Maintain Our Schools With Hawaii 3R’S

By Alan Oshima, Hawaii 3R’s Board of Directors

There was a time not so long ago when community problems weren’t defined by political boundaries. Elected officials rarely said, “That’s a state/county/federal issue.” Rather, it was a community problem that needed attention, irrespective of jurisdiction or ego.

And this is how, in 2001, Hawaii 3R’s came to be, led by the vision of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.


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Alan Oshima

Hawaii 3R’s was established as a nonprofit organization in direct response to a problem that had reached epic proportions: a $640 million backlog in repair and maintenance in Hawaii’s public schools.

The genesis for 3R’s began as an idea to leverage volunteer labor as a key resource to reduce the cost of the most basic repair and maintenance projects.

Hawaii 3R’s has made an impact in Hawaii’s public schools, although the R&M backlog still persists.

A few months ago, more than 30 volunteers from Prudential Locations spent half a Saturday armed with paint supplies, sprucing up the small but aging Kaewai Elementary School in Kalihi.

With the help of many others — American Savings Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Castle Foundation, our military as well as parent and alumni volunteers — Hawaii 3R’s has done nearly every kind of R&M project imaginable, from improving safety in classrooms to refurbishing existing classrooms into science labs meeting the standards of the 21st century. Over the past 13 years, Hawaii 3R’s has helped the state to realize a savings of more than $43 million. For every state dollar invested in Hawaii 3R’s, $12 of work has been completed. More than 530 grant awards, totaling more than $20 million, have been made to 190 different schools on six islands.

With 2015 upon us, we hope people will consider supporting Hawaii 3R’s.

It’s an effective way for alumni groups to help their alma mater. It’s an effective way for organizations to promote team building activities among employees while completing high impact community service.

Or, it’s as easy as checking the $2 school repair box on your state tax return.