E ho‘ohuli ka lima i lalo. Turn the hands down. [When your hands are working you can be productive.]
Volunteer Staff and Board of Directors
Mercer "Chubby" Vicens, BOD President, A proven executive and leader with strong success driving community relations and business growth for over 40 years and regarded as a sharp troubleshooter and solution oriented individual. Passionate about building strong relationships and working collaboratively in the Maui community. With more than thirty years with Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. Mercer has been intricately involved in the community and governmental processes while interfacing with the State of Hawaii Governors, Mayors of Maui County, and the Maui County Council furthering projects that have shaped and made Maui a better place to live and do business. Throughout his career Mercer continued his education thereby honing his leadership and managerial skills and became increasingly involved in various community and non-profit endeavors.
Anella Saito-Takabayashi, BOD Vice President. is an active member of the community to prevent child abuse and neglect participating in the Ho’oikaika partnership, has a background with work in the substance abuse field, and at-risk youth through Maui Youth and Family Services. Her degree in social services has enabled her to provide services to a multitude of at-risk youth and special needs individuals across the state. Employed at Catholic Charities Hawaii and working closely with the state of Hawaii Child Welfare Services, Anella provides Resource Caregivers with training and support while working with and caring for the foster children in their home.
Kaʻi Herrick, BOD Treasurer/Secretary
Neal Hoapili Ane, Executive Director, has extensive knowledge in kalo cultivation, ranching, management and inspiring those around him to be a better person and leave their mark in this world. With his ability to work with local stakeholders, community groups, and county officials this project has the potential to become a Pu’u Honua or bread basket for the surrounding community and source of cultural revitalization. Our Ho'oulu 'Aina Farm partnership has hosted over 2000 volunteers and provided job training for people with disabilities
Renee Vegi, Malama Service Dogs Program Director, My husband Maleko and I live on a small farm in the same area Maleko grew up, where we are living the dream of organically growing our own food and raising our own chickens and ducks along with our many farm kitties/kitty rescue . Shortly after moving to our farm, Maleko had a near-fatal accident, that left him with a traumatic brain injury. Although he is blessed to be very functional, we knew with his new limitations coupled with my disabilities, it was quite clear that we were going to need some extra help keeping track of, managing and keeping the poultry safe around our small homestead. This started us on our journey of breeding, training, and donating english shepherds to be used a service dogs. We love the work we do and partnership with the Living Pono Project.
Maleko Uchimura, Malama Service Dogs Program Director, was injured while installing a garage door in February of 2008. Due to the defective cables given to him by the garage door company, Maleko sustained skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. During his recovery and rehabilitation Maleko and his partner Renee joined the Living Pono Project to establish the Malama Service Dog Program. Through this program they have bread, trained, and donated 3 service dogs to individuals in need. (in-kind services totaling $150,000)
This is our awesome and dedicated crew leaders Kaha'i Ane and Koa Mahuna. They are in the field tirelessly planting, harvesting, pulling weeds, and leading volunteer activities.
"If you don't KANU than you no can HUKI" (If we don't plant our native foods than we can't harvest and provide for our family)