Youth Empowerment & Success (YES) Hawai‘i is new program administered by Family Programs Hawai‘i, in partnership with EPIC ‘Ohana and the Department of Human Services."Empowering young people impacted by foster care."

School Advice from Students

pexels-photoThe summer has gone by in a flash and already time for school! Here are some tips from students (one from middle school and one from high school) when asked this question: “what advice would you give to a teen about how to have a successful school year?” This article was published in Psychology Today by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann MS, LPC.

From a 8th grader (middle school, male)

  • Try your best.
  • Don’t sleep in class.
  • Don’t tick off the teacher.
  • Get to class on time.
  • Be nice to people.

From a 11th grader (high school, female)

  • Keep a positive attitude throughout the year.
  • Stay organized.
  • Keep up with your work.
  • Stay away from drama.
  • Stay focused.

Read more about what they had to say in the article, “Five Back-to-School Tips for Teens.”

Last week for foster youth to enter the Creative Expression Contest


Artists, poets, and musicians up to age 24 can enter the Creative Expression contest.  Turn your feelings about your foster care experience into art.  Go to for contest guidelines.  Win $100 for your essay, poem, song, or short video on the topic of, “What Family Means to Me”.  Deadline is August 20th, so act fast.

Start Planning for College


YES! Hawaii is working with Leeward Community College on Oahu to plan a college workshop in September.  It will be open to current and former foster youth who are juniors or seniors in high school, or recent graduates who are interested in attending college.  The focus will be helping students find degree programs that fit their career interests, compare costs, and learn about scholarships and financial aid.  More details coming soon!

Click the link below to learn about 5 things students can do now to prepare for college applications


5 Back to School Tips


It’s that time of the year again where summer has come to an end and the anticipation of homework, class schedules and exams comes creeping in. To prepare you for the upcoming fall semester for college students and upcoming school year for elementary to high school students, here’s five quick tips to get you started.

  1. Have all of your supplies. Check your course supply list or school supply list to see what you need for each class. Make sure to always have pens, pencils and erasers; a folder, and a notebook or notepad to write with for the first day of class.
  2. Memorize or write down your schedule. It’s always important to know where you have to go the first day, otherwise you could get lost or be late to class. Keep your schedule close and have it ready to look at if need be.
  3. Learn what type of learner you are. Knowing how you take in information is key in acing your class. There are three well-known learning styles: audio, visual and kinaesthetic. You can learn more about these learning styles here and the best ways to learn (
  4. Set academic goals. Maybe this year you want to try to get that 3.0 GPA or maybe you want to join a extracurricular activity. Whatever your goal is, write it down and strive for success!
  5. Don’t procrastinate. We always say it, yet we always do it. This time around make it your goal to not procrastinate studying and being prepared for all exams, tests and assignments.

How to Gain Financial Freedom

money-card-business-credit-card-50987Financial freedom or independence is the idea that you have the ability to live well without worrying about money or debt. You’ll be able to have money for emergencies, trips or savings, without the issue of living off paycheck to paycheck.

According to The Minimalists, here are five ways to gain financial freedom:

  • Budgeting. It can be one of the toughest things to do, but if you find a rhythm and look at past expenses to see where you can cut down, you’ll be able to save a ton of money. Create categories, set boundaries, and adjust your budget where necessary.
  • Invest in yourself. What this basically means is to put away money for your personal savings to start a plan for your future.
  • Debt free. According to The Minimalists, you will not feel free until you are debt free. Knowing there’s no money owed is a huge stress relief.
  • Minimize. Start minimizing by donating or selling items you don’t use anymore. All this money could go to paying off your debt.
  • Contribute. “The shortest path toward freedom is: appreciating what you already have.” Contribute your biggest asset, time, to those in need.