It's Playtime for Leeward Coast Children

Jeff Stone
Jeff Stone

WAIANAE (KHNL) -- It's natural for children to want to go out and play, but what do they do when they don't have a place to go? That was the dilemma for homeless leeward coast children, but not any more, thanks to some generous people.

It's one of the most natural sounds in the world. But until today, these kids at the Pai'olu Kaiaulu homeless shelter had no place to play.

"I no got to play in the parking lot and the building," said Raeana Lewis, a Waianae resident. "I get to play in a nice new playground."

"And that's what this is about," said Jeff Stone, president and CEO of Resort Group, an organization that helped fund the project. "Trying to bring the children off the beach and with their families, and trying to find them permanent housing."

Parents say this helps their kids have a normal life.

"It's important so they stay out of trouble, has some kind of exercise," said Charles Lewis, Raeana's father.

The playground was donated by Ko Olina Charities and built by a team of volunteers.

"You still see a lot of work before us, but you don't see the children on the beach, which is phenomenal," said Stone.

It's these little steps, Governor Linda Lingle said, that help turn these families around.

"It is worth it because you're changing people's lives and above everything else, you're giving these children a chance at a decent life," she said.

And Ko Olina Charities are right there with the governor.

"Whenever she needs a playground, okay, we would love to find that playground," said Stone.

Giving kids down on their luck a chance to be kids.

Eighty-three children live at the shelter. Future plans for additional playgrounds for homeless children haven't been finalized.