Kids for A Cause


Taylor Ann Ono, School Editor

    In 2008, Senior Nicki Lee, who was in the third grade at the time, founded Kidz For A Cause (KFAC), an organization of students that host various fundraisers to raise money for kids in need. In 2008 they raised a total of $1,100, and continued their organization, raising a total of almost $500,000 up to the year of 2016. This year, KFAC is raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities by hosting events such as canoe paddling and garage sales.

    “It excites me to motivate kids to find their passion in giving back. Knowing that that has impacted my own life in such incredible ways, I love that I’m able to share that with others in my generation and younger through Kidz For A Cause. Seeing the organization grow so exponentially has also been rewarding because I truly believe it proves the power of kids when we’re inspired,” said Lee.

    KFAC’s Board of Directors consist of 22 high school students, including MHS Seniors Hunter Gentry, Meagan Funasaki, Mitchell Funasaki and Sophomore Asher Pilanca, while the Junior Board of Directors consists of 23 elementary school members. The Board of Directors are responsible for hosting individual fundraisers that will contribute to their eventual donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. “I like supporting other families and raising money, it’s just something that I enjoy. I enjoy going to the meetings and talking with people when it comes to a new event. It’s something like, ‘Wow I’m ready, I’m excited, I don’t want it to be over.’ I want to continue, and it’s kind of sad for me to be a senior and not do it again,” said Board Member Senior Hunter Gentry.

    The fundraisers that the Board Members host vary in activity, but any sort of donation is helpful and appreciated. “Even a little bit of money that we fundraise might make a big difference because just like twenty five dollars can buy a kid a birthday gift and a cake to celebrate. Just the little bit of money we fundraise makes a big difference to them in the long run,” said Board Member Senior Meagan Funasaki.

    Being a part of this organization has changed many children’s lives, along with the lives of the Board and Junior Board Members. “If you raise something you feel very great, like you’ve done something right. That from the bottom of my heart feels like, you know you feel it, it’s something you can’t say, it’s just that good feeling in you,” said Gentry. “It’s a personal and very fun thing. I say personal because I was born with a ten percent chance of living and the Ronald McDonald’s House was there for my family. They didn’t have the machines to help me out, so they flew me to LA children’s hospital on a medical plane. The Ronald McDonald’s House was there to help my family and stay with me. So it’s for me to give back and show appreciation.”

    Although the purpose of the program is to benefit others, the people who participate in KFAC gain a lot too. “My favorite part of Kidz For A Cause is mentoring the younger kids in the organization. I work closely with the Junior Board of Directors who are in elementary to middle school. By trying to teach them philanthropic, leadership and communication skills, I feel as if I’m ensuring the sustainability of this kid movement as they will in turn mentor younger kids in a few years,” said Lee.

    The organization has been such a success that this year, they’ve expanded outside of Hawaii to Orange County, California. “The expansion has been so exciting and rewarding so far. I never expected Kidz For A Cause would grow to be this big when I was first starting the organization in the third grade. It’s still hard to believe. I’ve met some outstanding California kids who are leading the charge over there, and I know that with time, Kidz For A Cause will only flourish further in the mainland,” said Lee. “I’m thrilled to be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. They were our first beneficiary and what inspired me to continue philanthropy, so the RMHC is definitely close to my heart. They provide a home away from home for families of critically ill children so that the families can stay near their children during a trying time.”

    One of the fundraisers that KFAC hosted this year was Paddle For A Cause, organized by Gentry. This canoe paddling event was held at Sunset Beach on Oct. 1. It raised over $3,000 in donations. “I like the paddle, and being able to do a paddling event is something that I just love,” said Gentry. “It was pretty successful, we had less than half people actually paddle but it was something, and I was happy.”

    One of the most recent events was a garage sale on Dec. 2 at the MHS parking lot. “The garage sale wasn’t as a success as I wanted it to be because the weather wasn’t good. But it was still fun. Hopefully the next one is better,” which said Funasaki.

    KFAC plans on hosting more events, including another paddling fundraiser in January 2018.