SIU members in Hawaii continued the union’s long tradition of helping out in the community by assisting with the “Labor of Love” project to benefit a local elementary school.
On Jan. 25, SIU personnel were among the hundreds of volunteers from unions and other groups that pitched in to help complete the project, hosted by the Hawaii State AFL-CIO through their Labor Community Services Program, at Kalihi Elementary School in Honolulu.
In a message shared on social media, the school’s administration said, “Huge Mahalo to everyone who came out to support the Hawaii State AFL-CIO Labor of Love project at Kalihi Elementary this past weekend! With the help of over 400 volunteers from over 20 Labor Unions and various other organizations, we were able to make some transformative changes to our school. These improvements included painting the school our school colors, installing school logos, installing fans in the cafeteria, creating a peace garden, installing AC in three classrooms, and installing a dishwasher in the kitchen.”
The SIU was represented during the effort by Port Agent Hazel Galbiso, Safety Director Amber Akana, Administrative Assistant Shureen Yatchmenoff, ABs Antolin Avorque, Jerry Dingal and Andrei Tretyak, QMED Raymond Orosco, GUDE Neil Tupas and ACU Nadzeya Kuptsova.
Galbiso said, “This was another opportunity for Seafarers to humbly give back to our community, and we were happy to help out Kalihi Elementary School.”
“I think it was a very good project, and I think we should help out with more projects like this,” said Tupas. “This project was pretty special, with many unions and local organizations coming together and helping out. And the fact that we got to help out in our local community makes it even more worthwhile to me. I enjoyed helping out the school, and getting to know new people in both my union and the local Hawaiian government.”
“I’m never speechless,” said Hawaii State AFL-CIO President Randy Perreira. “But I’m close to speechless at the outpouring of volunteerism. It’s a day that we choose to give back and do our thing, not only for the school, but the community as well. This year we’re very fortunate. Through everyone’s generosity, we’re providing over $130,000 in people power, equipment and supplies for the school, including some cash that they can use for their benefit.”
This year’s iteration marked the sixth time the state AFL-CIO has sponsored the project, and each one has benefitted a school in Hawaii.