Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kaunoa - an Amazing Community Resource

Kaunoa Senior Center – This sign is a landmark on the Hana Highway between Paia and Kahului, and is helpful for directions: "If you see Kaunoa, you've gone too far." Or "Turn left at the Kaunoa sign." Or "It's the street after Kaunoa." 

The famous Kaunoa Senior Center sign on the makai side of
Hana Highway, in Spreckelsville.
always thought Kaunoa was senior housing. No! No one lives there. It’s an activity center, a resource, primarily for seniors ages "55 and better," run by the County of Maui. Kaunoa also provides Meals on Wheels, transportation services, senior volunteer opportunities, and a dining program. But it also serves the greater community, because certain events can be held there for the general public. A couple of years ago, GMO Free Maui hosted a Saturday food education and GMO information event with workshops, lectures, and a seed exchange, and this was open to everyone for free. A & B Foundation recently gave Kaunoa a $20,000 grant. Ironically, A & B owns HC&S which leases sugar cane land to Monsanto, king of GMOs. 

The Kaunoa parking lot. Not crowded today, but some days it's full. 
The schedule at Kaunoa is pretty amazing. I'd like to take some of these classes, but I'm not "55 or better." But here's a tip: in certain circumstances, Kaunoa will allow non-seniors to attend events or lectures. For example, a Medicare Basics lecture offered by Mark Faildo was scheduled in a big enough room that non-seniors could attend by paying an additional fee, and then by being on a waiting list. Slots go to seniors first, and then to those on the waiting list. The Kaunoa office staff confirmed me a day before the event. I was the only non-senior. 

Also, Kaunoa classes are very affordable for seniors. It doesn't take a lot of money to have a good time or have a social life with Kaunoa's extensive schedule. 

The oh-so-awesome Kaunoa Calendar.
There are field trips, historical lectures, outings to restaurants, cooking classes, arts and crafts groups, parties, volunteer opportunities, alternative and traditional health workshops, and musical events. I never thought I'd look forward to getting older, but Kaunoa would make it more fun. Kaunoa also has a branch on the West Side, so if you live in Lahaina, you don't have to trek out to Spreckelsville. 

Doesn't this sound fun? A wiliwili grove tour offered by Kaunoa... Wiliwili are a special native Hawaiian tree that almost got wiped out from an invasive insect. There used to be wiliwili trees all along Mokulele Highway.

Also, if you have a skill or topic that you'd like to teach, you can give a workshop at Kaunoa. You could also teach at the outreach department for UH-Maui (formerly the Maui Community College), and they offer good classes too. At Kaunoa, you can reach out to the senior population, who may want what you have to offer. 

Another fun Kaunoa outing... working in a taro patch in Ia'o Valley. 

Does Kaunoa have a website? Yes and no. The County of Maui has an information page on Kaunoa, but it doesn't give you a schedule. Seniors seem to like paper, so calendars are mailed out every month. DH gets a paper copy and I'm usually more interested in the classes than he is. 

Nui's Farm Tour in Kula.
This is also a good farmer's market/farm stand.

To reach Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville, call 808-270-7308, Mon-Fri except holidays, 7:45 am - 4:30 pm. Address: 401 Alakapa Place, Sprecklesville (technically Pa'ia).  Ah, so that's the name of the street Kaunoa is on... But it's much easier to see the Kaunoa sign than the small Alakapa street sign.  I'm still going to use Kaunoa as a landmark.  Now if we can just get some of those classes at Kaunoa offered elsewhere! 

Psst! St. Joseph's in Makawao is having a fair today (11/17/12), so is Kula Elementary with their Harvest Festival. Maui Film Festival is having is FirstLight film event starting tomorrow.  


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