Though the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, in many important ways the U.S has turned the corner on a long, frightening spring and summer to embrace a more proactive approach to the novel coronavirus.
In Hawaii, the Keiki Heroes campaign is taking action to empower young children to use smart health and safety practices in the midst of COVID-19.
Educating Hawaii’s Youth on COVID-19
Keiki Heroes launched in mid-August to educate Hawaii’s youth, known as keiki, on how to adopt healthy practices to keep themselves, their classmates, teachers, family, and community safe.
The campaign serves as a STEM Community Care project and emphasizes that keiki can be heroes by helping to protect those around them. The Keiki Heroes team has made significant progress in less than a month by distributing posters and flyers to elementary schools, public libraries, community organizations, and local businesses across Hawaii island.
A sponsorship from the Hawaii Island community has made it possible for Keiki Heroes to create and distribute its materials, add more to its website, create videos, and launch island-wide public service announcements. From Canada France Hawaii Telescope and Gum Design to Hawaii Science and Technology Museum and UH Institute for Astronomy, Keiki Heroes has strong support in the local community.
Aligning with the Department of Health’s Guidelines
The messages conveyed by Keiki Heroes aren’t random; they align carefully with Hawaii’s Department of Health guidelines. The group also supports the Department of Education’s reopening school guidance.
Keiki Heroes also works in partnership with local pediatrician Dr. Craig Burger to make sure the state’s young people aren’t forgotten.
“When our community is strong and healthy, we all benefit. Keiki Heroes is a way to help our keiki and their families understand how they can help keep themselves and keep their family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Targeted teaching to children in a way they understand, is an effective way to empower them, lower anxiety, and educate their parents and families,” said Burger.
Partnership With Local Artists
Keiki Heroes even collaborates with local artist and author Yuko Green to create posters and flyers with art that incorporates Hawaiin cultural symbols and relatable characters. College student Jake Au assisted in these efforts by working with Christian Engelhardt of Gum Design for graphic design and website development.
“I volunteered to work on the Keiki Heroes project because I believe it’s going to make a huge difference for teachers, students, and families. I wanted to help school staff like my mom and students like my three younger sisters feel they have some level of control when returning to school,” said Jake Au. “This project and the people involved have provided me with an internship experience that I never could have imagined when I came home last spring.”