Categorized | Featured, Volunteering

Forest City Hawaii donates supplies to Kealakehe Elementary

(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

Forest City Hawaii is no stranger to rolling up its corporate sleeves and getting busy with community based projects. Founded on the corporate values of its parent company, Forest City, community involvement is a core value and an integral part of the way Forest City Hawaii does business.

Take for example Forest City Hawaii Development Manager Race Randle. With community involvement ingrained in his values, Randle looked for opportunities of service that would benefit the children of West Hawaii.

Logging on to, Randle searched the school site for a local West Hawaii school wish list and discovered the school supply wish list from Kealakehe Elementary School.

The state Department of Education launched its Volunteers and Partners program as a pilot program in 2006. The initiative is an avenue to assist teachers with wish list and classroom supply shortfalls.

Kealakehe Elementary School principal Nancy Matsukawa and Race Randle of Forest City Hawaii. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Kealakehe Elementary School Principal Nancy Matsukawa saw the partnership opportunity and assigned Joy Agard from the Parent-Community Networking Centers (PCNC) office to canvas their teachers. From those needs, Agard composed a teacher wish list and uploaded it to the website.

“The Help Hawaii Schools website started as a pilot project involving four schools. This past school year was the first year that all Hawaii schools were listed on the website and we currently have more than 3,500 volunteers and donors registered in the system,” said Judy Nagasako, DOE Educational Specialist.

“Our goal is to increase and sustain volunteer and donor resources that support student learning and to develop the capacity of schools to effectively recruit, manage, coordinate, recognize, and retain volunteers and donors,” she said.

Randle reviewed the list of Kealakehe teacher wish list and quickly took action to fulfill those needs.

“Forest City Hawaii will be developing Kamakana Villages at Keahuolu, an environmentally sensitive, sustainable community centered around new, affordable homes for Kona’s working families. It’s good for us to grow our community giving here,” Randle said. “We are looking forward to being a part of the Kona community and helping our schools is the right thing to do.”

What does the Kealakehe Elementary School wish list look like?

Mr. Flo, 5th grade math teacher, asked for and received as a donation from Forest City Hawaii math flash cards and 30 small dry erase boards for his students to use during lessons.

Miss Reynolds, a 1st grade teacher, asked for and received children’s scissors, reward stickers and Play-Doh.

Several teachers asked for and received dry erase markers and erasers.

Mrs. Lusk’s 4th grade students will be happy with their new upper and lower case alphabet stamps, ink pads and Play-Doh.

In total, Forest City Hawaii donated more than $500 worth of classroom supplies for Kealakehe Elementary School – and just in time for the next school year.

“In the true spirit of laulima (working together) Forest City Hawaii encourages other businesses to get involved and help fill the gap of teacher and classroom needs. We will bring not only jobs to the community through the development of Kamakana Villages, but new schools and the support of nearby social programs and health care,'” said Forest City Hawaii President Jon Wallenstrom. “It’s a new approach. It’s the right approach.”

Forest City Hawaii in partnership with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation Kamakana Villages at Keahuolu will be a new part of the developing North Kona community.

The community is envisioned to be a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that includes a town center with shopping and dining, two new schools, more than 28 acres of parks including two large parks with ball fields and play structures, open spaces and 9-acres of preserved Native Hawaiian archaeological sites.

Kamakana Villages will be a cutting-edge, sustainable, energy-efficient community with homes and commercial structures designed to LEED criteria and incorporating renewable energy, solar hot water and water conservation strategies in its design.

The first phase is planned to begin delivery of completed homes in 2013. The total build out of Kamakana Villages is phased over two decades, with more than 50 percent of all homes built in Kamakana Villages priced at County affordable levels.

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