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West // West Oahu News
Rasa Fournier

Aulani Lunch Aids Youth Leaders

Diners have a chance to help Hawaii’s youths at the Legacy Aha’aina luncheon Jan. 25 at Aulani Disney Resort and Spa.

Guests will enjoy a buffet meal in the company of NFL Pro Bowl players, cheerleaders and mascots. They also will receive a memorabilia gift and get to participate in a live auction.

Most important, however, their $125 admission fee goes toward helping the nearly 960 youths who participate in football league’s Youth Education Town (YET). The after-school program caters to 7- to 17-year-olds, with an emphasis on cultivating leadership skills.

NFL YET Hawaii, which is part of the Boys and Girls Club, got its start in 2009 in a $5.4 million facility that opened the same year next to Nanaikapono Elementary School in Nanakuli. The green, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility consists of a learning center, multimedia room, art room, Native Hawaiian garden and amphitheater.

The programs are conducted in five core areas: education and career development, health and life skills, character and leadership development, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation.

“These programs help to increase academic success, develop good character and citizenship and increase a healthy lifestyle,” said NFL YET clubhouse director Claudia Fernandez. “We have programs like Leaders in Training and Torch Club that help youths develop or increase their leadership skills. Through these programs they learn to give back by taking part in community service projects. They learn entrepreneurial skills by conducting their own snack shop business.

“They also try out for officer positions … These activities build self-esteem and give them a sense of influence, belonging and usefulness.”

Students enrolled in the program come from Nanaikapono Elementary, Ka Wai Hona Charter School, Nanakuli Elementary, Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, and Maili Elementary. Students take part in NFL YET after school, and on school breaks and some holidays.

For more information on the Legacy Aha’aina luncheon at Aulani or on NFL YET, call Fernandez at 668-9399, by email at cfernandez@bgch.com, or visit bgch.com.

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