Hawaii Literacy Student is a Proud Graduate (KHON2, 06/01/14)

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Congratulations to Richard Johnson for graduating from  Leeward Community College with a high school diploma! Richard spent the last seven years working towards his life-long dream of earning a diploma with help from wonderful tutors.

Central Pacific Bank Helps Its Employees Give More to Local Non-Profits, including Hawaii Literacy (Midweek, 4/23/14)

“Central Pacific Bank (CPB) donated $3,000 to local nonprofits [including Hawaii Literacy] on behalf of employees Lee Moriwaki, Larissa Johnson, and Roberta Rivera. The donation was part of a yearlong employee rewards program that tracked the community service efforts of CPB employees. The employees who participated in the most community service projects were awarded money to donate to the nonprofit organization of their choice. ”


National Bookmobile Day (April 16th, 2014) celebrates all of the nation’s Bookmobiles along with the hard-working staff members and volunteers who dedicate their time to bring this service to their communities every day.

Pua’ena Burgess and Scott Simon were featured on KHON 2 Wake Up 2day. This celebration is a chance for all of us to thank those involved with our very own Bookmobile and is definitely a chance to get involved.

Here’s how YOU can help:

  • Make a donation to the Bookmobile
  • Volunteer weekly at one or more sites
  • Hold a yard or book sale and donate proceeds
  • Donate copy paper, gas cards, school supplies, or other items from our wish list
  • Thank our donors for supporting the Bookmobile
  • Be sure someone is reading to every child you care about

We would like to say mahalo to all of our generous sponsors.
Thank you for helping us bring books and a love of reading and learning to the Waianae Coast!

Pizza Hut Literacy Fund & Pizza Hut Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Friends of Hawai’i Charities, The Campbell Family Foundation & The Harry & Nee Chang Wong Foundation.


Hawaii Literacy was chosen as one of four $5,000 award recipients at the Junior League of Honolulu 90th Anniversary Celebration on April 12, 2014. The $5,000 award granted to Hawaii Literacy will help to fill a crucial need for funding and support for the Family Literacy Summer  Program, providing much needed library, literacy, and educational activities for children living in Kuhio Park and Mayor Wright Homes.

Each year, Hawaii Literacy works to grow a Summer Reading Program that encourages children to read at least eight level-appropriate books while out of school. Our staff is there to support and assist them in reading books that challenge them and help to inspire a love of reading. The Family Libraries are also there to help families transition back into the school year, providing school supplies, registration information, information fairs, referrals, and support for both parents and children in order to increase the chances of a successful new school year.

The Junior League of Honolulu’s past partnerships with Hawaii Literacy have greatly impacted our programs, from the start of our weekly Saturday Story Hours to the amazing renovation of the Mayor Wright Family Library space. We are grateful for their support!


Each year, Hawaii Business selects 20 emerging leaders who have made big contributions to Hawaii and are expected to make an even bigger impact within the next 20 years.

Fujita is the VP of Consumer Sales & Product Marketing at Hawaiian Telecom, overseeing the residential and business call center for sales and service, the door-to-door sales team, bulk agreements for residential buildings, and pay phones.

Congratulations to Board Member Jason Fujita for being recognized for his achievements!


The Hawai‘i Leadership Forum today announced the second cohort of Omidyar Fellows, which includes 15 individuals from across the state who will participate in the program. The Omidyar Fellows, which welcomed its inaugural cohort in September 2012, is based on global best practices in leadership development and seeks to cultivate a community of emerging executives who will collectively bring positive change to the state of Hawai‘i.

“Since introducing our inaugural cohort of Omidyar Fellows last year, we have seen this program build stronger leaders, foster more effective organizations, and plant the seeds for long-lasting cross-sector relationships,” said Kalei Stern, director of the Omidyar Fellows. “We look forward to expanding the Omidyar Fellows program with this new set of exceptional leaders who will continue to transform Hawai‘i for the better.”


“My boss gave me the number for Hawaii Literacy, but I was ashamed to ask for help,” explains Alohilani, a mother of two from Honolulu. “I chose to get help, especially for my kids. It was hard not being able to read and write.”

