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Windward // Windward Oahu Coverstory
Carol Chang

Calendar A Tribute To Keiki Creativity

Local artist and retired policeman Joe Aragon met with Blanche Pope Elementary students weekly after school to prepare them for the community calendar. Photo from Roy Brooks.

Local artist and retired policeman Joe Aragon met with Blanche Pope Elementary students weekly after school to prepare them for the community calendar. Photo from Roy Brooks.

Bring together art, health and creative keiki and what do you get? An 18-month AlohaCare Waimanalo Community Keiki Art Calendar for 2015.

Though the Medicaid/QUEST insurance provider has published a statewide calendar for 12 years, this time around is special, according to AlohaCare member services and community outreach director Susie Corse. “We believed that creating a special calendar for Waimanalo would serve as a powerful tool to reinforce healthy lifestyles among children, parents, kupuna and others.

“Waimanalo is such a close-knit community,” Corse added, “and everyone is very committed to taking care of one another.”

To that end, it sponsored free keiki art classes at Blanche Pope Elementary with local artist Joe Aragon, who also teaches in the school’s Foster Grandparent program. Aragon met for one hour each week this spring with the students. The after-school sessions also included guest speakers, healthy snack demonstrations and talks about staying healthy.

“My hope is that these keiki will use their art to make this place a safer, better place to live,” Aragon said. “It also allows their parents, aunties, uncles and others to take notice of what they have created, providing those in their life with a better understanding of who they are.”

About 2,000 calendars will be printed and distributed free in August to community health centers, physicians, hospitals and others, featuring the best of local entries by children in preschool through grade 8. It also will list significant school and community events.

“It’s been an honor to be involved in such a holistic community project,” added kahu Roy Brooks of Ho’olua Waimanalo, a supporter of the calendar project. Also involved were St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, St. George Church, Joyful Community Church, Malama Honua, Polynesian Voyaging Society, Headstart, Parents and Children Together, Keiki O Ka Aina, Hui Malama O Ke Kai and the local A-Plus afterschool programs.

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