From the warm golden beaches and shimmering blue oceans to the lush green valleys, Hawaii is nothing short of a tropical paradise. However, as with most beautiful and coveted things, there is a darker side that’s less talked about, less known. There is a price for paradise, and that price has cost many the opportunity to have a good education, a home in a safe neighborhood, and a job to pay the bills plus support a family.
Playground Art Crew was founded by Jeff Kaneta in August of 2016, using his background in business and graphic design as a way to give back to his community.
He explained, “Living in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t have much perspective on the state of poverty in our islands. It was all that I knew. As I got older, I realized there was a large disparity between the reality of Hawaii’s local culture and the tropical paradise perpetuated by our tourism industry. Tourism is Hawaii’s number one industry, and many times poverty is swept under the rug.”
Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the nation, yet also some of the lowest wages. As of 2016, one in six Hawaii residents live in poverty. This is the harsh reality of paradise.
Playground Art Crew's mission is to inspire creativity in students through providing art supplies and lessons. Each clothing purchase translates into a bag of art supplies for a student in need. Once a specific purchase goal is reached, PAC partners with a local school to arrange a donation coupled with an hour-long art lesson.
Through this one for one donation concept, PAC customers will have a direct impact towards the company's mission. With each donation, PAC hopes to empower students with tools for self-expression in the midst of their uncontrollable and often volatile environments.
“The highlight of the project has to be the interaction with the students. There is something truly special about a gift that is unexpected. It’s not so much about giving away free art supplies as it is giving students an experience that they can revisit after leaving the classroom. It’s about feeling empowered.”