IPA Seniors Show Aloha for Texas with Benefit Event

Over the past few weeks, many of us have been glued to our TV’s, phones, or laptops, struggling to stay updated with the deluge of Hurricane Harvey content. We’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve all heard the stories. We’ve all felt the deep desire to reach out and shelter the victims of this disaster, to dry them off and give them food, to rebuild their homes and bring their families back together.

But you can’t save a city by staring at a screen.

In an effort to do something with all the empathy building up inside them, a group of seniors at ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY decided to lift up their heads, look toward Texas, and open their hearts to those in need. Thus, “Aloha For Texas” was born; a project dreamt, conceived, and organized by students wanting to make a difference in the lives of those unable to help themselves.

On Saturday, September 16, 2017, we will share our Aloha For Texas. From 4:30 to 8:30 pm, ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY will be hosting a benefit night from which all proceeds will be going towards the J.J. Watt Foundation and their “Houston Flood Relief Fund” to assist with the rebuilding efforts for those in Houston and surrounding areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

For students, it would be easy to feel as though the planning of such a large event should be left to the adults. It would also be very easy to feel overwhelmed by all the logistics and the ever growing list of needs that the world and our country has. After all, what can just a few, inexperienced teenagers do?

A lot, actually.

During the very short time between the idea’s inception and execution, the students had to network, negotiate, and delegate like they never have before. Dealing with business owners, musicians, and volunteers was daunting. What if they didn’t want to donate their time? What if they didn’t want to help out in a student led event? Each time they reached out to the community, they were filled with worry as they anxiously awaited their responses.

Time and time again, however, the students were pleasantly surprised to see just how willing and excited people were to offer their time and talents to the event. Nobody blinked at the fact that this event was being organized by fourteen seniors, or that it was coming up on such short notice. They just wanted to help.

Students at meeting.

IPA seniors get together at the first planning meeting for “Aloha for Texas.”

Students at meeting.

Class of 2018 students discuss plans for “Aloha for Texas.”

Students meeting together

IPA seniors share ideas at the first planning meeting for “Aloha for Texas.”

This event started out as fourteen students wanting to send love to Texas, and now it’s evolved into something so much bigger – a community brought together by the pure desire to make a difference; hearts united with nothing but Aloha for Texas.

In the midst of such dark, torrential times, it’s easy to only see the tragedy in everything. But if there is anything a time like this is good for, it’s for seeing the light in people. The IPA students have been shown they are not alone in their desire to help those in need. For anyone else like these thoughtful students  –  feeling empathy, unsure where to channel it –  this event is for you. Your monetary donations, whatever the amount, will make a difference in the quality of life for those in Texas. Anything is more than nothing.

Hawaii is 3,892 miles away from Texas, but a little bit of love goes a long way.

Details for the “Aloha for Texas” benefit can be found here.

(This article was written and contributed by Maddie Yamamura, ’18, one of the IPA seniors organizing this event).