By Uma Sivanathan
In looking into the health concerns of our community members, I saw a great need for education on preventing chronic illnesses. To address this need, I founded our nonprofit, Manaʻolana Center for Health and Healing. Our beloved kupuna, Auntie Angeline, gave the name Manaʻolana to us 25 years ago when I first had the vision of a healing center on Kauaʻi. Manaʻolana means hope and confidence.
The mission of Manaʻolana Center is to provide knowledge to our Kauaʻi community members and visitors on how to prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, addictions and other chronic health conditions through a multi-faceted approach, addressing the body, mind, spirit and emotions.
This year, we are offering a three-week (five days a week) Young Women’s Wellness Retreat, July 9-29 for 10 female participants, ages 13-19. The last weekend will be celebrated with a camping excursion to Kokeʻe for the participants, their families, our staff and volunteers.
Our program is an in-depth, self-empowering experience that will give the participants the knowledge and encouragement to make healthy daily choices. The goals of the Wellness Retreat are; to instill high values, teach life skills, and the prevention of chronic health conditions through meaningful educational activities.
The classrooms will be the center’s abundant organic vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and spacious kitchen with demonstration bar in the beautiful country setting of Kapahi.
We are going to have so much fun! A super fun part will be the video-taping of each day’s activities by the participants. At the end, we will edit all of the video clips into one video to show their families.
Through our activities, we focus on the long-term health of the young women and their families. We believe this information will circle out into our community, like the circles made by the pebble thrown into a pond.
Our young women are the future wives, mothers and compassionate women in our community.
Our activities include:
- Hands-on experience growing a model organic home garden: We emphasize the importance of eating an abundance of fresh, organically grown fruits and veggies. We are so lucky to live on Kauaʻi, because we have a year-round growing season. We will also shop together at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Kapaʻa for additional ingredients to use in our ono and nutritious breakfast and lunch creations.
- Harvesting from the centers’ veggie gardens and fruit orchards: We will harvest fruits and veggies from the center’s gardens to provide ingredients for delicious morning smoothies and yummy lunches. We will make enough food each day for the young women to take home to their families. A recipe book will be made for their future reference.
- Caring for beautiful Kauaʻi: Every day, we will sit in circle together to talk story and discuss how we can be better stewards of our environment on Kauaʻi and the part we all play in the health of planet Earth. Our Earth gives us everything we need. Without the life-sustaining elements of clean air, water and food, humans cannot survive. It is imperative that we protect our precious resources. Our youth and the generations to come are the inheritors and protectors of our ʻaina. The hula, “Beautiful Kauaʻi” will be taught to the young women, enhancing their appreciation of our homeland.
- Relaxation/stress relief: Yoga, painting and sculpting with clay are activities in the program that promote a deep sense of relaxation and creative joy. We will also take weekly exercise excursions such as enjoying the bike path from Kealia to Donkey’s Beach; kayaking down Wailua River; and hiking Sleeping Giant. The last weekend, we will take an exquisite hike in the mountains of Kokeʻe.
We are offering this program free of charge to 10 young women, with donations welcome. If the response is good this year, we will expand our program next year to include more participants. We would also like to include programs next year for young men and elders.
Manaʻolana Center will also offer three additional programs this year: a 12-day Working Person’s Detox/Cleanse; a weekend Organic Gardening Workshop; and the showing of our health-promoting Docu-series Library.
The showing of our Docu-series Library is the simplest way to get very innovative, important knowledge to our community members. Each docu-series has many interviews with experts from around the world in the field of integrative, fundamental and restorative health care. It is so exciting that there is a new wave of preventative health care. We at Manaʻolana Center share that information with you so that you can make educated decisions about your health care and understand that we have options. We will keep giving you resources so that you can research your options.
We are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our community on Kauaʻi.
Visit manaolanacenter.org for more information.
- Uma Sivanathan is the founder and president of Manaʻolana Center for Health and Healing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (808) 652-9332.