A New Way To Help Isle Schools

Island School is one of four Garden Isle schools participating in the Times Shop & Score program for the first time. Above, Pierce Murphy of Island School (right) at the 2009 state cross-country meet

Every year, schools across the state struggle to provide necessary equipment for their various teams, whether it be for football, girls basketball or boys soccer.

But a new program coming to the Garden Isle for the first time can give Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation schools a much-needed boost, especially during these tough economic times.

“With the state budget as it is, we find ourselves constantly looking for means to supplement our equipment and supply monies,” says Kaua’i High School athletic director Ross Shimabukuro.

That’s where the Times Supermarket “Shop & Score Program” steps in. From now through Oct. 5, Times shoppers can designate a high school and earn points with their purchases, which are converted to sports gear for schools.

Besides Times, this program also is sponsored by Kraft and Adidas, and has already helped schools across Oahu, both public and private. And now, with Times coming to Kaua’i, this helpful program is expanding as well.

As an example, last year Castle High in Kaneohe received $11,750 from Shop & Save, the top school.

“It helped us out big time,” says Laynie Sueyasu, a Kaua’i native and interim athletic director at Castle. “It allowed us to buy uniforms we otherwise could not have gotten for track and field, tennis and bowling.”

As a former high school softball player at Waimea High, Sueyasu learned firsthand the important impact that sports can have on a young life.

“For the whole well-roundedness of a person, it’s another avenue to learn life skills; it’s a place to excel outside the classroom,” says Sueyasu. “I believe in it because I was a product of it, and it will be sad when the sports aren’t there anymore. I hope it will never happen, but due to our geographic situation, you never know.”

Adds Kapaa High School athletic director Greg Gonsalves: “It will help to bring in money to our athletic program that is desperately needed to purchase uniforms, supplies and sports equipment for the many teams at our school. The state budget cuts the past two years have had a negative impact on our ability to provide necessary equipment. We appreciate Times Supermarket for its generous support of high school sports.”

Now in its 10th year, Shop & Score program funds have doubled, with $200,000 now up for grabs.

Garden Isle schools participating are Kaua’i High, Kapa’a High and Waimea High, as well as Island School.

“Our teams seem to always be fundraising, and Times Supermarket and Kraft Foods have generously provided a means of getting needed supplies without having to drain the community’s pocketbooks,” Shimabukuro says. “It will help us tremendously by giving us another way to help our teams get the equipment and supplies we need each year.”

Kapa’a High School head football coach Kelii Morgado says the costs of running a program are very high. For example, with a jayvee/varsity program of 120 athletes, they need at least 20 footballs per practice at $50 each for a total of $1,000.

“These footballs may last one season at best,” he says. “Because of these very high costs, any help we can get from Times Supermarket is very much appreciated. The state budget cuts have put an enormous strain on high school athletics, and as a result of the cuts the participants and their families carry the burden of having to fundraise or pay to participate in sports. Football is a very expensive sport with a high number of participants.”

Earning points is easy, and parents, students, alumni and other community members are encouraged to get involved.

KIF schools will earn points every time Kraft Foods and other designated products are purchased at Times Supermarket in Kukui Grove Shopping Center (formerly Star Market). Each school will receive a share of the $200,000 credit, based on the percentage of total points, to buy athletic equipment. All schools are guaranteed a minimum $500 credit.

Another way to earn 100 Shop and Score points is to open a new ASB Free Checking Account at any American Savings Bank.

“We’re excited about the program’s possibilities and look forward to participating in the Shop and Score program,” Shimabukuro says.

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