HCAP WEEKLY April 15, 2024

HCAP Specialist Creates Art Expressing Culture of Micronesian Islands
Kalihi-Palama Staff Helps Client Build a New Start
Caregiver Finds Support in the VITA Tax Program

HCAP Specialist Creates Art Expressing Culture of Micronesian Islands

Outside of her valuable work as a HCAP Weatherization Specialist, Lissette Yamase, is a self-taught artist from the islands of Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Her art serves to “preserve and celebrate the profound stories, cultures, and values of the islands [she calls] home.” Born in Palay and spending a portion of her childhood in Saipan, her artwork is significantly “inspired by the unique lifestyles, people, landscapes, and traditions across Micronesia.” To preserve such rich culture she puts oral traditions into tangible artwork skillfully utilizing various mediums such as pencil, charcoal, and acrylic paint. She creates artwork that instantly sparks a connection with those who also find familiarity in the depiction of everyday life in the Micronesian Islands, such as in her pieces, “Mama in her muumuu” and “Granny Drinking Sakau.”

Beyond her feats in the art world, Lissette has been able to illustrate two children’s books with Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV), “Mwa Machang” and “Silent Warriors,” published with Bess Press and written by a Chuukese author known as, Mama Innocenta Sound-kikku. She is in the works of publishing two more books with them that will also tell stories from the island of Chuuk.

In early January, Lissette was invited to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle as a guest for their Global Indigenous Artist series. There, she had access to their oceanic cultural collection and spent a day in the museum’s Artist Studio to promote her work and meet visitors. She was also invited to speak with a class at the University of Washington. In partnership with some of their grad students, she is in the works of creating a project to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) to Pacific Islanders.

Her pieces range from large and bold to highly-detailed. From a young age, she has been a passionate illustrator, then in 2013, she relocated to Oahu to further her education. Here, she found that creating art was an outlet for her to deal with her homesickness and allowed her to reconnect with her roots through drawing. Lissette found that the art resonated with a lot of younger kids, inspiring a newfound pride and curiosity to reconnect with their own cultural knowledge – especially for those who were raised in a mixed household, similar to Lissette, or those who are of Micronesian descent but have never been to the islands.

Lissette has been featured on various panels and displayed her artwork at annual festivals celebrating Micronesian cultures and the larger Oceania region.

To experience Lissette Yamase’s culturally rich artwork for yourself, they will be showcased at the following upcoming exhibitions/locations and months:

7 Degrees North exhibit at the University of West Oahu’s Library (now until December)

Pasefika at The Downtown Art Center (June)

The Festival of Pacific Arts (aka Fest Pac) at Capitol Modern – The Hawai’i State Art Museum (June to December)

Click Here to see more of Lissette’s art.

Kalihi-Palama Staff Helps Client Build a New Start

When Lambert came to seek guidance from HCAP, he was homeless and unemployed. Lambert had done intake with the Kalihi-Palama District Service Center in February and applied for services with our Nā Lima Hana Employment Core Services (ECS) Program. The Kalihi-Palama staff began with helping him obtain his birth certificate in order for him to receive his state ID, this was the first step for him to begin his job search and land a few temporary job positions. However, HCAP staff was not able to reach him until he returned to the office in March to get help in obtaining his birth certificate again.

The Kalihi-Palama staff discussed his progress in landing a job and becoming independent. Lambert shared that it took him strong commitment and soul searching to realize what was necessary to become self-reliant and a contributor towards the community.

HCAP is thrilled to hear he now works three different jobs as a tow truck driver, a plumber and a maintenance worker while living in his own apartment. During his time as a client here, he had referred many others to the program to receive assistance with trying to create stability for themselves. Kalihi-Palama staff is proud of Lambert for his hardwork and dedication leading to him becoming independent. HCAP wishes him the very best with his journey from here on out.

Click Here to learn more about Nā Lima Hana Employment Core Services.

Caregiver Finds Support in the VITA Tax Program

For over ten years, Flordeliza and her parents have been coming to HCAP to prepare their taxes through the VITA Tax program at HCAP.

Flordeliza began coming to the Kalihi-Palama District Service Center with former Community Workers, Robin Fakaosi and James “JoJo” Upega. As a caretaker for her parents, Flordeliza expressed her and her parents’ gratitude for HCAP staff, Robin and JoJo, for providing tax and emergency food assistance to her family when they needed it most. She and her parents live on a fixed income and depend on free tax services like the VITA Tax Program to help them receive their full tax return without being charged for fees beyond their budget.

A few years ago, when Flordeliza’s father passed away, she and her mother moved to Chinatown Honolulu where it became harder for her to accompany her mother on the bus while commuting to the Kalihi-Palama District. Flordeliza was so happy to learn that tax preparation services were being offered at the HCAP Corporate Office in Downtown Honolulu where Robin and JoJo were also now working.

Click Here to learn more about HCAP’s Income Tax Services.