Mt. Carmel Church Lends a Hand in Oahu, Hawaii


By Dominic Quaranta

The Mt. Carmel Youth Ministry will travel to Oahu, Hawaii this summer to support Nanakuli, an in need community located near St. Rita’s Catholic Church. “Our involvement is about bringing awareness to the conditions at St. Rita’s,” said Vanessa Dixon, the director of the trip and the head of the Youth Ministry.

The Youth Ministry is also collaborating with Tiburon resident Celeste Chapman, who grew fond of Nanakuli during a past trip to the area, and is chaperoning this summer.

Chapman began her efforts in the community last year, helping raise an estimated $5.5 million dollars to renovate and rebuild St. Rita’s Church for the community.

“Our service work will be directly with St. Rita’s parishioners in the impoverished conditions of Nanakuli,” Dixon said.

So far, there are 35 members confirmed on the “Hawaii Leadership and Mission Trip” Facebook page, but students continue to join.

“We got in touch with St. Rita’s and they were clearly in need of our help so we thought it would be a great opportunity to not only create a bond with this parish, but also address the common misconception that just because it is Hawaii, they must all lead great lives,” sophomore Carla Cardamone said.

Mt. Carmel’s Father Pat said that this area is “vastly different from the rest of Hawaii. It is an area that most tourists won’t venture into. Geographically, it is very beautiful, but it is the poverty that has given it the reputation that it holds.”

“The thing that sparked my interest was the fact that it is all funded by the kids and it does not matter how much money [their] parents have,” junior Carter Hiti said. “I am mostly in [the program] for the leadership experience and not so much [for the] faith.”

In order to raise the $30,000 needed for the transportation of the members, Dixon has organized several fundraising parish dinners and raffles at Mt. Carmel Church. On May 10, the church hosted a luau in downtown Mill Valley that included barbeque, live music, games, bounce houses, and even a dunk tank.

“Often we associate leaders with power, but it is the connections that the person has that makes a good leader, not just the person,” Father Pat said. “A strong bond between students will form and after living in this area for long enough, they will begin to feel a part of it.”