Taylor Hamai

Lawrence Tabudlo photo

Lawrence Tabudlo photo

Recent Iolani graduate Taylor Hamai chose to support nonprofit organization Project Dana with her One Mile Project class, an iDepartment service-learning course at the school.

The purpose of the class was to improve the lives of kupuna within a one-mile radius of Iolani.

Hamai attended a national conference in Washington, D.C. in January, where she received the Generations United Youth Jumpstart Grant sponsored by AARP Foundation’s Mentor Up initiative in order to start up a community project.

“With that I decided to do this card project,” she explains of her endeavor, Messaging With Love.

According to its mission statement (that Hamai created herself), through classy, practical and useful greeting cards, Messaging With Love perpetuates the legacy of incredible centenarians, promotes awareness for older adult support and raises money for a worthwhile cause.

Hamai worked with One Mile instructor Kirk Uejio, who also served as her project partner.

Each greeting card set included two cards of five designs. Hamai put a lot of thought into Messaging With Love’s design, and the front of each card features a personal, handwritten life lesson from one of four centenarians atop wonderful Asian-inspired graphics. Lessons include: Live clean, Be honest & work hard, Smile, Be true to yourself, and Arigato gozaimasu; thank you, thank you, thank you.

“I asked them to give me advice that you want to share with others,” Hamai says. “I had them hand write (their message), and we copied their handwritten message onto the card.”

Hamai personally interviewed the four centenarians and garnered inspirational information on each person.

“I really enjoyed doing the interviews,” she says, “and just meeting these incredible people. One woman, she’s 108 years old, she’s really sharp and she has so many stories to tell and so much knowledge to share.

“I felt lucky to be able to speak with her.”

The back of the cards offer a short biography of each centenarian who provided the quote on the front, as well as a description of Messaging With Love.

The final part of her project involved selling the 10-card packs. She was able to raise $11,137.04, which was presented to Project Dana June 30.

Hamai will attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles this fall and hopes to continue volunteer projects throughout college.

“I don’t know how, but I’m going to try my best,” she adds.