Open House At KEY Set March 20

KEY Project will host an open house from 5 to 8:30 p.m. March 20 to showcase its facility, programs, new commercial kitchen and agency partnerships.

The casual evening includes light refreshments from the center’s Kipuka Cafe, plus tables and exhibits of activities and services provided by the nonprofit as well as by its regular users, including clubs, a hula halau, senior and keiki services, neighborhood board, forums, meetings, organizational retreats, church services, food pantry and family celebrations.

Executive director John Reppun likens the event to a “leaning over the fence in the neighborhood” to get re-acquainted. “This is an important time for KEY,” noted Reppun, a lifelong resident of the area, “and we feel strongly that we have to open up our house and invite people in to show what we do, what we can do, what others do here while inviting ideas for the future.”

Located at 47-200 Waihee Road, the Kualoa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth Project will celebrate its 45th year in October. Over that period, it has evolved from a small drop-in youth canteen in an old house near Hygienic Store to the spacious multipurpose center on city-and state-owned land around the corner and up the street. Its own programs include after-school and intersession care for keiki, college scholarships, a Wednesday night computer lab for the public, teen mentorships, Waihee ahupuaa restoration work, a competency-based high school diploma program and its current federally funded Native Hawaiian Education Program to prepare and encourage students to enter and complete post-secondary education.

KEY also sponsors a Mothers and Others breakfast in the spring (May 11), a Koolau Ohana Festival gala in October and its popular Thanksgiving imu roast, among other events.

Its new commercial kitchen – certified category 1 by the state Department of Health – has a kitchen manager (Ahuimanu resident Ken Weir), catering services and a growing list of kitchen users.

For more information, call 239-5777 or visit the website at