Sunday, Oct. 02, 2022|
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Books bring joy
Nearly one year ago, I was browsing through a used bookstore in downtown Hilo. For the first time, I was about to meet some members of a women authors’ book club who were getting together for a friendly game of Scrabble.
With 2022 more than half lived, that day serves as brilliant punctuation in a blur of many moments since. I got to meet some wonderful, smart, funny, beautiful people whose lively discussions in welcoming settings led to a better understanding of the complexities of humanity.
Participating in this book club has enhanced the experience of entering doorways to the limitless worlds of print, and inspires me to live daily life bejeweled with empathy, wonder, possibility and verve.
Sharon F. Wong
of a mentor
I was born and raised in Eden Roc in Puna.
I grew up like most ’80s Puna kids: off-grid, free-range and testing life paths that gave our parents heartache.
I was somewhat aimlessly headed toward adulthood until somehow in early high school I found my way to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Youth Conservation Corps. There, I met an amazing group of adult role models, including Dr. Rhonda Loh.
In my memory of her, not only could she carry cumbersome coolers full of endangered native plants for miles (that she had personally gathered seeds and grown) and teach us tricks for remembering a plant’s scientific and Hawaiian names, but also, as it turned out, she had the power to positively impact the course of at least one of the YCC member’s life.
All it took was her saying to me, “You know, you can become a scientist and do this for a living, too,” and my fate was sealed.
Whether she meant to be known for it or not, I know that Dr. Loh has nurtured the most sensitive groups in our Big Island community — both our ecosystems and kids.
I am now a happy 38-year-old scientist who has traveled the world doing my specialty. I encourage anyone who’s reading this to share with their young adults the amazing opportunities presented by the various YCC programs each summer, or that they’ve had elsewhere.
I know that it is often simple words of encouragement from adults that helped me to thrive.
Thank you, Dr. Loh, and all of the HVNP team.
Aloha from Montana.
Evana Maile Newberry
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