Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Island Pacific Academy Unites in Compassionate Action

In the wake of the destructive fires that swept through Lahaina, Maui, in August, Island Pacific Academy’s students and staff united this semester to offer support to our neighboring community in need.

A standout initiative reflecting the IPA’s dedication to positive change was the “Change for Change” student-lead campaign spearheaded by the Secondary Executive Council, with the support of Ruby Fernandez, student activities coordinator. Through this innovative and school-wide fundraising effort in August, students collected spare change in containers placed throughout campus. The proceeds were all channeled to two organizations, Maui Strong Fund and Maui Humane Society, to help with relief and recovery for families impacted by the fire. The students in Grades K-12 came together to raise a total of $3279.86, and Island Pacific Academy matched their efforts for a combined total of $6569.72, which was split evenly between the two organizations. The campaign not only raised a substantial amount but also fostered unity and shared responsibility within the school community.

For Kailer Koga ‘27, his donation to “Change for Change” was personal. “It happened so close to here, and for me personally, some of my family members lost their house in Lahaina, so I wanted to give money to help,” Koga explained. “It goes back to Elementary during assemblies when we would say ‘Whenever you can, help’ and that is one of the biggest things because we need to help the community and make sure people who have been through things are well cared for.”

In addition to the Change for Change initiative, the Grade 5 Student Action Committee and Katherine Jones, Elementary’s sustainability and innovation coordinator, organized IPA’s heartwarming “Giving Tree” project that has become a cherished holiday tradition. This year, the school redirected its generous spirit towards a new and impactful endeavor.

In the past, the Giving Tree tradition involved contributing gifts to the Maililand Transitional Shelter. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the shelter has closed its doors. Undeterred, Jones sought a new partnership and found an opportunity to collaborate with the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce, which is currently supporting over 1,000 families in the local community in the wake of the recent tragedy on Maui.

The revised Giving Tree initiative aimed to fulfill the holiday wish lists for children and families in Lahaina who have been affected. Jones reached out to the larger Kapolei community and garnered support from various Oʻahu partners including Mauka Lani Elementary School, Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy, Villages of Kapolei, Austin, Tsutsumi and Associates, and Blue Zones (Ewa/Kapolei).

Leading the way, IPA students and families donated 363 gifts, with the joint effort collecting nearly 650 toys and books for the youngest impacted by the fires, demonstrating the potent impact of community solidarity. The Grade 5 Student Action Committee also decided to use the funds they raised through the Navigator Credit Union Cafe to cover the cost of shipping the gifts to Maui.

“This project provided a valuable learning opportunity for the Grader 5 students, allowing them to understand the importance of the power of human kindness and generosity of spirit,” shared Jones. “This aligns with IPA’s core values, fostering a sense of community and responsibility. Their active involvement showcased the positive impact that students can have when given the opportunity to engage in meaningful community initiatives.”

“This project will not only bring joy to children on Maui but also showcased the compassion and unity within the Island Pacific Academy community and its partners.”