stuck on aloha

Barry Villamil
Stacie Kunihisa
October 31, 2019

With Aloha, Love Lives
Barry Villamil

Hawaii is unlike any other place. We have a long history of people with a loving nature that still thrives today and a welcoming, compassionate culture that embraces everyone with aloha. You can see this spirit alive and well in Pearl City.

In November 2017, the owner of the Pearl City Shopping Center called me to discuss a new project — an inspirational wall where patrons and the community could share messages. It would be a wall that brought people together instead of separating them. A name came to me: With Aloha, Love Lives, or WALL for short. I put up a sign and a few cups holding pens, sticky notes, and tape. When I left for the evening, 10 messages were posted. The next day, a hundred more went up.

As the WALL grew and filled with messages, it took on a life of its own. People put their hands on the WALL, where they found healing power in the positivity expressed in the notes. I decided to designate a special section as a Healing Wall, which quickly filled and expanded. It’s an honor to manage the Messages of Life WALL, share it with others, and experience the healing power of words.

It’s even more rewarding to see how this aloha spreads throughout the community. I’ve been especially moved by how Kanoelani Elementary School has created its own version of the WALL to its campus as part of its Choose Love curriculum.

Barry Villamil is the web editor for Pearl City Shopping Center’s website, He’s also a community liaison representing the s hopping center's support of the Pearl City community.

Learn More, Care More, Be More 
Stacie Kunihisa

You’ll find this slogan in the hallways, classrooms, and hearts of everyone at Kanoelani Elementary School. Teachers, staff, and students live and breathe this concept daily. We firmly believe that providing everyone with tools that help manage emotions and regulate mental well-being is nonnegotiable.

To be featured in Barry’s Stuck on Aloha book about the WALL is such a tremendous testament to the endless efforts that Kanoelani staff exerts every day. The three student stories share how Choose Love, a free, science-based program, empowers individuals and builds resiliency. Teachers use Choose Love ion campus for students and apply the formula to their own lives. This is huge. The Choose Love movement is cultivating hope and building a future of courage, forgiveness, gratitude, and compassion in action.  

Our school supports the emotional development of every child. Choose Love keeps us stable and together. Our staff and students are excited to spread the aloha and model the WE > ME mentality that every community needs.

Stacie Kunihisa (left) is the principal of Kanoelani Elementary School.

A book signing with Barry Villamil and students from Kanoelani Elementary School for Stuck on Aloha will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center from 1 - 2:30 p.m. A portion of purchases made on the signing day will be donated to Kanoelani Elementary when you mention them at checkout or present their book fair voucher.

Photos: Watermark Publishing

Read more about the WALL and Pearl City, the 16th happiest city in the nation.

What's your message of aloha? We want to know. Share it in the comment box below. 

Share this article

By commenting, you agree to Island Scene's Terms of Use.