Since April 2016, the Roots Program has been tremendously lucky to host two VISTA volunteers, Bernice Helgenberger Musrasrik and Malialina Derden, for their year of service.  AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and places brave, energetic, and compassionate volunteers at organizations throughout the US with the goal of working towards the elimination of poverty.  Here at Roots, we recognize that impoverishment comes in many forms beyond simple economics, but we also recognize the many kinds of wealth and abundance that counter poverty: richness of knowledge, relationships, heritage, land, stories, and more.

At the end of this month, their year of service will conclude, and we're so proud to look back at some of the ways that our VISTAs have supported the abundance of our community over the past year.

Increasing the Impact of the Roots Cultural Food Hub

  • Expanded the Food Hub Mobile Market from servicing one location to four, including the Gulick Senior Center, the senior program at Kuhio Park, Linapuni Elementary School, and non-profit Parents and Children Together
  • Supported the annual Culture Fair at the Towers at Kuhio Park housing community with 200 pounds of local kalo and fish for cultural food demonstrations by residents
  • Conducted a community survey on how Kalihi residents acquire food, to help us understand how to make access to fresh, local, cultural produce as easy as possible

Making New Connections within the Community

  • Led the Farrington High School Poetry Club in a series of workdays at Mala O Kaluaopalena Community Garden, culimanating in a ko (sugar cane) harvest for fresh ko drinks at the first "Poetry Club & Friends: Night of Poetry," held at the Roots Cafe
  • Strengthened partnerships with Linapuni Elementary School to bring more staff, students, and parents into the Kaluaopalena Community Garden

Sharing our Stories

  • Gathered the first stories for our growing stories database, bringing sound and color to our words
  • Hosted a "Kalihi Stories" day at Mala O Kaluaopalena Community Garden to celebrate years of history on this land

....and so much more!

Thank you for your service, Bernice and Malia.