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Operation Manong

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(HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai'i at Mânoa and Friends of Operation Manong announce the 40th anniversary of the founding of Operation Manong (OM). The public is invited to attend the reunion celebration on Sunday, March 25, 2012, from 3-8 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu. The anniversary celebration is an opportunity to reflect on best practices and to thank OM alumni, students and staff for their service and leadership.

One of the first University programs to address campus diversity and equal access to higher education in the early 1970s, OM was started by a coalition of University students and faculty, Filipino community leaders, and the Immigrant Services Center. OM university students provided tutoring and mentoring to new Filipino immigrant children. "Manong," an Ilokano term of respect for an older person, had been used in Hawai'i to refer to Filipinos in a derogatory manner. The OM founders sought to restore the traditional positive meaning. Hence, university students became "manong" and "manang" to younger children "adings."

Initial funding came from the United Presbyterian Church and a federal ACTION grant. Since l976, OM has been a state funded UH program. OM developed extensive community outreach programs and services for public school and pre-college students to assist new immigrant public school students and to increase the number and success of Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Pacific Islanders and other student groups who are under-represented at UH Mânoa. OM has also prepared students for undergraduate work, assisted with the transfer of community college students to UH Mânoa, provided scholarships, and trained future teachers and community leaders. In 2000, OM became the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS) to reflect a broader scope of cross-cultural and social justice activities.

OM/OMSS is proud of its countless alumni who are accountants, teachers, social workers, lawyers, engineers, scientists, doctors and nurses who work in business, government and the non-profit sectors. Alumni attending the March 25 reunion include former Insurance Commissioner and businessman Robin Campaniano, media and television producer Emme Tomimbang, Vice Speaker Joey Manahan, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairperson Collette Machado, teachers Johnny Verzon and Milli Asuncion. Amy Agbayani was the first director of OM followed by Melinda Tria Kerkvliet and the current director Clem Bautista (an OM alum).

To attend the celebration at the Fil-Com Center and see RSVP form that includes cost to purchase pre-event tickets or to pay at the door, visit the website!

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