Maui Kids Cook With Heart

Inspiring healthy eating for students and their families

The American Heart Association (AHA) is teaming with Maui chefs to give Lahaina-area students and their families a taste of better eating.

To encourage healthy eating among youth and their families, the AHA developed the Kids Cook With Heart program to teach elementary, middle and high school students how to prepare healthful meals as a way to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Studies show that youth who are involved in preparing their own meals are more likely to eat nutritious foods, and more fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the program gets kids excited about trying new foods, and encourages them to share this passion with their families at home, thus expanding the program’s reach.

The program boasts a special curriculum designed to meet the needs of local families, align with the Hawaii public schools’ syllabus, and embrace the native and traditional foods in Hawaii. The program is supported by some of West Maui’s best-known chefs who volunteer their time, knowledge, passion and local flavors to the classroom. Among the chefs giving their time include: Paris Nabavi Craig Erickson, Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, Jojo Vasquez, Kaipo Nagata, Riko Bartolome, and Ryan Luckey. The volunteer chefs are coordinated by AHA Project Coordinator and Chef Rob Mason. With their help, the Kids Cook With Heart program is making a profound impact in the Lahaina community, and inspiring a new generation of healthy eaters.

The Kids/Teens Cook With Heart program will be offered in Lahaina-area elementary, middle and high schools during the 2018-2019 school year through a generous grant to the AHA by the Saunders Family. The AHA hopes to expand the program to other Maui communities if it can attract additional community funding for the program. A crowdfunding site to help fund the program’s expansion has been created. Supporters can text MAUIKIDS to 71777 or visit

For more information about the program, contact Eva Bondar, Development Manager for Kids Cook With Heart, at 808.212.4861 or

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – Hawaii’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. The organization teams with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved locally, call the AHA’s Honolulu office at 808-377-6630. From neighbor islands, call toll-free at 1-866-205-3256.