By Tommy Noyes

Kaua‘i Veterans Express crew and Beach Cleanup Team members collaborate to clear away driftwood at Lydgate Beach Park following the Tropical Depression Lane flooding and albizia inundation. Photo by Tommy Noyes

Every day, families benefit from the volunteer program at Lydgate Park. Any Friends of Kamalani volunteer can confirm the effort is sustained by love and ‘ohana.

Consider the Center for Spiritual Living Kaua‘i (CSL), a nonprofit church founded on Kaua‘i in 2013.

“It’s our first home,” said the Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren. “Our congregation was fortunate to use Lydgate Park for various events and meetings when we were starting up and had nowhere else to go. Now CSL supports playground preservation and coastal cleanups to the best of our ability, financially and by volunteering on the community workdays.”

The Rev. Patrick Feren, who co-founded CSL with Rita, continued, “Lydgate Park has a special appeal for children, and encourages the community to work and play together. It represents the Kaua‘i’s ohana. CSL’s vision is ‘A World that Works for Everyone!’ Lydgate Park and Kamalani playground most definitely contribute greatly to that world.”

On Sept. 8, the Friends of Kamalani Beach Cleanup Team reviewed their weekly two-hour beach grooming. At that time, the swimming ponds and the water’s edge were packed with a solid mass of huge albizia logs.

After inspecting the mess, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. chatted briefly with the team. He promised speedy action to clear the ponds. Just six days later, Kaua‘i Veterans Express personnel working under a contract with the county had hauled away the mess. The beach had been raked smooth. When asked for a statement, the mayor commented on the Friends’ big autumn community workday (7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, October 20, 2018) and debris clearing efforts as follows.

“Aloha! National Make a Difference Day’s coming up for all the volunteers who help out in Lydgate Park. I look forward to supporting your efforts. It took teamwork to accomplish the most recent cleanup effort. We worked closely with the Lydgate ‘ohana. Now it’s cleared, and there’s much more to come. We’re moving ahead with the park’s transformation and maintenance with love and aloha. It’s just resonating!

“But more importantly, these efforts bring our Friends of Kamalani team together. You’re doing great community work through volunteerism, maintaining this beautiful part of our island. That includes the visitor experience, the resident experience, and the youth experience — all of it tied into this wonderful place on our island of Kaua‘i! This is a place that people love, and families enjoy. The Friends of Kamalani team has done so much to maintain and beautify this wonderful part of our Island. Mahalo for the opportunity to share a little bit. Aloha!”

“National Make A Difference Day is very special and unique this year,” said Valerie Saiki, community coordinator for Tobacco Free Kaua‘i. “Two years ago Mayor Carvalho proclaimed an area in Lydgate Beach Park tobacco free. This year, Tobacco Free Kaua‘i is partnering with another family-friendly destination — Po‘ipu Beach Park — to designate that popular park as tobacco-free. This will definitely make a difference for our keiki.”

Contact Tommy at (808) 639-1018 to kokua on National Make A Difference Day.

  • Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.