• Photo gallery: Kupuna
By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer
An invitation to stroll to a calming waterfall, enjoy lush gardens of ginger and heleconia, and encounter 'alae 'ula, the endangered Hawaiian moorhen — it's just one way Waimea Valley is showing its appreciation to kūpuna in the community.
Pūlama Nā Kupuna (Cherish the Elders) is a program that invites seniors' groups to experience the valley through Hawaiian cultural activities, such as arts and crafts, singing, storytelling, and walking or riding to the waterfall.
"The valley has always been blessed to receive the mana'o and teaching of kūpuna, and all that we are really doing is extending the program, reaching out (back to them)," said Gail Ann Chew, executive director of Waimea Valley.
Pūlama Nā Kupuna is among dozens of programs, activities and events that honor Hawai'i's elders. Such celebrations are important to have in the community, Chew said.
"We have much to learn and they have so much to share with us," Chew said. "We should all be looking for opportunities to seek their wisdom."
Reservations are required for the three-hour program at Waimea Valley, and the cost is $5; call 638-7766, or find out more at www.waimeavalley.net.
Many other organizations in our community offer activities especially for seniors, or have programs that help us spend quality time with our kūpuna:
• Grandparents and their grandchildren can bond at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center's toddler classes, designed for ages 18 to 36 months old to learn and play alongside a grandparent or parent. The classes are facilitated by a museum educator and feature free play, songs, stories and creative activities. To register, call 524-5437.
Also: The center is gearing up for its annual Grandparents Day celebration, with activities for grandparents and grandchildren to do together, such as a making a memory book or healthy snack. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 26, and the grandparent gets in free with an accompanying child's paid admission ($10).
• Spend the day honoring your own or hānai grandmother at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' "In Honor of Grandmother" exhibition, with dozens of quilts, clothing and accessories paying tribute to grandmothers, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the last day of the exhibit; $5 for ages 62 and older, students and military, $10 general admission; free for members and children 12 and younger. www.honoluluacademy.org, 532-8700.
• Help celebrate the accomplishments of stellar seniors at the Mayor's 44th Annual Senior Recognition Program. Themed "Healthy Living by Sharing Aloha," the program honors senior volunteers whose service benefits the community and also recognizes them for developing new interests, attaining personal goals and overcoming adversities, 9 to 11:30 a.m. April 8; Hawai'i Convention Center; free. 768-7705.
• Seniors can take advantage of a variety of kupuna-friendly classes — including arts and crafts, dance, exercise and music — at the following community and senior centers (call for details):
• Kapahulu Center, 737-1748
• Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center, 847-1322 or www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org (search "Lanakila")
• Mō'ili'ili Community Center, www.moiliilicc.org or 955-1555
• Waikīkī Community Center, 923-1802 or www.waikikicommunitycenter.org.