By Wendy Osher
Maui County kicked off a campaign yesterday to raise one ton of new and used books for sister cities in Ilocos Norte.
The mission called “Operation: Pass the Dream Forward” was born out of a recent visit to the region in which county officials had discussed ways to make the sister city relationships more meaningful.
Various mayors shared thoughts on the shortage of books written in English, and the benefit the books would provide in enhancing the education of children in the region.
“There is such a strong desire for the people of Ilocos Norte to learn the English language,” said Maui Managing Director Keith Regan, who traveled to the Philippines with a Maui delegation in February.
Others on the trip included Maui Council Chair Danny Mateo; Council Members Gladys Baisa, Elle Cochran and Don Couch; and Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Zalsos.
The group traveled to the region to formalize Maui County’s sister city agreement with the town of Badoc.
“Having a shortage of books written in English therefore makes learning challenging,” said Regan, who collaborated with Mayor Alan Arakawa to organize the book drive.
“We thought that a book drive would be a perfect gift to our sister cities (Badoc, Bacarra, San Nicolas, and Sarrat) of Ilocos Norte as books provide a lifelong gift of literacy to children,” said Mayor Arakawa in a statement. “At the same time, such a project would be a great opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the importance of sharing with others,” he said.
“Sharing used books with our sister cities is a great way to teach children about charitable giving,” added Regan.
The book drive is accepting new and used books for children and adults at participating locations, including the mayor’s office and the lobby of the Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku.
Other drop off locations include: the Department of Environmental Management Administrative Office in Suite 100 of One Main Plaza; Araki-Regan & Associates; Bistro Manila Maui; Four Sisters Bakery; Four Sisters Restaurant; KPMW; and Noble Travel.
***Supporting information and photos courtesy County of Maui.