With spring right around the corner and Easter just a hop and skip away, 11-year-old Poliahu Davis has been busy preparing for her chance to once again bring her community together.
The Hawaiian native started an Easter egg hunt in 2007 shortly after moving to Prescott Park in North Las Vegas.
“In Hawaii, Easter is a huge activity because it’s a day where families can all spend time together, and the kids hunt for eggs,” said Jan Davis, Poliahu’s grandmother. “When our family moved to Las Vegas in 2007, we didn’t really know anyone. So when Poliahu said she wanted to start an Easter egg hunt, we decided to invite the whole community.”
More than 5,000 plastic Easter eggs later, and the event has grown from 40 to 200 people.
Community members in the Prescott Park Homeowners Association neighborhood are invited to join the hunt at 11 a.m. March 26. There is a $2 fee to register, which includes a goodie bag. The event isn’t solely for fun; Poliahu makes it her priority to give back to those in need.
In the past, Poliahu has donated the money to Relay for Life and the Three Square food bank. This year, she decided to kick things up a notch.
‘This year, I’m focusing on our community needs in Las Vegas,” Poliahu said. “We’ll continue accepting coats for kids, and we’ll support the Vietnam Veterans of America to honor my papa who was a Vietnam veteran. We’ll also support Safe Nest, a 24-hour women and child abuse shelter, and St. Jude’s— which are all here in Las Vegas. We try to switch organizations every two years.”
As the egg hunt continues to grow, so do the volunteers. This year, Poliahu and a few of her family members and friends formed a committee of eight people to discuss their vision and ideas. Together, they are in charge of advertising, drawing the map of the hunting grounds and ordering the goodie bags.
The hunt in the 5-acre park is set to be divided by age groups: ages 1 and 2; 3 and 4; 5 to 7; and 8 to 11. Once the horn goes off, everyone races to see who can get the most eggs out of every age group. The winner receives a 1-pound chocolate rabbit.
“It doesn’t matter how many eggs they get because everyone gets an age-appropriate gift,” Poliahu said. “Some have apple sauce, chips, stickers or juice boxes. I want everyone to feel like a winner.”
Before, the admission price to enter the hunt was two canned goods, but Poliahu said sometimes people would bring expired items. Now, they mainly focus on financial donations.
Local resident Scarlett Walker has been involved since the beginning.
“I moved away a while ago, but I still come back because I love seeing all of the families having fun,” Walker said. “Poliahu does a great job of getting the community together.”
“The event has really grown into a big community effort,” Jan Davis added. “When we first started, we did it completely on our own. As it has grown, it has become one of our big annual community events. Our biggest supporters have been our HOA and our Colonial Properties management.”
The family started the event by spending $300 out of its own pockets, but family members all agreed it went to a good cause.
“We try to teach our kids to be active in the community,” Jan Davis said. “We hope this inspired people to act in their community. Anyone can do this.”
Since the hunt started, it has collected more than 250 pounds of canned goods for the food bank, 320 coats for kids and financial donations for Vietnam veterans and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s good to do it once a year,” Poliahu said. “I just like seeing families enjoy time with each other. I love seeing everyone’s smiles and watching them have fun. It makes all of the hard work worth it.”
To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email email@example.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.
Prescott Park Easter egg hunt
Community members in the Prescott Park Homeowners Association neighborhood are invited to join the hunt at 11 a.m. March 26.
There is a $2 fee to register, which includes a goodie bag.