Maui Mayor Tavares Honored for establishing 20 year old PALS program

July 30, 2010, 5:07 PM HST · Updated July 31, 8:48 AM
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On its 20th anniversary celebration, the County of Maui’s PALS program honored Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares for her role in establishing the program.

“Mayor Tavares deserves a lot of credit for not only seeing the need that parents had 20 years ago, but actually creating this program to help parents,” said Karen “Aunty Ti” Deguilmo, PALS supervisor and Parks Recreation Leader.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares gets a hug from PALS participant Jordynn Brown, 7, who gave the Mayor a lei to celebrate the 20th anniversary of PALS.

PALS participant Michael Fuentes, a 7-yr.-old Waihee School student, sits in a canoe for the very first time as PALS staff member Kamaile Segundo shows him how to hold a paddle; staff member Vilivaka Pinedo-Vehikite steadies the boat.

The PALS program was designed to assist parents who needed extended hours of child care to accommodate their work schedule, by providing qualified, trained staff to ensure a safe, fun environment that promoted learning along with play. The program served a total of 1,500 children this summer on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, under the supervision of 260 staff members and junior aides.

“Because of Mayor Tavares, tens of thousands of keiki have been served by PALS, and thousands of working parents have been helped,” said Deguilmo.

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“This whole thing started because I met a single mom in the grocery store one night, and she shared with me how hard it was to work and take care of her child,” Mayor Tavares explained. “I realized that a lot of other working parents were facing similar challenges, and decided to create a program that the County could offer at a reasonable cost. It has been gratifying to see how successful PALS has been, and how many families have benefited from it,” said Tavares.

The Parks and Recreation celebration last week, included a proclamation in observance of Parks and Recreation Month, a gift presentation by Jason Lopez, Vice Chair of Hawaii Recreation and Parks Association’s Maui Branch, and testimonials highlighting the success of the PALS program.

For more information on the PALS program, visit www.mauicounty.gov/recreation or call (808) 270-7403.

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