Kuakini opens its doors to students

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Melanie Yamaguchi

Kuakini Medical Center opened its doors to local elementary and middle school students for its annual open house event Thursday.

"The value of it is that we show the kids different ways of staying healthy and why it's important for them to keep healthy even if it's something as small as eating more vegetables or washing your hands correctly or getting more sleep," said Donda Spiker, marketing and public relations manager for Kuakini Health Systems.

Students participated in a variety of hands-on activities to learn the values of sleep, cleanliness and good eating habits. Exhibits included a hand-washing station -- showing how clean hands really are when put under a black light -- as well as a sleep hygiene quiz and a station to measure oxygen levels.

"We want to instill in them the value and importance of taking good care of themselves because when they get older, it will all pay off for them," Spiker said.

Spiker said she hoped the event -- in which some Kuakini staff participated in -- would encourage students to consider careers in the health industry.

"We have a lot of people behind the scenes," she said. "It's like a city in itself because we have people that work here that aren't only in patient care but they are in support services."

Regina Flores, a second grade teacher at Cathedral Catholic Academy, said this is the first time in about two years that she's been able to take her students to the open house and it's an opportunity for the children -- who often get sick or injured -- to have more fun when learning.

"It makes me happy and it also reinforces what I teach them in school about good health and hygiene," Flores said. "I think every child in our state and other states should have that opportunity everyday or every year to come at least once to a health care facility to learn about the importance of staying healthy."

In addition to health exhibits, a City and County ambulance, Honolulu Police Department squad car and Kuakini's HazMat shower and tent were among other featured displays. Approximately 1,000 students are expected to attend the event runs which runs through Friday.

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