On December 11, 2018, the King Kekaulike High School Key Club donated a variety of infant-related supplies to Maui nonprofit Malama Family Recovery Center’s BabySAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) Program. Malama provides caring, holistic substance abuse treatment to women and children so families can live safe, independent and healthy lives. It is the only women-specific addiction treatment center on Maui and the only place on the island where babies and young children can live with their mothers while they get help.
The project was part of Kiwanis International’s Youth Opportunities Fund grant, which helps Key Clubs and Key Club members serve the world by providing grants for service opportunities and scholarships for members. “One of Key Club’s major emphasis is ‘Children: Their future, our focus,’” said Cindy Asato-Kochi, King Kekaulike Special Education Coordinator and Key Club Faculty Advisor. “So when we heard about the BabySAFE program, we saw a direct alignment to what we do and wanted to support those right here in our Maui community.”
Items donated included 660 diapers, more than 2,000 baby wipes and 15 new diaper bags containing diaper rash cream, 3 board books and a fleece blanket. Students also wrote and attached notes of encouragement to the diaper bags with messages such as “Never give up!,” “Keep up the good work,” “Children are miracles, so you’re really lucky to be here growing your own miracle! Congrats on your newborn and good luck!,” and “Happy Holidays with your newborn!.”
“We are deeply grateful to the King Kekaulike Key Club for supporting the moms and babies at Malama,” said Dr. Lisa Ponichtera, Malama Clinical Director. “We aim to eliminate the most common barriers to treatment and long-term recovery that women face, and one of those barriers is extreme poverty. It is understandably difficult for mothers at Malama to function on a basic level and start participating in treatment when they are worried about providing the most basic necessities for their newborns. Because of this donation, our clients can really begin the healing process and focus on being strong parents.”