What is RIF?

Reading Is Fundamental, Honolulu, Inc. (RIF-Honolulu) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves children in areas on Oahu.

• Encourages a love of reading through book ownership.

• Provides 16,000 books a year to K-3 students in under-resourced communities on Oahu.

• Is staffed entirely by volunteers.

100% of all contributions to RIF-Honolulu are used exclusively for our Oahu children’s reading program.


Kahalu’u Elementary’s Monkey Pod Tables and Benches

Many years ago, Uncle Eldean Kukahiko lived across the street from Kahalu’u Elementary School.  He attended the school as a boy, and through the years his family stayed close to the school, and his grandchildren also attended.

Uncle Eldean was a pastor and kupuna at the school, befriending both students and teachers, as well as teaching ukulele.  Several years ago a large monkey pod tree, planted in the 1960s on the campus, blew over during a storm.  Uncle Eldean had an idea.

He got permission from the city to harvest the tree and use the wood. The school’s parent community helped him find a wood worker who sawed  and milled the wood into planks.  Uncle Eldean decided to teach his best friend, Peter Fields, how to turn the planks into tables and benches.

This was a lucky decision, because half-way through the project, Uncle Eldean passed away.  The tables, benches, and poi boards were completed by Peter Fields at the Parks and Recreation area in Kahalu’u.

Now, two lovely long tables and four benches grace the Kahalu’u Elementary School Library with their beautiful shapes and rich grain.

The students sit at them every day, and the RIF volunteers especially like coming to Kahalu’u Elementary to sit at the tables, and to look over books and enjoy the delicious snacks provided by Ms. Kobashigawa and Mr. Nakaoka.  Students in every grade pound poi on the beautiful monkey pod poi boards twice each year, led by Uncle Eldean’s wife, Aunty Darlene.outlook india

The Latest

  • We at RIF Honolulu wish all a very merry holiday season – and winter break at schools!  We’ll resume book distributions in January, so until then, thank you for your support in 2023, and we’re looking forward to a great 2024!

  • Our Newest: Kalihi Waena Elem

    Kalihi Waena joined our RIF program as our 18th school! Along with our other schools, we’ll be visiting their students two more times this year, during our Winter and Spring distributions. Lots more fun, free books, and pride of ownership to go around!

  • Welcome …

    Summer Break is coming to an end, and RIF volunteers are looking forward to distributing books at our now-18 schools (this will be Kalihi Waena’s first visit) soon! Much to be done before then, but, as the ’60’s song says, “See you in September”!

  • Mahalos from students and schools

    We successfully wrapped up our visitations for the school year, and have received many mahalo notes from the students.

    Schools this year have told us:

    “The volunteers .. have not only inspired a passion for reading, but also helped to cultivate important skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. It is so important to encourage a love of reading in children, and the volunteers do an outstanding job of engaging our students and making the reading experience both fun and educational. Their dedication and commitment to promoting literacy are truly admirable, and we are so grateful for everything they do.”

    “[The students] get so excited when they know that our valuable and hardworking RIF volunteers will be on campus because they know that after the book talks are done, they’ll each get to choose their own book to keep. It’s funny because that’s when they all start to sit up straight, trying their hardest to behave so they’ll get first pick of all these wonderful books! The RIF program not only sparks our students’ interest in reading, but it also helps them to become better readers.”

    RIF volunteers thoroughly enjoyed their times with students, after having to stay away for so long due to the pandemic. See you next school year!