Alohilani is not alone. More than 155,000 adults in Hawaii struggle to read and write – to read a story to their keiki, fill out job applications or send an email. Hawaii Literacy works to change this by providing free one-to-one tutoring with trained volunteers for adults and parents wishing to improve their reading. Hawaii Literacy also operates a Bookmobile and family literacy programs in public housing and homeless shelters that reach more than 2,200 keiki.


The members of the 2011 Class of Forty Under 40, a group of young business and community leaders honored each year by Pacific Business News, selected Hawaii Literacy as beneficiary of their first ever Class community service project. Members of the Forty Under 40 Class and Aloha Air Cargo (www.alohaaircargo.com) committed to raise funds for and custom build new bookcases and shelving for the Family Library at Kuhio Park. Hawaii Literacy’s Family Library had moved to a new space in one of Kuhio Park’s Towers last fall, and the old donated bookshelves did not work well in the new space.

“We wanted to do something to support the community that would make a concrete difference for local keiki in need,” explained Johnny Hobayan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Aloha Air Cargo and one of the members of the Forty Under 40 class. “When we saw all that the Family Library was doing with limited space, we saw a chance to really help this program. With custom bookcases that fit the library space, the children can have a beautiful and exciting learning environment with a wider selection of books.”  

Board Site Visit (04/06/13)

On April 6th, new and current members of the Board of Directors were invited to tour all the programs and sites served by Hawaii Literacy’s programs, to have the chance to talk with those learning to read and write and see first hand what happens each day in our programs.

Board members new 2013 Board members Brandon Kurisu and Jason Fujita joined current members Rachel del Rosario and James Wong for a tour of English Language Learners program and Drop-In Center, the Kuhio Park Family Library, and enjoyed a special visit from the Bookmobile for the keiki at Kuhio Park. As Board member Jason Fujita said, “Seeing the programs really helps you understand what the needs are and why we volunteer on the Board.” “The kids have so many needs and are eager for everything the Library had to offer– books, knowledge, attention. It just made me want to do more to help.” added Brandon Kurisu.


A Farewell and Mahalo to Heidi Byrne (02/12)

A farewell party for Heidi Byrne and a celebration of her 25 years leading the Adult Literacy Program was held on Thursday, February 28th, at the Gallery at Arts at Marks Garage.

Heidi retired and the farewell party was held to celebrate her great work and impact over 25 years, and recognize and reconnect with past and present Board members, volunteers, tutors, students and staff  who, together, have helped thousands of adults in need to learn to read and write.


Hawaii Literacy has been selected to receive a generous grant from the Pizza Hut Literacy Fund, which seeks to increase literacy for Hawaii’s keiki ages birth to eight. This funding will support the popular Bookmobile program, which brings thousands of books and educational activities youth and families in need. Each week, the Bookmobile visits twelve sites on the Wai`anae Coast including housing developments, family homeless shelters, and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Suzanne Skjold, Executive Director of Hawaii Literacy, expresses her heartfelt appreciation for the amazing support Pizza Hut provides for increasing literacy in Hawaii. “With this generous grant, we will be able to increase the number of youth served each week, and provide additional fun and educational activities and homework help, because we will be able to provide more individual attention and skill building activities. None of this would be possible without the Pizza Hut Literacy fund and the Campbell Family Foundation’s support that keeps the Bookmobile out in the community,” said Skjold. Last year, this program served over 1,100 keiki and their parents, providing over 6,400 books to children to take home. The Bookmobile also provides storytelling and homework assistance, which are popular and in high demand from visiting children and their parents.

The Bookmobile is always seeking dedicated high school students or adults to volunteer for 2 hours a week at one site, and help with story telling, homework help, and book check out. Volunteers should be able to commit for at least 12 weeks.

Hawaii Literacy Seeks Volunteers (12/15/11)

Dennis and Claudia Dresser of Hawaii Literacy in Kauai were featured in The Garden Island. Dennis and Claudia train and match volunteer literacy tutors with adult students. Along with a team of tutors, they meet students one-on-one twice a week to conduct free tutoring sessions that are designed to meet students’ personal goals. Currently, the Kaua‘i branch is looking for English and bilingual speaking volunteer tutors to support students who speak little to no English. Tutors who speak Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Ileana and Tagalog are especially needed.

