Community counts at ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY. The Middle school Make a Difference Day is a perfect example of one of our school’s missions lived out with heart by our students – to provide opportunities for community involvement to give back. This year, ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Tyrell’s Angels for Make a Difference Day. Tyrell’s Angels is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families in need on the West side. Tyrell’s Angels was founded in memory of Tyrell Niko, who died at 17 months old in a tragic accident in Makaha in 2010. Led by Josiah Koria, Tyrell’s uncle and the organization’s founder/president, much of the non-profit’s efforts are focused on assisting the children and families of Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae.
The goal of this year’s Make a Difference Day on December 19 was to help Tyrell’s Angels provide holiday joy to the children they assist. Koria was invited to speak to the middle school students during one of their Town Hall meetings to share with them the mission of his organization, and stories of the families in need.
Koria was grateful for the collaboration, sharing on Tyrell’s Angels’ Facebook page, “Thank you ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY for inviting me over to do a presentation on Tyrell’s Angels. So honored to be working with such bright young minds.”
All of the students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 participated and contributed. The day’s activities were set up in three stations around campus, each creating something special to share with the children. In Mr. Ochoa’s classroom, students assembled holiday stockings and decorated them with glitter and paint, even personalizing some with a child’s name. Students mixed together glue, borax, and dye in Ms. Kuffel’s science classroom to create colorful slime, which they packaged into individual jars that were then adorned with holiday decorations. In the MPR, students made holiday cookies – rolling out dough, cutting shapes, baking, and decorating each with attention to detail.
At each station, sheets of paper with the names and ages of the children from Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae were posted along the walls and the students checked off the names as they completed their activities, making sure no child was forgotten.
At the end of the day, the middle school students had created and filled more than 100 individual holiday stockings, bags of decorated cookies, and jars slime for the children to play with. The holiday treats were packed up and handed out to the children at the Tyrell’s Angels holiday party on December 22.
Organized by Jorge Ochoa, the Secondary math teacher, Make a Difference Day involved many helping hands and generous donors to prepare and organize for the day’s events. Monetary donations from each of the Upper school classes (’19, ’20, ’21), secondary academic departments, and Middle School Student Government help offset the costs of the materials. Donations of supplies (toothbrushes and toothpaste from Dr. Scott Arakawa) and time and talent (stockings by Maddie Cabuslay, cookie dough by Lisa Dalida and Amber Camacho) made the activities possible.