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

  • Kauluwela Elem is 135 years old!

    RIF volunteer, Fred Sheng, visited Mrs. Romy’s second grade class on February 15th.

    Kauluwela Elementary was mentioned in the Star-Advertiser’s “Rearview Mirror” column by Bob Sigall as being “at the same location…since 1888, the 14th year of King David Kalakaua’s reign. The school had Oahu’s first telephone…and electric lighting. School equipment didn’t include a water fountain…water ran into a wooden trough where students could dip water with their hands to drink or simply put their faces into the water.”

  • More from Kalihi Waena

    Top: Ms. Whiting’s 1st grade class gave RIF a very nice thank-you photo ❤️📚

    Bottom: RIF reader, Maile Davis, visited Ms. Wilmington’s 2nd grade class on January 30.  It was a happy surprise and reunion since the two were high school classmates and friends!

  • 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!