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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Rasa Fournier

City Council Honors Ewa Weed And Seed

At the City Council ceremony are (front, from left) HPD Cpl. Art Takamiya, assistant chief Randal Macadangdang, Sgt. Darin Evangelista, Richard Quiamzon of McDonald's, U.S. Attorney-Hawaii Florence Nakakuni, Ewa Beach Lion Eileen Lynn, Ewa Weed & Seed coordinator Gale Braceros, City Councilmembers Ron Menor and Kymberly Marcos Pine, Boys & Girls Club-Hale Pono Clubhouse's Frances Rivero, Weed & Seed executive director Maile Kanemaru, Cpl. Mark Ramos and Ewa Neighborhood Board member Mitch Tynanes, (back) Councilmembers Joey Manahan, Ernie Martin, Ann Kobayashi, Breene Harimoto, Ikaika Anderson and HPD officer Micah Nakagawa. Photo courtesy of City Council.

Youths are enjoying a safer, more productive environment in Ewa Beach thanks to the Ewa Weed and Seed program. In light of Ewa Weed and Seed’s many community successes since it was established in 2002, City Councilmembers Ron Menor and Kymberly Pine presented an honorary certificate to the program last month at Kapolei Hale.

“Ewa Weed and Seed has contributed greatly to improving the safety and security of residents in the Ewa and Ewa Beach communities,” said Menor.

Pine noted that “the Ewa Weed and Seed Program has not only reduced crime in the area but also helped to foster better relations among residents, police and social service organizations.”

Ewa’s was the third Weed and Seed implemented in Hawaii, starting off as a national program under the Department of Justice. In 2011, the U.S. Attorney-District of Hawaii took over, with the YMCA of Honolulu administering it.

Where many Weed and Seeds had to close because of budget deficits, Hawaii’s Weed and Seeds have prospered, thanks to local funding from the city, state and private grants and foundations.

Ewa Weed and Seed also has remained successful through a partnership with Honolulu Police Department and with more than 30 community groups.

Annual activities include cleanup events, food distribution, a youth rap group, ocean sports, culinary arts and a project pairing youths with senior citizens to lend the seniors a helping hand.

Ewa Weed and Seed site coordinator Gale Braceros outlined some of the group’s recent accomplishments: “Our annual Culinary Arts Summer Program, held at James Campbell High School, is celebrating its 10th year this year,” she said.

“With our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club-Hale Pono Clubhouse, we now offer after-school programs such as a Junior Bowling Club, Junior Golf Club, and soon, a Speed and Quickness Program.

“Boys and Girls Club-Hale Pono Clubhouse continues to be our community’s safe haven,” she added, “and continues its Ohana Food Distribution program that services approximately 300 seniors and families per distribution.

“Weed and Seed police officers have developed a trusting relationship with youths and have become mentors to many. We successfully sustain our youth programs and are currently working on our new project Malama Our Seniors, which focused on activities for our many kupuna here in the Ewa area.

“The Ewa site has received ongoing national and local recognition for its collaboration with the community. It’s a true community-driven program.

“We ‘weed’ out crime and ‘seed’ in positive programs in distressed communities, working together with residents, businesses and other service providers to make Ewa Beach a safer place to live, work and play.”

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