Success in our program can take a decade to see, but the results are truly worth the investment. Our biggest major accomplishment was from 2003-2006 helping an encampment with 75 children who were born 3rd-generation into homelessness escape this cycle and to this point in time 100% of all these families are still housed, employed and their children being born and raised in a home environment.
Homeless to College
Our newest high school graduate going to college. This amazing young lady is the very first in her family to graduate high school. She is now going on to the Culinary Academy through the UH System on a full scholarship.
Her journey has not been pretty, she lives with her disabled grandmother because her mother is incarcerated.
One of my Favorite Success Stories
I met a teenager at the age of 15 years old. She already had a 2 year old little boy and was pregnant living in a tent with her grandmother. During our monthly birthday celebrations for this encampment we noticed it was her 16th birthday. So, we made this a special event, brought a Sweet 16 cake, party favors and really wanted to celebrate for her. Her response was shocking. This was actually the first time her birthday had been celebrated. Her first birthday cake, her first celebration... this was heartbreaking as she was pregnant and had her own little son who would never had this celebration either.
Time went on and our back to school program was underway. She stood in line to get her backpack, her supplies, etc.
I told her, "sorry, you aren't in school, you don't need these items."
She quickly left and was very mad with us.
The next Saturday with her local style attitude she stood in front of me and threw her papers at me.
She said, "Now you have to give me school supplies, I am enrolled in adult education."
I went to the local shop and purchased all the supplies on her list and returned that day.
NOW FOR THE SUCCESS!
4 years later she graduated the early educational program and became a school teacher for the head start pre-school. She was in her own apartment with her two children and was doing well.
We provide life changing support and care enough to have the tough love it takes to turn away from just being a hand out. Our program is designed to help them succeed, and this young lady is the example of OUR WHY
Two Boys with Basketball Futures
This year 2020, we have TWO boys who are attending Kamehameha School (which is also a great feat). Both boys are on the basketball team and the senior has spoken with college scouts to consider for his graduation in 2021.
While this is still success in the making, this story represents so many of our youth that are only a few years away from their new future.
Living the Childhood Dream
This little guy started in our program around the age of 6 years old. He was living in a car with his single mom and one of the sisters. Mom found a boyfriend to move into a home (this is very common to find a man to live with), and the abuse began for this child.
While in our program this little guy was one of the brave ones, one who asked to hold the fire hose on our field trip during our Adventures Abound Camp. He was so proud of this experience and talked about it for weeks to come.
As his journey went on, mom eventually got into drug rehab, the children when to stay with their grown sister, and our journey with him continued as he grew to a jr. leader and eventually a teen mentor.
His sophomore year in high school he was on the football and wrestling team doing well and had a bright future in sports. Earning good grades and studying hard also earned him a spot in the future career program at the school. He applied and during his senior year he was accepted into the fire fighting academy.
This little guy didn't have much of a chance in life without intervention and a program designed to help children succeed.
We truly feel that our Adventures Abound Camp is the key to opening their minds to what is around them and the possibilities out there for them to dream about.
Homeless Mom to Restaurant Owner
This story begins at a gas station in Puna. I was pumping gas, and as it typically happens, a woman comes up to me and asks if I have money for gas for food for her children. She was living in a van with 2 little one's and needed help. I of course purchased food and gas and invited her to come to our Christmas party. This party became their tradition over the next few years, and she enrolled the girls in other programs we offered. Eventually she left the program and I hadn't heard from her in a while.
Years later I get a message on Facebook from a restaurant owner who would like to donate the pans of rice for our Christmas party. I kindly replied and didn't think twice. I then get another message stating that I might not remember her, but she knows me as her "Guardian Angel" that helped save her life and give her back her hope of a better future. She continued to state that because of our back to school and other programs she knew her children would be cared for and allowed her to focus on her dreams. She was the proud owner of a restaurant.
Due to the Lava Flow it did close down her establishment, but not her passion. She now has 3 mobile locations including one on O'ahu. Making her famous Poke Nachos and Rainbow Lemonade.
Living in the Middle of it.
One of the joys we have of living right in the middle of these poverty stricken area is that we can see the growth and change, even if it happens years later.
One of our frequent experiences is to be at a restaurant or a grocery store and have the cashier or employee come up to us and say, "do you remember me" and introduce themselves, share their memories of how we impacted their lives and more importantly share their successes with pride.
Many of these children do get lost or separated from our programs and we don't know what happens.
When they see us again they love to share their success. They love for us to know that because of something we did in their childhood they were able to escape the cycle with hope.
Many of these young adults have gone to college, some play sports, some took their education to earn degrees, and all of them feel good about the situation they are in today.
We have hundreds on top of hundreds of success stories and they all have one thing in common.
SOMEONE BELIEVED IN THEM ... we believe in them!
Long Road to Success
This story is one that statistically should not have happened. When this mom of 8 children came to our outreach program she was one that we know is probably not going to have personal change, but we can help the children, and at least take care of them while she allow us. She was living in a huge van that they had transformed into a bedroom and all slept on one mattress.
Mom was barely coherent most of the time and doing what it takes to survive the streets with 8 children.
Our program became a safe haven for her, one she know she could turn to for all her children's needs and no one would judge her.
Eventually she checked into rehab, her children were placed in protective custody and then returned her when she completed her program. Through all this we stood by her children and helped keep this family stable.
Fast forward 12 years later!!! She has had 5 of her children graduate high school, and all are employed. She has grandchildren who live in houses, and her teens at home are excelling in their studies.
Three years ago she purchased land and built a home for her children to live. They are on their way to success and ending this cycle of which they were all born.
To these children we are their family. They can't image life without the traditions Project Hawai’i, Inc. created throughout their childhood and they continue to connect with us to share their happiness of what our program provided with their own children.
Homeless Teen Mom to Entrepreneur
As so many of our homeless teens when we meet are in the cycle of repeating what they were raised in. This teen was in high-school when we met her and living in a car with her adult sister. Eventually finding property they could afford to build a make shift house, they were one step closer to escaping the cycle of homelessness. She became pregnant and could not complete high-school.
She was, however, an amazing artist and started making her own jewelry and clothing. She soon opened her own shop and sold online as well. While her children did grow up in our programs during their earlier years, those days are a thing of the past. Their childhood memories will be of their new house, their new life and their strong mother who took the steps the succeed.
Today this young teen whose odds were against her is a business owner, homeowner and met a wonderful man to share her life. She took her makeshift home and now allows other single moms the opportunity to move ahead as well.
The Barbie that went to College
As with many of our children we reach, we lose track of them due to clean sweeps or other situations. This little girl was one we had a very brief time with.
This little girls life changed when Santa came to her on Christmas Eve. Over a decade later she reached out to us via Facebook and thanked us for being in her childhood. She told us that she carried that Barbie with her everywhere she went, even when they had to leave everything behind because it represented HOPE to her. It allowed her the feeling that someone does care what happens to her.
And from her dorm room on the mainland, she sent a message letting us know her and her Barbie made it to college.