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MEO Youth Services offer messages of hope at sign waving

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Kapua Dukelow (left) and Kassen Yamashita, members of MEO Youth Services after-school program, wave signs fronting Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center on Thursday afternoon.

About 15 Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services high and middle schoolers waved signs with messages of hope, “You Are Not Alone” and “Lahaina Strong” on Thursday fronting the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center.

The annual Youth Services sign-waving was held during Suicide Prevention Week this week. But with the recent wildfires, the Youth Services team decided to remove the word “suicide” from signs and focus on available help, specifically the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline, mental health and “Lahaina Strong.”

Kimokeo Pua‘a Ortiz (from left with shaka), Lanakila Manlapao and Kaikea Barona were among 15 MEO Youth Services after-school youth participating in a sign-waving Thursday.
Kendrah Medeiros- Kiyonaga offered messages of help and hope.

Coincidentally, Manafacture was commissioned to put up a “Lahaina Strong” sign.


The sign was created as a paid partnership between the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center and Manafacture, owners of the Nā Koa Brand which also has a store at the mall. The business designed and created the sign, and Artisan Events Maui installed the work. 

Crews were putting up the red sign as Youth Services youth waved their signs, said Shanna Kanahele, wife of store owner, Daimus. 

Na Koa Brand, a clothing store in the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, was commissioned to put up a “Lahaina Strong” sign. Contractor Artisan Events Maui was working on the sign as Youth Services youth waved their signs Thursday fronting the center.

The sign was set up in advance of Friday night’s benefit concert Kamaʻāina Nights Kōkua Edition at the center from 4 to 8 p.m. It will be changed to “Maui Strong,” Shanna said.


After the sign-waving, Youth Services walked the center distributing 988 stickers.

Youth Services runs in-school and after-school programs on Maui and Moloka‘i that focus on alcohol, smoking and vaping, drug, bullying and suicide prevention.  For more information, call 808-243-4315 on Maui and 808-774-8040 on Moloka‘i.

Kendrah Medeiros- Kiyonaga (from left) and Arrianna Shirota, wearing her MEO shirt, joined sign waving by MEO Youth Services as cars passed by, some honking their horns in support.

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