for 2018, the pressure is now on Oahu to go over our goal of $500,000! That being said, if you haven’t donated or signed up to walk yet, there’s still time. Please visit www.charitywalkhawaii.org to register or make a donation. For those who need to submit walker forms or monies on Oahu, there will be a pre-registration site open today, May 14th from 1 pm -5 pm and tomorrow, May 15th, 8 am-12 pm at the McCoy Pavilion Dining Hall, located at Ala Moana Beach Park. Charity Walk wrist bands and walker cards will be distributed on-site.
As we head into the final week of the 40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk and a record goal of $2.5 million statewide I would like to thank you all for your amazing participation, and encourage your continued support! Statewide Charity Walk Chair Glenn Vergara, HLTA Board Chair Gregg Nelson, Celebrity Chair Rick Blangiardi, and I hope to see you all at Oahu’s walk on Saturday May 19th!
Waikiki Welcomes the ‘Alohilani
Two years ago, the team at the Pacific Beach Hotel shared images of their renovation plans at our HLTA board meeting: and after years of construction, training, and re-branding, we are thrilled to officially welcome the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.
I would like to personally extend my congratulations to HLTA members, Kelly Sanders, Cheryl Williams, Rob Robinson, Matthew Grauso, the team at the ‘Alohilani, and Chef Morimoto (Momosan) on their grand opening event this week. It was a pleasure to see many familiar faces from the industry there to support the launch of Highgate’s new, flagship hotel in Waikiki.
As many of you know, we recently held our HLTA Citizen-Scholar Awards luncheon at the hotel’s new Bluefin banquet room, where we got a first-hand experience of their beautifully renovated space. The elegant décor, professional staff, and overall hotel leadership helped us put on our best Citizen-Scholar Awards yet. We commend the team at Highgate on this momentous milestone, and we wish you continued success as the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.
Outrigger: Celebrates 70 Years
Now let’s take a moment to recognize another one of our Active members that has much to celebrate this year. Congratulations to Outrigger Hotels & Resorts for their seventy years of service to our industry and community. As a major stakeholder in the hospitality industry, they have exemplified the commitment of showcasing and preserving our island culture and making guests and employees feel like a part of the Outrigger ohana. A special shout out to Kelly Hoen, Area General Manager of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, for the feature in Midweek earlier this month. Kelly is an active member of the HLTA Board of Directors, and we wish her and Outrigger Hotel & Resorts many more years of success!
Ladies Leading Lodging
If you happened to see last Wednesday’s MidWeek, you probably recognized another one of our Board Members on the front cover. Julie Arigo, General Manager of the Waikiki Parc Hotel, was one of the four honorees to receive this year’s YWCA O’ahu Leadership recognition. These female leaders have been honored for their diligence in empowering women and their outstanding role in their communities. Congratulations Julie for this special honor. Our industry is fortunate to have both Julie Arigo and Kelly Hoen, both past Chairpersons of HLTA, who are excellent role models for Hawaii’s business women and we thank them for their exceptional example in making our state better.
Last week, we said mahalo and aloha to a partner turned friend, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth J. Phillips as he transitions back to the mainland. We began working with the Lieutenant Colonel at the Visitor Public Safety Conference that we hosted in late February, and have been grateful for his collaborative efforts in our subsequent follow-up meetings. I have discussed a range of public safety concerns with him, and his open communication style has been a welcome presence in our conference room. Lieutenant Colonel Phillips has been a valuable asset to us in our follow up meetings regarding cabaret licenses in Waikiki. Stakeholders, including property owners and liquor establishments, have been actively taking steps to improve safety in surrounding areas. Our recommendations at this point have included increase in lighting, private funding for removal of low walls, the installment of additional cameras, and extra support for HPD. However, the work is far from over, and as the Lieutenant Colonel moves on to his next assignment, we are pleased to welcome his replacement from the Military Police, Master Sergeant Williams. We look forward to the continued involvement from the military as we build on our current momentum and public safety initiatives.
40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk!
2018 Hawai‘i State Legislature Adjournment Sine Die
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