HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Armed with grass cutters and lots of goodwill, employees from Stantec cleared the grounds around two portable classrooms Tuesday at the fringe of Puuhale Elementary School’s property.
The volunteers are architects and engineers.
“We’re weed whacking and mowing. We’re going to be pruning some of their plants to try to clear out a space for the kids to play,” volunteer Christie Fong said.
At the start of the school year, Head Start moved its Puuhale early childhood education program into the buildings.
The Honolulu Community Action Program oversees it, and the nonprofit accepted Stantec’s offer to help with the cleanup.
“There were a lot of weeds. As you can see there’s vines all over,” Suzie Uyeda said.
Before the volunteers cut and mowed, the grass in some areas of the property was 3 feet high.
"We did have to clear out a path just to get in here," Fong said.
It was so overgrown trespassers used the cover to hide and illegally camp under the portables.
"Sometimes they either sleep under here, or they break into the building. We put in fencing so they wouldn't do that," Uyeda said.
This is the second straight year Stantec’s employees helped at a Head Start site. And they’ll be back at Puuhale on Wednesday.
"If we have time we'll do some indoor painting of one of the classrooms," Fong said.
About 20 children attend the Head Start school. Uyeda hopes trespassers will now respect the area and stay away.
“We’re hoping that by having it nice and beautiful that they won’t damage our place or come in. It’s really for our families, for our kids,” she said.