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Communication No. 2013 -48 <br />From: Kristen O'Guin [mailto:aloha.nui.blessings] <br />Sent: Monday, August 05, 2013 3:13 PM <br />To: <br />Subject: SPACE <br />Dear Mr. Larry Brown, <br />Hi there. You might remember me — I came and testified at the hearing on Tuesday July 9th in <br />regards to SPACE. I am a teacher at the little charter school at SPACE, and I am also a resident <br />of Bellyacres. <br />I want to clarify something that was brought up at the meeting -- one of your members said <br />something about everyone loving the farmers' market and the school, but a few people being <br />opposed to having performances at SPACE. Well, the thing is, we can only continue to have the <br />market and the school if SPACE has enough money to operate. The biggest thing that I can see <br />is that we need to be able to pay Jenna, our director, so that she will not have to go off <br />somewhere else and find income elsewhere. We also need to be able to pay someone to do <br />maintenance and things like that. And this is the bare minimum... more people on staff would be <br />even better, and appropriate. <br />To discuss the situation a bit further, the farmers' market brings lots of income to a very poor <br />area. The SPACE market is one of only two markets, I believe, that accept EBT. I am one of the <br />fortunate souls to actually have a job in lower Puna -- not that common -- and do not need <br />EBT. But I believe it's about 50% of people in Puna (including upper Puna and everywhere) <br />have EBT. And a lot of those folks do not have the money for a car, so to have a place down <br />here where they can buy groceries and such is a real boon. A huge thing, though, is the amount <br />of money the farmers' market makes for the vendors of the market. The first year the market <br />accepted EBT, in EBT sales alone, vendors make a collective total of $50,000 (in just ONE <br />YEAR). It's NOT SPACE making that money, it's the people of the community. And that's just <br />the food /EBT sales, and does not include cash payments for food, or non -food items. Being able <br />to make income at the SPACE market has turned more than one person's life around. <br />As for the school, I realized after I spoke that our school is going into its 7th year, actually. I <br />have been so proud to work at a school where the children are actually happy to be <br />there! Imagine that! And the teachers too. I'm so thankful we've been able to offer children in <br />this area a great education. And last year we started a home - school program that works with <br />families who are home - schooling -- and lemme tell ya, this is an incredible service b/c most of <br />the kids who entered our program last year were way, way behind on most of their <br />academics. Not all, but most families who are doing home - schooling need some serious <br />help. So, we provide textbooks, curriculum, resources, computers, a library, tutoring, help for <br />the parents, a weekly check in with the families, electives, classes for children to get together <br />with other children their age once or twice a week, etc. Again, this is an incredibly valuable <br />service to the community. As a teacher, I'm so very thankful that we can impact children's lives <br />in this way. <br />