Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and those who don't know us (yet)…
This has been an incredibly challenging year. Each of us has a respective truth that can only be fully understood by the one person who has seen what we, our individual selves have personally seen.
We can all recount the stories, tell the tales, and share information about our experiences.
But only you know your specific truth. I often refer to our individual truths as “little-t” truths, primarily because, although the experiences are real, they are not real for everyone. On the other hand, a “capital-T” Truth is an experience that extends beyond our individual experience.
For example, a little-t truth might reflect how great rocky road ice cream tastes. That statement might be true for some people, but certainly not everyone.
On the other hand, the fact that we all need food and water to survive is what I would call a capital-T Truth.
Notwithstanding the differences between the two types of aforementioned truths, there are occasions when a little-t truth can also be a capital-T Truth.
Today, I’d like to share my (little-t) truth that is also a (capital –T) Truth.
Throughout the initial and ongoing stages of the pandemic, I have waited to share this truth within a Truth. And as the country and the world allocated much-needed attention onto the complex issues of race, politics, and racial politics, I again waited to share my truth with a Truth.
And though these two consuming events continue to evolve, I’d like to shift focus, if but for a minute or three, on the truth that my wife is an incredible gift to me, my family, and our community.
Also, the Truth is...
In March of this year, my wife, Delia, was named an honoree of the annual Pacific Business News “2020 Women Who Mean Business!” award.
As she stated in her interview with Pacific Business News (PBN), Delia is an educational professional at the Hawaii Department of Education. But more importantly, she volunteers for at least five other schools’ parent groups, spearheading fundraising and community activities.
In fact, Delia has been not only the launchpad for growing a vast, inspirational brigade of engaged, involved, and supportive parents, but she has also set an amazing precedent by simultaneously leading three separate Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO) – spanning and engaging the entire K-12 spectrum… not for credit or fame that some people may think accompanies such positions, but for the sheer love of our community, and the creative, impactful, and far-reaching improvements that she has been able to facilitate through the years.
A former Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Dress for Success, Delia seamlessly leads by professionalism, thought, action, creativity, and patience wherever and whenever she is needed. Ironically, because students, parents, teachers, and staff all move on as they matriculate upward through the various schools of our education system, most parents are unaware of the massive amounts of energy, effort, patience, planning, networking, notifying, creating and codifying that is required to successfully achieve what she has done… and the ongoing work she continues to do.
A dedicated educational professional with significant contributions as a community liaison, Delia has leveraged her considerable skills as a community advocate, talented communicator, and an extraordinary network facilitator. Though she is the centerpiece and mainstay of many education-related activities for the Hawaii Department of Education in the Campbell-Kapolei Complex, most of her accomplishments go unheralded by the very communities she serves.
Employed in a part-time position as a Parent-Community Network Center facilitator (PCNC) at Ewa Beach Elementary School (EBES), Delia volunteers hundreds of hours every month spearheading community activities at Ewa Makai Middle School, Ilima Middle School, and James Campbell High School, among others. She is an amazing and highly sought-after Hawaii DoE Certified Substitute Teacher, and is a true ambassador… continuously seeking qualified candidates to assist with the dire teacher shortage.
As President of the James Campbell High School Parent Teacher Organization, Delia made a tremendous impact by creating a separate 501c(3) organization to support the myriad student/parent programs.
As President of the Ewa Makai Middle School Parent Teacher Organization since 2017, Delia galvanized, grew and nurtured a parent network from merely 10 members in 2017… to a whopping 300 parents in 2019.
Through this network of engaged parents, Delia has facilitated substantial material, physical and financial school support. Inspiring parents to volunteer at every school event, she personally facilitated the fundraising of ~ $40,000 to provide prizes, awards, student transportation, tokens of appreciation, microwave ovens… and other items, directly impacting the school’s mission.
As Coordinator for the Ewa Beach Elementary School Parent Ohana since 2014, Delia was lauded by the DoE accreditation council for her creative programs, including:
Notably, she spearheaded a massive increase in parent engagement, starting the Ewa Beach Elementary School Parent Ohana in 2015 with 6 members. Earlier this year, membership stood at 180 parents!
In fact, during the last 5 years, Delia has single-handedly pursued fundraisers netting Ewa Beach Elementary School almost $70,000. Specifically:
As a former Executive Director of a Dress for Success chapter, Delia’s core competencies of Project Management, Strategic Planning, Relationship Building, Community Engagement, Parent Engagement, Budget Formulation, Transition Support, Volunteer Recruitment, Program Improvement, Partnership & Coordination, Funds Management, and Workshop Creation have helped her lead seamlessly in the back/foreground wherever and whenever.
Unbeknownst to most of her coworkers, as a member of the Pacific Command (INDO-PACOM) Joint Venture Education Forum, she provided significant insight into the expanded use of Department of Education Transition Centers for every transitioning student in Hawaii.
Through consensus building, managing stakeholder relationships, initiating and leading civic projects, and designing successful strategies to increase student and parent engagement at EVERY LEVEL of the K-12 spectrum, Delia is a cornerstone of support for thousands of families as their students flow from elementary school to high school… serving as a touchpoint for over 8,000 students!
Finally, Delia was a critical component of the successful “Honk and Wave” celebrations that were sponsored by our nonprofit organization, TeenBuilding USA. She and her cadre of volunteers helped make the graduation of the Class of 2020 a tad bit more memorable for the students of the James Campbell High School Sabers and the Kapolei High School Cougars. Her tireless efforts behind the scenes are known only by me, but are entirely consistent with her love of our students, our community, and our core belief that when no one cares who gets the credit, we can all achieve some rather amazing things.
I have waited to share and celebrate her recognition by the Pacific Business News, primarily because of the evolving elements affecting our nation and the world.
In my work with the community on the Neighborhood Board, School Community Council, and other civic duties, my wife, Delia, is right there with me, directing my path, offering insight, providing a much-needed alternate viewpoint, and literally being my #1 devotee, follower, and leader. In all likelihood, she is probably more responsible for my personal and career accomplishments than I am. She holds me accountable, and she inspires me simply by being her natural self.
Of course, my homemade chili tastes slightly better than her version. She likes white wine, and my palette is strictly confined to robust cabernets and hearty zinfandels. She likes her eggs scrambled, and I prefer mine over easy. She is amazingly gregarious and can converse with anyone on any topic better than most presidents. Whereas I like to ponder away at thought-provoking concepts and connect the dots on seemingly unrelated topics. Interestingly enough, she hails from a family of all sisters, and I am from a family of all brothers, with no sisters.
Over the years, as we have aged together, we have learned to dance the intricate waltz of marriage, parenting, and, most importantly, prioritizing our love for each other under the auspices of the love of the relationship we share, along with our daughters.
And it is our ever-evolving relationship that has afforded us the ability to jointly serve our community, state, and nation in a manner that best fits our respective selves. Indeed, she is my truth, my Truth, and my absolute dream come true.
Truthfully, she has also been a tremendous asset for the students and parents in 'Ewa and the Campbell-Kapolei Complex. And, Lord willing, she has big plans for our ever-changing community
Notwithstanding the present-day challenges facing our society, please join me in showing appreciation for the Truth that she is truly a gift to our community – to the parents, educators, and staff of Ewa area schools – and especially to today’s students... the future leaders of our nation.
Aloha and mahalo!
Inspiring a worldwide community of optimistic realists.