Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Giving Back and Removing Pimples

If you've lived on Maui for any length of time, the name Darby Gill should be somewhat familiar to you. If you don't know the name, and you drive in the Kahului area in the afternoons, you are sure to have spotted him jogging while he juggles balls up & down Kaahumanu Avenue. Formerly the director of a rehabilitation program know as Ka Lima O Maui, Darby has, for many years, been a tireless and selfless individual working with disabled and less fortunate members of our island community. 

For the past few years, Darby has been the director of a program which he founded to provide services to the neediest of Maui's children. A Keiki's Dream is a program providing that grants child-directed "dream days" to these ids in crisis, reminding them that they are, indeed, special, loved and have the ability and the right to dream. The program is currently exclusive to Maui and partners with individuals and businesses around the island to make special days for these children happen.

One of these dreams often requested by many of the young girls in the program is to have a "model photo session". This is where I come in... as part of the child's dream day, they are taken shopping for brand new clothes (what little girl doesn't LOVE that?), taken to a salon for a new coif and make-up and then they arrive here at my studio for a photo-session. At the end of each session, I sit down with each child and we look at all of the pictures taken at the computer, make them a disk of all of the best images from the shoot and send them home with a beautiful 17x22 Giclee' Print of their favorite picture.

I've been involved in 5 or 6 of these dream days over the past two years and have to say that I feel far more rewarded at the end of each session than the child could ever be. To see the eyes light up and a smile break out on the face of a child trapped in a web of family violence or other disfunction, homelessness, etc. really makes my day. And, to me, it's a gift that keeps on giving when a few days later a thank you note like the ones posted above from both Darby and the child arrives in my morning mail.

Great job, Darby. If you'd like to help, donate goods or services suitable for fullfilling the dreams of children, would like to volunteer, donate funds, refer a child, etc. I urge to contact Darby and get involved, particularly these days when many of our island families and children are suffering from the economic stress. To lend a hand and warm your own heart, give Darby a call at 808.242.8467 or go to their website here.

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