U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono visits Easter Seals Hawaii

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Senator Mazie Hirono immediately connected with adult participants at Easter Seals Hawaii’s Napuakea location.

“I continue to be impressed by the wide range of programs Easter Seals Hawaii provides to help meet the unique needs of our island communities. I strongly support ESH’s mission to create diverse classes, organize activities and provide opportunities for keiki and adults who benefit from these specialized services and programs,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono after her visit to the Easter Seals Hawaii (ESH) Napuakea location in Kapolei on Monday, July1st. “It was wonderful meeting with participants and seeing what they do and learn each and every day.” The tour was to observe the various functions of the organization and focus on the services and programs provided for children and adults with disabilities or special needs (participants).

ESH President & CEO Christopher Blanchard and the ESH Home and Community Based Services Director Craig Norton gave Hirono a complete tour of the facility.  Hirono visited Napuakea on a very special day – staff and participants were rolling out their new “college” type atmosphere.  She was able to observe a variety of classes being offered, including an American Sign Language class being taught by one of Easter Seals Hawaii participants.

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Program Assistant Luis Diaz-Crespo (back) and many participants shake the Senator’s hand while she greets them in The Pineapple Room kitchen named after Alan Wong’s famous restaurant. 

Blanchard said, “This is an opportunity to show our elected leaders and taxpayers exactly what we’re doing for our participants. Senator Hirono was touched and immediately connected with our participants. She truly wants to make a difference.” Hirono joined participants in their sign language class and learned a couple greetings, she also took a keen interest in the art that participants produce while attending their program at ESH. Norton added, “Our participants were so happy and honored to spend time with Senator Hirono, and what really stood out to me was how the Senator just walked right into each class and became just another member of the Easter Seals Hawaii Ohana – she became part of our mission.  It was pure joy to see the smile on her face as a participant taught her how to sign ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.”

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Senator Hirono stands between her tour guides ESH President & CEO Christopher Blanchard (right) and ESH Home and Community Based Director Craig Norton (left).

The Napuakea facility currently serves as the headquarters for ESH’s extensive in-home and community-based services on the Leeward side of Oahu. Napuakea is equipped with large therapy rooms, a computer lab, a multi-media training room, an adaptive playground and an IT center.  Programs at Napuakea include Early Intervention, Adult Day Health, Support Services and Work Crew.

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