Hawaii Literacy listed as one of 6 great small non-profits, (11/01/11)

Hawaii Business highlights Hawaii Literacy’s “Assets-based approach” toward helping children recognize their strengths and take control over their own literacy education. Suzanne Skjold, executive director, uses the organization’s youth program as an example. Hawaii Literacy lets the children choose projects and how to implement them. Because the organization doesn’t emphasize their weaknesses, their strengths shine through. Older kids help younger ones. All take ownership in the program.

Hawaii Literacy congratulates Scott Simon! (6/17/10)

Hawaii Literacy congratulates Scott Simon, President of our Board of Directors, on being selected in the 2010 FORTY UNDER 40 class. FORTY UNDER 40 is the annual recognition from Pacific Business News of the top emerging business leaders in Hawai`i. Scott is Assistant General Counsel for Hawaiian Telcom, a company well known for their great community involvement, and has served on the board of Hawaii Literacy since 2005. Scott’s deep dedication to community and family and the many generous ways he gives back were recognized in this well-deserved award. Scott joins Daniel Ho as the second member of our Board to be selected as a FORTY UNDER 40 finalist in the past two years

Hawaii Literacy congratulates Daniel Ho! (07/14/09)

Hawaii Literacy congratulates Daniel Ho, Treasurer and member of our Board of Directors, on his selection as to the 2009 Class of FORTY UNDER 40! FORTY UNDER 40 is the annual recognition from Pacific Business News of the top emerging business leaders in Hawai`i. Daniel is president of Hawaii Self-Storage, the largest locally owned self-storage chain in Hawaii, and has served on the board of Hawaii Literacy since 2006. All who serve on the Board of Directors with Daniel, both past and present, admire his dedication and active service to the community, and the generosity of Hawaii Self-Storage to local literacy, education, and youth athletic organizations. This recognition is well deserved for Daniel, for the great business and community service contributions he and Hawaii Self-Storage make to the islands.

Hawaii Literacy Receives Local Grants to Support Bookmobile (07/02/09)

Hawaii Literacy’s popular Bookmobile was selected as a recipient of the Weinberg Foundation’s “Christmas in July” project, which focuses on serving Hawai`i’s poor and needy and was also recently been awarded generous support from the Pizza Hut Literacy Fund, Kahuku Community Fund, and Aloha Petroleum. Last year, over 1,000 children and families along the Wai`anae and Ko`olauloa coasts visited the Bookmobile, also known as the “Classroom on Wheels,” which provides a free book borrowing service, on-site and take home literacy activities, and referrals for adults seeking to improve their literacy skills.

“The Bookmobile is very popular with the youth in the communities it serves”, said Suzanne Skjold, Hawaii Literacy’s Executive Director. “This support means that Hawaii Literacy will be able to offer free book lending and reading and educational activities each week at locations like the Nanakuli and Waianae Boys and Girls Clubs, Kauiokalani Public Housing Project, and Ha’ula Headstart. We are grateful for this support from major foundations like the Weinberg Foundation and Hawai’i Community Foundation as well as corporate partners like Aloha Petroleum, and so many others in the community.” Approximately 1 in 4 adults in some communities in rural O’ahu do not have adequate literacy skills, and many families do not have easy access to libraries or other educational services, so the Bookmobile travels to them. The Bookmobile is open to all, and parents are encouraged to visit with their children, and pick up books and ideas for helping their children develop a love of reading and success in school.

Hawaii Literacy Receives Grants to Support Adult Literacy and Family Literacy Programs (6/16/09)

Two Hawaii Literacy programs, Adult Literacy and Family Literacy, have received grants from the Atherton Family Foundation and the City and County of Honolulu.

The generous support provided by the Atherton Family Foundation will allow the Adult Literacy Program to expand its services to reach more of the approximately 150,000 adults in Hawai’i who lack basic literacy skills, including nearly 115, 000 on O’ahu. Hawaii Literacy’s Adult Literacy Program trains and supports volunteers to provide one-on-one no cost tutoring in reading and writing for any interested adult who needs help on O’ahu and Kaua’i.

Hawaii Literacy would like to thank the Mayor and the City and County of Honolulu for awarding Hawaii Literacy Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. This federal funding will be used to support the Family Literacy Libraries in Kuhio Park Terrace and Mayor Wright Housing. These libraries offer children, teens, and adult residents a safe place to access and borrow books, use computers, receive homework help, and engage in activities that promote health and well-being.