HCAP Weekly March 19, 2018

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HCAP Youth Services Bid Farewell to Class of 2018 and Program at Graduation
Family Moves into New Affordable Housing Village in Waianae with Help From HCAP
Income Tax Services Volunteer Obtains Skills in Human Services
American Society of Civil Engineers Chapter at UH Visits Kalihi STEM Students
Ke Ola Mamo Visits Kumuhonua


HCAP Youth Services Bid Farewell to Class of 2018 and Program at Graduation

Photo of YS Graduation

On March 16th, HCAP Youth Services (HYS) held the Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremony at Pomaika’i Ballrooms at the Dole Cannery. The event was a particularly emotional event for everyone who attended – this was HCAP Youth Services’ last graduating class. The program, which began in 2000, is ending this month.

The ceremony began with the live performances of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi” by HYS graduating students Angelica Macosi and Katrina Rodriguez. Following the opening songs, HCAP Executive Director Robert Piper delivered the Director’s Address. Piper talked about kuleana – one’s personal sense of responsibility – and how it is up to each person to fulfill our kuleana in society. In her delivery of “A Word to the Class,” HYS Teacher Mhoana Cruz addressed the members of the graduating class and encouraged them to be ready for the unexpected. “It is okay to feel scared, and mistakes will be made,” Mhoana said. “But as long as you persevere and stay determined with your goals, success will come.”

The theme of determination was also echoed by Alumni Speaker Daniella Rodrigues, who talked about how her mother’s absence growing up, only made her drive to succeed even stronger. Graduating students Jake Serious and Mikayla Peleras talked about the obstacles they overcame during adolescence and acknowledged the role Youth Services played in “opening doors” and making them “feel like home.”

After all the speeches, HYS Program Coordinator Krystal Ikeda presented special awards to outstanding graduates. The big moment finally arrived when Mhoana led the Presentation of Diplomas; the students, one by one, walked onto the stage to receive their hard-earned Hawaii Adult Community School Diploma. Parents and loved ones cheered on as the graduates moved their tassels from right to left, and convened for a Class of 2018 picture. To close the ceremony, everyone in the crowd joined the students in singing their class song, “Today My Life Begins” by Bruno Mars.

Congratulations to the HCAP Youth Services Class of 2018! We wish you a future full of promise and possibilities!


Family Moves into New Affordable Housing Village in Waianae with Help From HCAP

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On March 19th, the City and County of Honolulu officially opened Kauhale Kamaile, a 16-unit modular affordable housing village; Mayor Kirk Caldwell presented three families with keys to their new homes. It was a poignant moment for Kumuhonua Transitional Living Center’s Rapid Re-Housing Program Specialist Nara Uli and Leeward District Service Center’s Community Services Manager Val Tavai, who were on hand to witness William Joshua, his wife Bernice, and their four children move into their three-bedroom complex. The Joshua family will receive rental subsidies through Kumuhonua’s Rapid Re-Housing Program for the next six months.

The family also received household items from Kumuhonua and the Leeward District Service Center. The Leeward District Service Center provided the entire project with pillows and sheets, donated by Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club Bell Team. Additionally, the Leeward District Service Center will be working closely with Marriott to see if they can provide beds to Kauhale Kamaile, since none of the units have beds.

The rental subsidies allowed the Joshua family to move from a beach in Nanakuli to a home of their own right across Waianae High School, next to Maluhia Lutheran Church on Farrington Highway. To live at Kauhale Kamaile, residents have to earn 50 percent of the area’s median income. The project is on a 1.1-acre lot and constructed by the City and County for approximately 5 million dollars. The property is managed by ASI Hawaii. A one-bedroom unit runs for $981 and a two-bedroom runs for $1,177.


Income Tax Services Volunteer Obtains Skills in Human Services

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Current Bank of Hawaii employee Kristen first heard of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) & Financial Empowerment Coalition in her accounting class at Cal State Northridge. When Bank of Hawaii managers informed her that HCAP, a member of the Hawaii VITA & Financial Empowerment Coalition, needed volunteers for their Income Tax Services/ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, Kristen happily signed up. Kristen credits Corporate Office tax site coordinator Robin Fakaosi for making her first day as a volunteer less nerve-wracking (“she’s super nice and super helpful”). Although the Hawaii VITA-sponsored trainers covered the ins and outs of tax filing and walked participants through the professional TaxSlayer software, Robin gave Kristen some pointers on how to interact and communicate with clients during difficult situations (i.e. insufficient documentation, income ineligibility). In her day-to-day routine, Kristen works behind-the-scenes in trust services at Bank of Hawaii; working one-on-one with tax filers in the local community has been a rewarding challenge and a nice change of pace.


American Society of Civil Engineers Chapter at UH Visits Kalihi STEM Students

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This past Thursday, the students at the Hā Initiative: Creative STEM After School Program’s Kalihi STEM Exploration Center, a 21st Century Community Learning Center received a visit from members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The ASCE members set up and organized an afternoon of games with the STEM students. The three different types of games – Spaghetti Tower, Aluminum Boat Building, and Jenga Giant – were there to challenge the students to think and strategize just like an engineer. They had to think creatively to come up with solutions. The students really enjoyed themselves and this visit is definitely one they would never forget.


Ke Ola Mamo Visits Kumuhonua

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Last month, Ke Ola Mamo paid a visit to the Kumuhonua Transitional Living Center; the organization was on hand to present a workshop on high blood pressure and take blood pressure of the residents. Ke Ola Mamo staff gave helpful advice on how to control and maintain normal blood pressure, and provided recommendations and strategies on how to prevent high blood pressure. During their visit, Ke Ola Mamo’s case managers also completed intakes on several residents and provided referrals to their ongoing health and medical resources.