Building a bridge to better connect Hawaii's youth and senior citizens
Hawaii is home to a large population of kupuna, many of whom are isolated and lonely. Recent studies show a growing trend of depression in senior citizens who may not have close family or a support system in place. The Lokahi Project was created in order to raise awareness about the increasing number of senior citizens suffering from depression in the community, to help build friendships among senior citizens, and encourage Hawaii’s Youth to give back to their elders.
The Lokahi Project is a student-led project from McKinley High School and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders’ Ambassadors program. By building relationships between students and senior citizens, the project hopes to bridge the gaps not only among seniors themselves, but between generations, thus reducing their loneliness and empowering senior citizens to be more social.
Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders and McKinley High School first partnered together for the Lokahi Project in 2013, and every year it’s grown considerably. This year, the project takes the form of a “Senior Prom” for Hawaii’s kupuna! There will be lunch, games, and live entertainment, as well as many opportunities to form new relationships and build connections with other seniors and student volunteers.
The Senior Prom takes place on Friday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UH Manoa Campus Center Ballroom. While it’s free for attendees 65 years and older, the general admission fee for anyone under 65 is $10. This year’s theme is Hōkūleʻa, which reflects the hope that the bond between our kupuna and youth will have the same strength as the bond that connects Hawaii to the rest of the world.
If you’re interested in joining the festivities or know a kupuna who would be interested in participating, please RSVP by May 31, 2019! Just email TheLokahiProject@gmail.com or call (808) 783-3667.