Budding young philanthropists: Students spearhead fundraising effort for KARES

  • Kuleana Education students Azlan Cranmer-Brown,left, Kieran Boranian, Kiana Mikelson, Coast Stith, Ka’io Dorough and Maurene Montgomery, top helped raise money for KARES as part of a philanthropy lesson. Courtesy photo/special to West Hawaii Today)

Kohala Animal Relocation and Education Service (KARES) received an unexpected donation from a group of Kueana Education Academy students.

“We were pleased to receive the charitable gift but had no idea why KARES was chosen as recipient, nor the nature of the funding,” said Elaine Anderson, Vice President of KARES.


It all began when Kuleana Education Academy teacher Avery Nihill was talking to her 16 students grade K through seven, about philanthropy; what it means and why we would want to invest back in our communities.

“The students came up with the idea to raise money for KARES because they knew that they wanted to do something with animals and they knew they wanted to do something that had a local impact, said Nihill. “I had the middle school students do research on different non-profits on the Big Island and they found KARES. As we were listing off potential candidates we could possibly donate to, a few students recognized the name KARES because they had adopted their dogs and cats from there.”

After the students chose the nonprofit, they came up with different ways they could raise money. For a month students sold their hand-made art, bracelets and anklets plus snacks on campus, along with other students raising money for their nonprofits.

Anderson said the donation totaled $110.

“The personal dedicated effort and inspiration that went into the raising of money is far more significant than the dollar amount,” she said, noting the gift will be used for medical or surgical care of a rescued or surrendered pet.

“KARES was so pleased that these students opened their hearts to help the animals of the island with their donation,” said Deborah M. Cravatta, Founder and President of KARES.

Nihill said taking care of community and taking care of each other is built into the school’s principles.

“Living here in Hawaii, it is especially important. Our community is so close knit, our students know how important it is to give back to the community,” she said. “The students are the one who wanted to make sure that it would have a local impact because of the way our school has raised them from such a young age.”


“KARES does not know whether the Kuleana Education Academy has been inspiring other teams of philanthropists besides our donors. But if they are, they are doing some pretty special by cultivating these young people, said Anderson. “We are thankful and proud of them and believe our community would appreciate knowing about these budding young philanthropists.”

To donate or see more information on KARES visit Kareshawaii.org.

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