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HDOT NEWS RELEASE: Walk wise Hawaii partners with McDonald’s restaurants of Hawaii and Kama’aina kids for pedestrian safety poster contest and education program

Posted on Jul 24, 2015 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU – Walk Wise Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) pedestrian safety campaign, is partnering once again with McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii to educate over 9,000 children at 74 Kamaaina Kids locations across the state on good pedestrian habits.  Over the past six months, representatives of the Walk Wise Hawaii program, McDonald’s owner/operators and Kamaaina Kids site coordinators have been teaching Hawaii’s keiki how to be good pedestrians through its Kupuna Pledge Card program and pedestrian safety poster contest.

“This is an opportunity for us to change pedestrian behavior for the next generation,” HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami said.  “These children will understand that it is no longer safe just to look left and right before crossing the street but to always be aware of their surroundings while in the crosswalk.”

The education program consisted of onsite visits where children were taught the “Seven Tips to Safety” which addressed a variety of pedestrian safety best practices such as always cross the street at a crosswalk, always make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and always wear bright and reflective clothing while walking at night among other safety tips.

“This program is in its fifth year and we are seeing a change in the way our keiki behave toward pedestrian safety,” Kamaaina Kids co-founder Ray Sanborn said.  “The safe and unsafe pedestrian scenarios demonstrated by the Walk Wise Hawaii team really gets the children involved and helps them understand what will keep them safe while crossing the street.”

After learning the “Seven Steps to Safety” each keiki was asked to take the Walk Wise Hawaii Pedestrian Pledge and share these tips with a kupuna in their family.  As a reward for sharing these tips, each child was given a free Happy Meal from McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii.

“We are happy to provide an exciting incentive to our keiki who commit themselves to practicing safety habits while crossing the street,” McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii regional marking manager Melanie Okazaki said.  “As part of our ongoing commitment to raising awareness about pedestrian safety, we are joining forces with Walk Wise Hawaii, Kamaaina Kids and the Department of Transportation and visited schools statewide helping to educate keiki on the ‘Seven Steps to Safety’ and administering the Pedestrian Safety Pledge.  We encourage all keiki and parents to be more aware of their surroundings when at a crosswalk and to ultimately stop, look both ways, and continue looking while crossing the street.”

To reinforce the “Seven Steps to Safety” message, each child was asked to draw a poster of one of two basic pedestrian safety rules: (1) always make eye contact with drivers while in a crosswalk and (2) always wear bright and reflective clothing while walking at night.  Over 5,000 poster entries were received and reviewed by representatives of Walk Wise Hawaii, the State Department of Transportation, the Honolulu Police Department, City & County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services and McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/managers.  Twenty posters were selected that best depicted good pedestrian practices and those twenty posters will be put on display at the State Capitol as part of Pedestrian Safety Month in August.  Each winner will receive a Walk Wise Hawaii yellow tote bag, red reflective blinking light and a special gift bag from McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii.  Award certificates from the State will be given to each child at separate awards presentations on each island.

As part of the official launch of Pedestrian Safety Month in August, two posters will be selected and featured to represent Walk Wise Hawaii on McDonald’s tray liners throughout the state during the month of August.  It is estimated that over half a million residents and visitors will be exposed to the Walk Wise Hawaii messages to (1) always make eye contact with drivers while in a crosswalk; and (2) always wear bright and reflective clothing while walking at night.

The top twenty finalists’ posters will be put on display at the following locations in August:

·        Hawaii State Capitol – August 1-31
·        Kahala Mall – August 1-15
·        Windward Mall – August 16-31

In addition, the posters can be viewed online on the Walk Wise Hawaii Facebook page at

Category “Always wear bright or reflective clothing when walking at night”

(1)        Edison Cheng                Salt Lake Elementary School (2nd Grade)            OAHU
(2)        Zariel Daniels                Kahului Elementary School (5th Grade)                  MAUI
(3)        Jayna Gaspar                Ben Parker Elementary School (6th Grade)         OAHU
(4)        Jourdain Jarret-Berinobis        Kaneohe Elementary School (4th Grade)                  OAHU
(5)        Evelyn Lakkala                Mokulele Elementary School (3rd Grade)                  OAHU
(6)        Tevita Hala Latu                Waiakea Elementary School (5th Grade)                  HILO
(7)        Thomas Merritt                Wilcox Elementary School (1sst Grade)                 KAUAI
(8)        Caylyn Moni                        Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary (6th Grade)         HILO
(9)        Tia Tanimoto                             Kaumana Elementary School (4th Grade)             HILO
(10) Krysten Baugh                Nanakuli Elementary School (6th Grade)                  OAHU

Category “Always make eye contact with drivers while in the crosswalk”

(1)        Tayhani Aninion                Waiakea Elementary School (4th Grade)                HILO
(2)        Mattea Ciboch                Kokohead Elementary School (3rd Grade)                    OAHU
(3)        Annabelle Gregor                Sale Lake Elementary School (5th Grade)                    OAHU
(4)        Connor James                Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary (4th Grade)                OAHU
(5)        Keira Kawachi                Wailuku Elementary School (4th Grade)                MAUI
(6)        Lilah Li                        Kula Elementary School (5th Grade)                MAUI
(7)        Ruimin Lin                        Salt Lake Elementary School (5th Grade)                OAHU
(8)        Kahiau Mainaaupo-Reilly        Konawaena Elementary School (4th Grade)        KONA
(9)        Kaitlyn Respicio                Waiakea Elementary School (5th Grade)                HILO
(10) Taylor West                        King Kamehameha III (1st Grade)                        MAUI

About Walk Wise Hawaii
Walk Wise Hawaii is a public education program focusing on pedestrian safety and driver awareness and is sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Transportation through its “Safe Communities” program with funding from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Walk Wise Hawaii has employed extensive outreach methods including partnerships with public and private entities since its inception in 2003.

About Kamaaina Kids
Kamaaina Kids is a private, non-profit, multi-service organization dedicated to serving children and their families through quality childcare programs.  Our services include, but are not limited to, preschool programs, before & afterschool programs, day camps, environmental education programs, enrichment programs, sports clinics, convention childcare, and hotel programs.  Kamaaina Kids is made up of several divisions employing approximately 1,000 employees and serving nearly 9,700 children and families daily.  We are currently one of the largest childcare providers in the State of Hawaii.

About McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii
McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii has 86 restaurants and more than 5,200 employees in Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan.  In Hawaii alone, the company has 76 restaurants and more than 4,600 employees.  McDonald’s total economic impact on the state, directly and indirectly, is about $370 million in spending and nearly 12,000 jobs in the community.  McDonald’s prides itself on offering career opportunities to employees, with most managers staying with the company for more than 18 years.  Follow McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii on Twitter at @McDonaldsHawaii.

About McDonald’s
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 27 million customers every day.  Nearly 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local business men and women.  Customers can now log online for free at any of the 11,500 participating Wi-Fi-enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants.  For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Click here for the “Seven Steps to Safety.”