Project Hawai'i with Cultural Institute of Americahttp://www.CulturalInstituteofAmerica.com
P.O. Box 1844 Keaau, HI 96749 United States
This was an awesome experience. My mom was hesitate to send me on such a long program for my first away camp, but I am so glad she did. Being only 14, it was a bit scary at first to travel alone, especially so far away....but well worth the whole fear factor. Once I got to Hawaii, I was so well taken care of by the director and the others who make the whole program wonderful. Like being with a family, it wasn't like a camp at all. Exploring the islands and the beaches on the island of Oahu in the beginning was awesome, but then we started exploring the other island treasures, like the waterfalls, volcano and other sites. It was so exciting and crazy. Being with the little children was so fun. At times it was really work, but when those smiling faces run to you and hug you, then you know it is all worth it. The children are so great. I made a comment that really woke me up the reality of what might be going on in the world around me. I said, "at first I didn't think the children were homeless, by the way they dress, and look. Once they started talking and opening up, I realized they are so poverty stricken and left out of things we take advantage of having." Don't judge a book by the cover, really came to life for me that day. These children were so happy to be with all of us, but they sure were missing out on simple things. I know I made a huge difference in their lives. I know my camp buddies are going back to school prepared and ready to face the world. I swam with dolphins and jumped off the waterfall cliffs, hiked sacred lands and learned what it means to "live aloha". All in one summer!! The best of my life....even my mom wrote a thank you letter to the director! Hope you can take this wonderful opportunity and make a difference in the lives of homeless children while changing your own in the meantime. I wish I could do this again....who knows?
This was a life changing experience for me. I never expected it to be so much fun and so insightful to the poverty that the homeless children live in. I am glad I was able to help these children and have the interaction. It not only changed their lives, but mine. I also got to meet other great teens that share the same goals and compassion as I do to help others. Project Hawai'i was the best summer of my life!!
This was amazing. My mom thought that Spring Break was for college students, and would be unsafe. But this was so fun. Not just working with the homeless children, getting ready for their Easter events, but just being in Hawai'i!! I learned to surf, and swam in the waterfalls. It was so great!! Hawai'i is amazing and this tour is so great! The program director actually created this program, so she really take good care of us as well as the homeless children. In some way it was like being with parents, but cool parents. They are so great to us, but very protective. It is always great when you can get credit for school, community service hours and explore Hawai'i all in one week. Where I am from, it is cold and raining, and Hawai'i is warm and sunny. I saw so much for this wonderful island. When I went away with a different tour for the summer, I didn't do as much as I did in one week here. So, my advise would be not to plan on relaxing over spring break. If you need to rest, do it at school. Well don't tell your mom or teacher, but this is not a relaxing tour. I am glad my airline trip was so long. I slept the whole way home. Oh yeah, and I want to say that this was one of my most favorite experience of all time. I know I am young, but it would be hard to beat this!! I even got a pony, and this was way more exciting than that. LOL!
I don't know why my mom thinks I should be part of the teen group, as I am shy and didn't really want to spend my summer with strangers away from home. She said if I do this then I can upgrade my phone, so shoots. I will tell you how this experience changed my life and why I think it is one of the best ways to spend a summer. First of all there are so many girls, and I am shy but this helped me learn to talk to them and be in a group with girls. At first even going on the tour I thought good, I will get community service hours for my resume at Standford, hang out on the beaches of Hawaii. Yeah right! Well I got the hours, but they weren't the easiest. All day with kids, really all day with the kids. At first I thought just shoot me now. But it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my whole life. I bonded with these two boys who I will never forget. One boy came to camp without shoes on his feet. The coordinator lady ran straight to the store and got him some, along with what ever others needed for camp. These two boys were so funny and just full of life even though they lived in a tent in the middle of the deep jungle. It was amazing what little they had, but how much they loved having me around. I didn't stay for the sleepover camp so I wasn't with them the whole time, only during the day. I wish I had gone for the sleepover camp. okay, I wondered where are the beaches???? Who cares, when we finally went, I missed my camp buddies. When we did some of the tours I only wish I could have taken my buddies along. Don't get me wrong, being on the beaches with hot girls in bikinis is great. actually that was wonderful. The food was the best in the world. don't tell my mom, who knows, she might just take my phone away for saying that. But when the coordinator cooks, she is awesome. all the food was great. We went to the best restaurants and it was crazy tasting all the new foods that Hawaii has to offer. Foods I can't pronounce, but it was so good. What is more wonderful for a teen boy but have a full stomach with good food, pretty girls all around and the opportunity to help homeless children who you adore? On the tour I went there were 5 teen boys and the rest were girls. I mean girls from all over the US, and they are pretty great. At home I never talked to girls but this tour makes you sit next to them in the vans, makes you lay at the pool at the hotel, and surf at the ocean with girls. My mom made me find ways to make money for the trip because it was expensive, but that wasn't too hard. My grandparents and aunts were ready to donate and their friends, and the guys that my dad worked with. After all a shy boy like me, going on a trip to become more outgoing and earn the credit and hours needed to attend Stanford. Who wouldn't help that cause? It also helped that their donation is tax deductible. Even my gym teacher gave me $35.00. I also did a fundraiser at the football team rally at school. Well I didn't, my cheerleader sister did. But let her, she is the SPIRIT of the family and I am the shy one. So, GO!! Have a blast, and learn more than you ever thought possible. Geff P.S. Thanks mom for the new phone!!
WOW!! This was the most exciting program I ever went on. The adventures were so great. Something you didn't think you would experience on a tour made for community service and mentoring. I learned so much from this summer program. Not only how to take care of the little one's at camp, but how to open my own mind to the wonders of a new culture. I worked with the little kids every day and grew more and more in love with them. They are truly a life changing experience. They live homeless and come to camp dirty and sometimes in the same clothes. We change that, put them in nice fresh clothes and teach them life skills. These children love everything we do for them. They are so hungry and skinny when they start camp and at the end they look healthy and some get fat. It is so good to know that I made this difference. I was really involved with all the adventures and cultural lessons. I think what you put in is what you get out of it. So, I recommend going on this tour and take in all the new experiences that you can. It is truly life changing and does make a difference in everyone's life. My mom wasn't going to let me go because it was a far plane ride, but she talked with the director (who is with us all the time) and they worked it out. The director is a mom herself and really cares for us a her own. She is wonderful. So is everyone else, but it is nice to have a mom to care for you on a month long journey. This program is small and needs the support that the teens bring. So, put your best foot forward and change your own life while saving a hungry, homeless child here in America!!
This was the best summer of my life. I thought I was going to help work with homeless children to change their lives and instead it changed mine. I wasn't expecting so much adventure and tours. I figured we would work with the children and then hang out at the hotel, or around town, but no we explored so many different beaches, and awesome places. There are so many good memories from this summer that it is hard to find something that compares. The directors are so warm and inviting. They share their culture and their lives with the teens, but you can see the passion they have for the homeless children they work with all the time. It was amazing! It wasn't like just going somewhere to help out. I made a difference, I was part of the whole solution. Without the teen mentors, this camp is not the same. But without this camp, there is no reason. Hard to explain the reality that makes this so different from anything else. Because of this tour, I was able to attend my favorite college with my best friend! Hard to believe but true. The essay I wrote about my experience changed my life and opened doors. Yes, I would recommend this camp to anyone, not just to help yourself, but to be a part of something really life changing.