Maui Fires Relief Fund Supports West Maui School

Submitted by Joanne Laird, Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset

Kamehameha III School Positive School Environment

On February 24, 2024, a workshop was held in West Maui to address the recovery efforts from the devastating Maui Wildfires. Organized by the three Rotary clubs in West Maui – Lahaina Sunrise, Lahaina, and Lahaina Sunset – the workshop gathered community leaders and residents to participate in collaborative discussions. Attendees were asked to select two out of eleven focus areas and work together in small groups to identify and prioritize mid-term (6-12 months) and long-term (12-24 months) projects eligible for funding from the Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation’s Maui Wildfires Relief Fund. Three educators from Kamehameha III School were in attendance and successfully secured funding for their Positive School Environment project. This initiative aimed to create a warm and supportive atmosphere for students and faculty in their new temporary school location. The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset submitted a proposal and $7450 was awarded for this project.

With 17 teachers transitioning to new classroom spaces, each educator had the opportunity to submit wish lists for items that would enhance the learning environment for their students. Leftover funds were earmarked for incoming teachers at the start of the next school year. Additionally, funds were allocated to provide morning snacks for the 350 students, as there were no provisions for this by the federal government. The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset purchased and delivered individually wrapped snacks to the school until the end of the academic year, with plans to continue the program into Fall 2024.

Recognizing the importance of a supportive staff environment, the staff lounge at the temporary school received upgrades to create a more inviting space for the 35 employees. Items such as a microwave oven, coffee makers, comfortable seating, and kitchen supplies were purchased. The Rotary Club of White Salmon-Bingen contributed to the enhancements by providing a refrigerator/freezer and cabinets for the staff lounge.

To quote teacher Stephanie Nunez:  ” Teaching at the temporary campus of King Kamehameha III Elementary School has been a challenge. A friendly teacher lounge has allowed the staff to have a comfortable place to eat lunch and spend time with each other. Thank you so much for providing this nurturing environment.”

The funding support for these projects highlights the spirit of unity among Rotarians as they join forces to assist the Lahaina community in their recovery efforts.


#1:  At the check presentation for the Rotary sponsored Positive School Environment initiative were (L-R):  District Governor Mark Merriam, Rotary International President Ian McInally, Teachers Kathleen Royer and Abby Markulis and Assistant Governor Al Weiland.

#2:  Newly outfitted Staff Lounge

#3:  First delivery of snacks for students


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