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Island Ladies and Island Gents program expanding this year

By Staff | Sep 5, 2019

At the end of the semester is a once-in-a-lifetime black and white tie gala.

LAHAINA – The Gentlemen By Choice (GBC) Island Ladies and Island Gents after-school outreach empowers our West Side students to extend their education beyond the classroom into new realms of personal growth.

In 2015, the GBC co-founder, Richard Jack, introduced the enrichment classes to the West Side at Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School.

Since then it has traveled up and down Lahainaluna Road; and, in the 2019-20 school year, it will serve the Lahaina Intermediate School (LIS) ‘ohana.

Its mission is to enrich the lives of our youth through Leadership, Image, Finance and Etiquette (LIFE) skills training.

LIS Principal Stacy Bookland is an enthusiastic and proud advocate.

“This is our third year,” she advised. “We continue to support the program, because the students, parents and teachers believe in the program and want it.”

“What is unique about this year is we have ‘program graduates’ who want to come back and be positive mentors to their peers,” a pleased Bookland noted, adding, “I swear the positivity is contagious!”

With Jack in Vegas overseeing GBC efforts in Nevada and Washington and potential expansion to New Jersey in 2020, Dawn Jackman is the volunteer Maui coordinator.

“Mrs. Dawn Jackman and her husband Jared are the primary reason why the program is alive and thriving in Maui,” Jack affirmed.

Dawn is a Transformational Life Coach and a certified teacher; this is her second year in the lead.

“This year, we have decided to start the program in the fall and continue into the spring; covering two semesters,” Jack said. “Maui is the only chapter that has taken such an aggressive approach. This speaks directly to Mrs. Jackman’s dedication and desire to serve the youth of Lahaina as well as the community.”

Jackman is quick to share the success. “Our community partners are our lifeline, and we cannot thank them enough for their support.”

Bookland agreed. “It (Island Ladies and Island Gents) connects our community business members as mentors to positively interact and provide learning experiences in appearance, etiquette, finance and overall character traits to be successful in life.”

Brandon Maeda is the complex director of food and beverage at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas and The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas. He serves as the GBC Island Ladies and Island Gents board president.

Maeda is a firm believer, as is The Westin. It hosts what has now become an annual affair, a luncheon where the ladies and gents are able to practice their new etiquette skills and manners in a formal setting, served by the resort staff.

“We would simply like the program to live up to its purpose and intent, which is to provide young adults the tools, training and opportunities they need to grow in to productive and contributing members of our community,” Maeda explained.

“The purpose and values that the Island Ladies & Gents teach align with the values of our resorts: we see the well-being and care of children as our kuleana or responsibility, as they will grow to be the foundation for our community for the future. They will also be our next generation of leaders, so instilling confidence, strong personal values and work ethic is of highest importance,” the Westin executive added.

The course’s curriculum is full.

“We engage in multiple community service projects, as well as fundraisers, including Lahaina Town’s Second Friday,” Dawn said.

She described their participation in the monthly event. “We have a booth. We sell food. We sell T-shirts.”

It’s a practice-what-you-learn experience; the ladies and gents pass out brochures, shake hands, establish eye contact and tell about the program.

“We did it all last year. Sept. 13 will be the first Second Friday of the new school year,” she announced.

At the end of the semester is a once-in-a-lifetime black and white tie gala. It’s a show-off-and-reward event. It’s more than memorable. The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa opens their doors and hearts to the participating families. There’s dancing, song, speeches, tears of joy, recitals and laughter.

Island Ladies and Island Gents classes commence the second week of September, continuing through the first semester one day a week. A second, advanced session begins the first week of February 2020 and runs through the second semester – again, one day per week.

Ladies meet on Tuesdays and Gents on Thursdays commencing after the last bell until 3:30 p.m.

“This will give students time to get to their other extracurricular activities,” Dawn noted.

Classes are open to grades 6-8, limited to 25 students, with costs paid for by LIS.

“We try and keep it as cost-free to students and their families,” the program coordinator said.

“Students or parents can obtain an application from the LIS office or contact me directly via e-mail at Dawn.Jackman@Gentlemenbychoice.org or by telephone or text at (651) 247-4990,” she concluded.