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Lahaina teens launch new nonprofit to help people and society

By BY WALTER CHIHARA - | Oct 22, 2020

ImprovingEveryOpportunity was founded by Taryn Cabingas and Hunter Higdon. Their first project was a beach cleanup.

LAHAINA — It is a tribute to the parents and families of West Side youngsters as the spirit of malama pono — to nurture in a motherly way that which is good and righteous — is manifested in growing accounts of positive action in the community.

Most recently, two Lahaina grown teenagers launched a nonprofit organization with a simple goal — to help people and society.

ImprovingEveryOpportunity is the brainchild of Taryn Cabingas, a 17-year-old senior at Lahainaluna High School, and Hunter Higdon, a 19-year- old 2019 Luna graduate, employee at Napili Kai Beach Club with an eye on college and a medical career, and an aspiring musician as well.

But for the present chaos of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, these teens have turned the turmoil into an effort to ease the tension by actively engaging in a project to nurture a positive future for the community through the IEO nonprofit.

In the midst of the pandemic, Cabingas and Higdon launched the effort that started with studying up on starting a nonprofit and then following through with the first project.

ImprovingEveryOpportunity began with a beach clean-up at two of Lahaina’s most popular ocean front playgrounds: Baby Beach and Mala Wharf.

Two weeks ago, the group of 11 volunteers joined Cabingas and Higdon in the inaugural project.

Maile Cacal, Lexi Cowan, Hanna Rubio, Lisa Cabingas, Rhea Ingan, Casey Neizman, Amy Khoang, Lance Abut, Gabriel Ramirez, Daniel Miranda, Jenaveve Jackson and Hanna Rubio backed up Taryn and Hunter to form the first IEO force in the beach clean-up effort.

The Oct. 6 project collected ten large rubbish bags that filled pickup trucks and hauntingly included syringes, drug paraphernalia and countless alcoholic beverage containers.

The next effort will be aimed at the Kaanapali Beach area.

“It’s been a hard process with all of the registration paperwork for a nonprofit,” Taryn explained last week. “I got a book — ‘How To Start a Non-Profit In Every State” — to read up on how to do this, and we got help from family members and contacts in the community to get it going.”

“Napili Kai Beach Club, 808 Boards and T-Shirts, Jaelle Designs Jewelry, and all of our families and friends have helped us out. We’ve been helped by many small businesses and organizations with documentation of our work and food drives. We’re always looking for more sponsors, and we truly appreciate everyone’s help.

“Please look us up on Instagram at ImprovingEveryOpportunity as we try to help all young people figure out what to do to attain their goals. We really want to grow the organization as much as we can and hopefully see it in every state,” she concluded.