Kahiau, Easter Seals Hawaii’s service center in Waimea, Kauai, provides services to adults and children on the west side of the island. Part of the building serves as the Kauai Police Department Waimea sub-station. The police officers are great neighbors who have taken the time to get to know the program and Easter Seals Hawaii participants. We would like to thank Officer Damien Mandiola for generously offering to teach Easter Seals Hawaii participants how to build and maintain an aquaponic system. He donated the entire system as well as 40 golden tilapia fish food and starter plants.
Officer Damien worked alongside our participants to construct the system and teach our participants and staff how to maintain the right acidity levels for optimal plant growth. Families of participants supported this project by donating more starter plants and fish. Officer Damien continues to oversee this project. As with anything new, there are ups and downs and he has taught our participants to evaluate and overcome obstacles. There were moths and aphids and some of the fish died, but ultimately it was a huge success! All of the vegetables are now used to prepare the daily lunches. The participants learn reading, writing and team work to maintain and operate the aquaponic system. It is also part of a curriculum on nutrition, healthy living, and making healthy choices The system has proven to be a wonderful vehicle for teaching, and an opportunity to expand this system at the service center in Kapaa.