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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight: Mark John Mangayayam

By the end of August, eighteen-year-old Mark John Mangayayam will be attending his first collegiate class in San Francisco. A recent graduate of Farrington High, Mark John has been one of KKV-KVIBE’s most dedicated volunteers - regularly clocking in twenty hours per week of peer mentorship for Kalihi’s youth. Mark John had never owned a bicycle prior to KVIBE, and four years later he is returning the gesture to the neighborhood’s underserved youth.

Farrington High science teacher Jonathan Lott introduced Mark John to KVIBE. An avid cyclist, Lott is often seen at Hawaii’s road races and on city streets with an urban life machine. Lott explained to his class about the KVIBE program and its intentions to promote healthy lifestyles via bicycles to youth of Kalihi. Curious, Mark John ventured to KVIBE and built a BMX bicycle that would serve as his transportation for nearly a year.

Mark John has been integral to KVIBE’s evolution. Always on board to undertake tasks above and beyond, Mark John has been building the KVIBE program to its potential. He believes in the program growing; as each event gains more success and publicity from the general public, Mark John hopes KVIBE will become a definite voice for cycling advocacy in Kalihi and beyond.

“It’s nice to see kids learn from beginning to end...bikes bring people together,” says Mark John. KVIBE has refocused its program to be instructional based, and has done so by reorganizing its warehouse space and policies. Mark John alongside Larry Victorino, Aaron Kosuga, and Eilif Knutson have systematically developed a haven of positive mentorship.

These days, Mark John is preparing to move out of his family home in Kalihi Valley. He will begin his next chapter at the Academy of Arts in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Throughout the summer though, Mark John will be giving back to the youth the same acts of kindness he was afforded by the KVIBE program.

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