Each summer, the mission of the Hawaii VA Games begins anew. Directors, athletes, teams, sponsors, media, promotion, travel, planning, coordination, organization, and preparation – these elements create the palpable excitement surrounding the kickoff of the 2014 Hawaii VA Games.
When it all comes together on September 1st at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena, spectators will witness the beginning of a new era for the Games; the contests will be fiercer, a new milestone will be reached in the amount of funds raised, and the recently developed Hawaii VA Foundation will distribute the money to two exceptional nonprofit organizations that impact the lives of Hawaii’s people.
After careful consideration, the Hawaii VA Foundation is proud to announce the first of two selected nonprofit organizations to receive a grant at the 2014 Hawaii VA Games: Valley of Rainbows.
Since 1999, Valley of Rainbows has implemented programs and provided financial assistance to support the educational, athletic, and cultural pursuits of Wai’anae Coast youth, ages eight to 17.
The Wai’anae Coast is geographically located on the western/Leeward side of the island of Oahu, stretching from the town of Nanakuli to Makaha, and is approximately 30 miles from Honolulu. One of the most active 501.3.C nonprofits in the area, Valley of Rainbows positively affects the lives of over 600 youth per year and relies solely on private contributions, grants, and corporate funds to deliver their efforts to the community.
Through four distinct programs, Valley of Rainbows enacts their mission to “prepare individuals of the Wai’anae Coast to embrace a diverse community, attain their personal goals, and aspire to become contributing citizens.”
1. The Financial Scholarship
The program budgets $1,500 per month to assist youth with “civic minded school events, special conferences, travel experiences, educational workshops, participation in cultural activities, and organized sports.” In turn, the individuals receiving the scholarship must complete six hours of community service.
2. The Annual Leadership Conference
The program extends its reach to Kapolei area youth as well, providing three annual conferences to students in 6th, 8th, and 10th grades. The purpose of the conferences are to instill the importance of higher education, develop leadership skills, prepare for high school, and provide the resources needed for students to achieve their academic and career goals. Since 2005, over 4,300 students, administrators, and guests have participated in the conferences.
3. The Career & College Guidance Program
Utilizing the Kuder system, the program provides free online educational and career planning services to students. See more: http://www.hi.kuder.com/
4. Global Youth Service Day
In partnership with Youth Service America, the program involves over 300 youth and community members who lead the initiatives. This year’s objectives were the Safe Teen Driving Campaign and the Care2Pair Slipper Drive. Over 1,000 community members participated in partnership with the Honolulu Police Department, Kapolei Station.
How will the funds raised by the Hawaii VA Foundation be utilized by Valley of Rainbows? President and CEO, Denice Keliikoa wants you to know:
“These funds will help the youth we work with on the Leeward Coast of Oahu in so many ways. A portion of the proceeds will be used for our monthly scholarship awards. We will also coordinate three youth leadership conferences where over 400 youth, grades 6-12, from 11 schools on the Leeward Coast will participate.”
How did Valley of Rainbows react upon hearing the news of their selection to receive one of the two grants at the 2014 Hawaii VA Games?
“What an exciting call, I was speechless! We are elated and humbled in being chosen as one of the two agencies to receive these generous funds from Hawaii VA Foundation and Games. How exciting and heartwarming to know there are others in our community who value giving to others and sharing their resources. We’re absolutely thrilled!” says Keliikoa.
The Hawaii VA Foundation has raised over $35,000 and is excited to present the Valley of Rainbows Board of Directors with one of the two grants totaling over $14,000 at the conclusion of the 2014 Hawaii VA Games. Over the course of the next year, the Hawaii VA Foundation will follow the use of Valley of Rainbows awarded funds (as well as our second grant recipient’s progress), and allow the public to decide which beneficiary will receive the remaining $7,000 toward their programs.
For tickets to attend the Games, visit Ticketmaster.com or visit the Blaisdell Center box office. To stay updated on Valley of Rainbows and the work they do, visit their website or contact them below:
Valley of Rainbows
PO Box 1009
Wai`anae, HI 96792