Livestream proceeds help support professional development programs

The Hawaii Foundation for Educators (HFE) is teaming up with iconic local musicians Pure Heart, Robi Kahakalau, the Camarillo ohana, and the Makaha Sons to host “Teach Our Future,” a benefit concert for public school educators.

HFE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) to provide Hawaii teachers with quality training in professional and leadership development, research, and innovation.

“All of the artists involved, we’ve all performed at schools. We’ve all invested time into education, because we know how important that is,” said concert collaborator and musician Jake Shimabukuro. “Even when I was in high school, I wanted to be a teacher. My bandmate from Pure Heart, Jon Yamasato, he got his college degree in education. So I think we all understand the importance of this concert, and to support our teachers and HFE just provides these incredible opportunities and these professional development courses for our teachers, so it’s a wonderful thing to support.”

Emceed by Billy V and sponsored by Leu Okuda & Doi Attorneys at Law, the show will be available via livestream worldwide on Saturday, Aug. 7, at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the livestream are available at www.hawaiitheatre.com/TeachOurFuture for $15 plus fees and taxes. Proceeds will help HFE further its mission of providing professional development activities for Hawaii’s educators.

Purchase a livestream ticket here

“We are thrilled about this inaugural fundraising event for the Hawaii Foundation for Educators. It is an opportunity to promote our cause of supporting the dreams of passionate teachers to improve the education system and elevate the status of educators,” said Wilbert Holck, HFE board member and HSTA executive director. “Mahalo to the talented musicians, volunteers and sponsors who have so willingly supported the Foundation and ultimately Hawaii’s keiki who will benefit from educators who can take advantage of professional development opportunities.”

Rachel Fukuda, a special education teacher at Palolo Elementary, is entering her fifth year of teaching. She says HSTA’s professional development courses have helped her classroom skills immensely.

“Coming to a new school, I really didn’t have that connection with my students,” Fukuda said. “I really didn’t know much about them, and just the PD, it helped me to find ways that I can build those connections, make my classroom more culturally responsive to them, which in turn, opened up my classroom. My students are much more open now, willing to talk, willing to do work, and I just felt it helped me to build a much more positive relationship.”

HFE allows HSTA to return deposits for completed courses. Jessica Kato, a Campbell-Kapolei complex area resource teacher and HSTA professional development instructor, says a simple ticket purchase will go far to support both educators and keiki.

“Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a tangible way to really support education. It seems like this big thing that somebody else should be helping, and by supporting this fundraiser, it really does help,” she explained. “It helps teachers to grow and learn. It helps teachers to earn professional development credits, which in turn allows them to move up on the pay scale, and it helps students, because their teachers are growing and having time to really think about what’s best for them. So it’s a simple way that has a direct impact on the teachers and the students in the state of Hawaii.”

“Teach Our Future” will stream live from Hawaii Theatre with a limited in-person audience of sponsors and guests following proper COVID-19 protocols, and will be one of the first in-person events for the theater in 2021.

A special mahalo to Leu Okuda & Doi Attorneys at Law; Hawaii Benefit Administrators, Inc.; UHA Health Insurance; Kamehameha Schools; Hawaii State AFL-CIO; First Hawaiian Bank; Benefit Plan Solution; Hawaii Medical Service Association; Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters; Hawaii Education Association Executive Committee; and Dr. Kevin Kurohara.

HFE advocates for the whole educator by supporting their professional goals while working alongside community partners to improve Hawaii’s education system and elevate teaching as a vital and honorable profession. To learn more about HFE, visit www.hsta.org/foundation.