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.

The Latest

  • Mahalo .. and Aloha!

    These are just a few of the MANY thank-you cards, letters, and posters that students made for their RIF readers this school year.  The messages inside are sweet and often funny, but some 3rd graders’ letters were tinged with a bit of sadness as this would be their last RIF year (we serve pre-school through third grade).  We’ll miss them, too, and hope they’ve discovered the joy of reading, especially for fun, during their four years with RIF.

  • A Blossoming ‘Thank You’ from Kauluwela Kids

    Ka’uluwela Elementary third grade students presented their special thank you card to Mrs. Tam at their last RIF visitation of the school year. Each child wanted to show her the “petal” they made to express their mahalo to her for reading to them, reminding them why reading is so important (especially over the summer months while they won’t be in school), and allowing them to select a book of their own.