Kupuna Achiever: Dr. Teruo Kawata focuses on giving back to the community

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Today’s Kupuna Achiever is Dr. Teruo Kawata, a volunteer with the Sunrise Foundation. The local spiritual organization seeks and promotes wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. In 2018, Dr. Kawata was the recipient of their Puaka’ana o ka la (“Rise Up!”) Award in recognition of his longstanding and significant contributions toward wellness of the mind, body, and spirit to the people of Hawaii.

About Dr. Teruo Kawata
Dr. Kawata was born in Delano, California. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Chicago in Liberal Arts, then received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Ottawa in Kansas where he studied history and then went on to receive a degree in Divinity from University of Chicago. He moved to Hawaii in 1954 and has gone on missions to the Philippines, Micronesia and the U.S. mainland. He served as the Conference Minister for UCC and a General Secretary for 10 years before retiring in 1990, then served as an interim minister at a few churches.

Dr. Kawata tells HI Now that seeing the good that people around him are doing through volunteer work continues to inspire him, pushing him to do more. He says wellness events put on by the Sunrise Foundation leave a positive impact on attendees because of how informative they are, and that it is important to continue to learn and grow and for people to come together and share their perspective and experiences. Through this, he says creativity can flow, which then helps others explore who they are and what they want in life. He explains that when people do and create, it gives them a sense of satisfaction, joy and fulfillment.

Dr. Kawata believes that by giving back, people can find their place on this earth and are able to gain a better sense of what they’re here for, something everyone asks themselves at some point in life. He says giving back, helping others, and being open to others will make people more accepting, tolerant and creative.

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