Appreciation to All Volunteers & Supporters of Project Dana

January 31, 2010

Kung Hee Fat Choy & good morning: On behalf of Project Dana Advisory Council, I would like to express many thanks to all of y9ou volunteers and supporters of Project Dana for your sincere commitment to make the 20th Anniversary celebration such a meaningful and successful event.

The question is raised: What do we do next? We have been made increasingly aware of the universality of frailty and aging and we wish to pass on the value and significance of volunteer care giving to the next generation. It is an opportunity to make aging an uplifting experience and to engage young people into anticipating what they might do to be of assistance and comfort to their grandparents. Recently we have added a young University of Hawaii at Manoa, student Bryson Ho, to the Project Dana council. He is very thoughtful, caring person, always willing to help the elderly. We know he will be a good role model for the future youth who are willing to be caregivers to the elderly.

We know that, throughout our nation and the rest of the developed world, the elderly sector is expanding more rapidly than the rest of the population (with Japan experiencing the largest impact of an aging society). This growth will definitely continue into and perhaps thought the 21st Century. The group of elders aged 85 years and older, often fall into the category of “frail elderly” because they have disabilities and require ongoing care.

Government Agencies have outreach programs but it is often challenging for them to penetrate the diversity of cultural systems. Families are eager to retain their privacy, and they do not always want to admit that they need assistance. When family members find themselves unable to deal with aging issues, they often feel more comfortable with attention provided by members of their own religious congregations, and that is why programs like Project Dana are so essential and valuable.

To all of our wonderful volunteers, let me convey deep appreciation for the kindness you give to our Na Kupuna – increasing their happiness and well-being in very significant ways. My hope or 2010 and beyond is that everyone will continue your good deeds and remain powerful role models, Placing care giving in every bolder relief, not only locally, but nationally and globally as well.

An important “feather in the cap” for Project Dana was being recognized as one of the “Best Practice Care giving Programs in the Nation” because of the extraordinary contributions and talents of our volunteers, and, of course, of Rose Nakamura, who became the initial recipient of the Rosalyn Carter Care Giving Award in 1993 and who was honored as one of the outstanding models o care giving by the AARP Magazine this past year. Such recognition of Rose and your fine work has placed a shining spotlight on Project Dana nationwide and around the world.

Much has been accomplished the past twenty years, and it is time to recommit ourselves and continue service in spirit of Dana, making it a household word for encouragement and compassion for others.