Building a brighter future for children, with tools to help them learn and grow
Strong Start 4 Kids started as an idea in the head of Punahou Junior Shea Sakahara. His initial idea was to collect donated school supplies to give to students at his former school, Kailua Elementary. During his time there, he noticed that some kids didn't always have the supplies they needed or they would run out of things like pencils and erasers in the middle of the school year. He also noticed teachers, like his mom, would often spend their own money to make sure no one went without the tools they needed to succeed. His idea has since grown into organizing a project that demonstrates how kids can make a difference for other kids. In 2017, Strong Start 4 Kids was born and the first school Strong Start partnered with was Kailua Elementary School in Kailua, HI. Over 1,000 supplies were donated to Kailua Elementary providing important tools to nurture learning. In 2018, Strong Start 4 Kids partnered with another Title I school on O`ahu. For the '17-'18 school year, Strong Start 4 Kids partnered with Maunawili Elementary School where more than 1,700 supplies were donated to support students in their community. In December of 2018, Strong Start 4 Kids was fortunate to be able to help multiple schools on Boracay Island in the Philippines. In a short two week span, more than 500 donations were shipped to the Philippines and made their way into the hands of students. In January of 2020, Strong Start 4 Kids continued their efforts working with Pu`uhale Elementary School. Due to COVID-19, more than 1,300 supplies donations had to be delivered a year later and was in classrooms in time for the gradual return of students. With the pandemic affecting "normal," 800 desk shields were donated by Punahou School for public schools around O`ahu. Most recently, Strong Start 4 Kids held their largest donation drive to date collecting more than 2,100 school supplies during the holidays. These supplies were then donated to Ala Wai Elementary to provide new opportunities in the classroom and beyond. Over the past five years, Strong Start 4 Kids has been able to donate 6,500+ supplies and counting to students around the world.
Shea is especially determined to help children because he himself has benefitted from the generosity of others. At just over a year old, Shea was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He has overcome many physical challenges thanks to the love and support of family, friends, teachers, doctors, and therapists. He understands firsthand the impact a single person can have on one's life. As Shea always says, "I am. I can. I will."
I am different.
I can make a difference.
I will make the difference.
SHEA SAKAHARA (17 yrs)
Founder, Strong Start 4 Kids