Aloha Initiative: Maui Launches Host Program for Displaced Japan Families
By Wendy Osher
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is helping in the launch of a initiative to host displaced families from Japan.
The Aloha Initiative is looking for people within the community that are willing to open their hearts and the homes to some of the estimated 450,000 people who were displaced following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month.
The project was founded in part by Maui Managing Director Keith Regan, and Maui attorney Lynn Araki-Regan.
Project organizers say the hope is for all of the displaced to find placement in Japan where there are local support groups and government assistance. The Aloha Initiative is aimed at providing additional help from those who are willing to host families here in Hawaii.
The organized home-stay program would provide respite to families from Japan for predetermined periods of time.
“Our goal is to provide survivors with an opportunity to get away and recharge themselves both physically and mentally,” said Mayor Arakawa in a letter posted on the Aloha Initiative website.
“While monetary support is critical, we must also consider the importance of mental support for the survivors,” said mayor Arakawa. For that reason, the Mayor and his family are helping to support the initiative, and at the same time, spread the spirit of Aloha to the survivors in Japan.