First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
A few years ago, local teenage volunteer Luke Aloe noticed that many youth with special needs within his community felt isolated.
Inspired by Dominic, his older brother who has autism, Luke created a social group which meets monthly for teenagers with disabilities in the South Pasadena area.
“The name Moai comes from the moai social groups in Okinawa, Japan, where residents have some of the longest lifespans in the world,” explained Aloe, a junior at Loyola High in Los Angeles. “Their long lives have been credited to these social groups, where they keep in touch with their friends throughout their lifetimes.”