Maui News

MEO Youth Make and Donate 250 Tie-Dye Face Masks

February 6, 2021, 10:13 AM HST
* Updated February 6, 10:14 AM
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Maui Economic Opportunity’s youth program participants made nearly 250 tie-dye masks that are being donated to staff at Kula Hospital, Maui Independent Living Center residents and houseless people through The Salvation Army.

Youth spruced up plain white face masks donated to MEO. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity

A total of eight youth participants made 242 tie-dye masks during socially distanced after-school gatherings held on Jan. 12 and 19, 2021, at MEO’s Wailuku office.

About 100 masks will be donated to Kula Hospital for doctors, nurses and other staff on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Other batches went to individuals with disabilities at Maui Independent Living Center and the homeless community through the Salvation Army on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Laelia Correa (from left), Hina Wells and Gianna Armbul-Okuda work on tie-dye face masks at Maui Economic Opportunity offices in Wailuku. They are part of the MEO Youth Services after-school program. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity

The tie-dye-mask idea grew out of participation in the 47th Maui County Senior Fair, which was held virtually in October. The youth participants put together giveaway bags for seniors and one of the items was a plain white mask.

Jacob Hara, MEO youth services program coordinator said the after school participants thought they could spruce up those plain masks, which were donated to MEO.

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“I was able to spend time with my friends while doing a fun activity,” said Gianna Armbul-Okuda. “It feels good because I am able to help my community.”

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Laelia Correa agreed saying, “I was so excited because I rarely get to do tie dye, and it’s really fun. I can have fun while making others happy at the same time.”

Hara said MEO Youth Services is always trying to find new and creative ways to engage with and give back to all parts of the community. “We thought that it would be a good idea to share these masks with vulnerable populations, such as frontline workers and those who are less fortunate.”

The program, which works with intermediate and high school students on Maui, has “achieved a high degree of success through hands-on learning activities that encourage youth to become active participants in their community and that provide them with the skills to become productive citizens,” Hara said.

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He said the nontraditional activities that occur outside the classroom provide students with various ways of grasping larger issues they may face in their life. “These activities give them the skills to make the right decisions and empower them to control their own destinies,” said Hara.

MEO’s after-school programs have been curtailed due to the pandemic. Participants still are gathering, but pandemic rules have reduced the numbers of individuals at events and limited the activities available.

MEO Youth Services provides a development program that focuses on delivering evidence-based prevention curriculum, life-skills education, leadership training, cultural awareness and service-learning activities.

For more information about MEO Youth Services, call 243-4315.

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