MEO Youth Services offer messages of hope at sign waving

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September 18, 2023

About 15 Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services high and middle schoolers waved signs with messages of hope, “You Are Not Alone” and “Lahaina Strong” on Thursday fronting the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center.

The annual Youth Services sign-waving was held during Suicide Prevention Week this week. But with the recent wildfires, the Youth Services team decided to remove the word “suicide” from signs and focus on available help, specifically the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline, mental health and “Lahaina Strong.”

Coincidentally, Na Koa Brand, a clothing store in the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, was commissioned to put up a “Lahaina Strong” sign. Contractor Artisan Events Maui was putting up the red sign as Youth Services youth waved their signs, said Shanna Kanahele, wife of store owner, Daimus.

The sign was set up in advance of tonight’s benefit concert Kama‘aina Nights Kokua Edition at the center from 4 to 8 p.m. It will be changed to “Maui Strong,” Shanna said.

After the sign-waving, Youth Services walked the center distributing 988 stickers.

Youth Services runs in-school and after-school programs on Maui and Moloka‘i that focus on alcohol, smoking and vaping, drug, bullying and suicide prevention. For more information, call (808) 243-4315 on Maui and (808) 774-8040 on Moloka‘i.

Kapua Dukelow (left) and Kassen Yamashita, members of MEO Youth Services after-school program, wave signs fronting Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center on Thursday afternoon.

Kimokeo Pua‘a Ortiz (from left with shaka), Lanakila Manlapao and Kaikea Barona were among 15 MEO Youth Services after-school youth participating in a sign-waving Thursday.

Kendrah Medeiros- Kiyonaga (from left) and Arrianna Shirota, wearing her MEO shirt, joined a sign waving by MEO Youth Services as cars passed by, some honking their horns in support.

Kendrah Medeiros- Kiyonaga offered messages of help and hope.

Na Koa Brand, a clothing store in the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, was commissioned to put up a “Lahaina Strong” sign. Contractor Artisan Events Maui was working on the sign as Youth Services youth waved their signs Thursday fronting the center.

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