Celebrating Kelley Oshiro!
The time has come to bid Aloha to Kelley after her 4 amazing years volunteering with the Choose Love Movement.
Choose Love, or “Choose Aloha” as it is affectionately called in Hawaii, has become one, if not the most, successful SEL programs in the state. What began at one school in Kailua grew to more than 100 schools on Oahu and the neighbor islands combined. This can be attributed entirely to Kelley and her one chance meeting with Scarlett years ago. Since then thousands of young lives have been touched and forever changed as a result of her efforts. Choose Aloha has made, and continues to make, Hawaii and it’s keiki’s (children’s) futures safer and brighter.
Not long after the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut occurred, Kelley Lum Oshiro attended Ceeds of Peace, a speaker-led event in Hawaii held by her long time friend Maya Soetoro-Ng. Maya, sister of President Barack Obama, and professor at the University of Hawaii at the time, and Ceeds of Peace leader. The event featured Scarlett Lewis, a mother who had just lost her 6 year old son, Jesse, at Sandy Hook. Scarlett was invited by Maya to discuss her recently published book, Nurturing Healing Love. Scarlett talked about how that by teaching children how to connect, manage their emotions and grow through difficulty could have prevented the tragedy. Kelley was so taken with Scarlett’s story and mission that she approached her and said, “When you are ready, I want to help”. Shortly thereafter, Kelley became one of the first Choose Love Ambassadors to Hawaii, a position she maintained as a volunteer during her 4 years with the organization.
Kelley already had quite an impressive background in service prior to joining the Choose Love team. She had served as a Peer Mentor for the Pacific Regional Center, National Service-Learning Exchange, and had served with or on the following steering committees and advisory boards: Make a Difference Day Hawaii, Aloha United Way Youth Day of Caring, National Youth Service Day, to name a few. Not only is Kelley an avid philanthropist, she is also an accomplished author and songwriter. Her book Letting Go: A Memoir and her album Butterflies and Babes are testaments to her numerous talents.
When the Choose Love For Schools™ curriculum was ready to launch in Hawaii, Kelley hit the ground running. As luck would have it (or a little blessing from Jesse himself), Kelley learned of a grant that was available to a program that would promote Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools. The only caveat was that a local school needed to sponsor the SEL program to apply for the grant. With the grant due in only 2-weeks Kelley was able to recruit Ka’elepulu Elementary School in Kailua to became one of the first schools in the nation to adopt Choose Love. As a result of her initiative, Kelley received the Choose Love Movement’s™ first grant!
When Kelley wasn’t busy doing hundreds of presentations of her own, writing grants or fundraising, she worked tirelessly preparing for Scarlett’s visits. While Scarlett was in Hawaii, she stayed with Kelley and her husband Calvin at their home in Ewa Beach — they were instant Ohana (family). Kelley’s home would serve as their basecamp and their retreat after long days of presenting to schools, politicians and various organizations.
Kelley truly embodies the Choose Love spirit of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion and we will be forever grateful to her for her work with our organization.