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."

Surfrider Spirit Sessions Fall 2018

Our friends at Surfrider Spirit Sessions are looking for young people interested in free surf lessons with a mentor.  Details below…

Spirit Sessions – A Surf Mentoring Program
Spirit Sessions is an adult mentoring for at-risk, vulnerable and adjudicated youth, ages 10-17, on Oahu that utilizes surfing as a metaphor to support youth in making healthier choices and choosing better pathways to success. (Please note that spaces are limited.)
Our FREE 8-week experiential program applies a unique curriculum that combines surfing, adult and peer mentoring, Hawaiian cultural lessons, life skills training, and eco-therapy and environmental stewardship to teach youth new ways of thinking.
Enrollment is simple. Fill out and submit an application signed by the youth’s parent or legal guardian. Send completed applications to:

PO Box 1677, Kailua, HI 96734 or email to
Applications are due August 24th.
To request  an application contact or visit our website at
Spirit Sessions is free to qualified boys and girls, but space is limited. Youth will need their own transportation
to and from our sessions In Waikiki. Youth are accepted on a first-come, first-serve bases. Enroll now and save your space on the beach.
Join us for a pre-session orientation for youth, parents and referral agents on August 22, 3:30-4:30 pm, 902 Alder Street, Honolulu, 96814. Parking is available. Call 593-1718 for directions or to RSVP.
Session Information:
We meet at Canoe’s in Waikiki by the Duke Kahanamoku statue (next to the Moana Surfrider Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue).
Sessions are held for 8 consecutive Saturdays, Sept. 1 – October 20. Boys and Girls meet at different times, either morning or afternoon. A schedule will be finalized by late August.
What to Bring:
Rashguards, surfboards, mentors, lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please bring a towel, comfortable water attire, and a great attitude.
For questions or more information call 593-1718 or email
Surfrider Spirit Sessions / 808-593-1718

The Power of Art!

Mahalo to the artists and poets who participated in the YES! workshop on Friday, July 20th 2018 at the Ohana is Forever Conference.  Here is a sample of what was created.  The task was to create a piece of art that represents the artist’s foster care experience.

art pic 1

Ohana is Forever Conference July 20th

The annual conference for youth and the child welfare professionals that serve them will be held on Friday, July 20th 2018 at the Ko’olau Ballroom in Kaneohe.  Current and former foster youth statewide, aged 14-26 are welcome to attend.  Click this link to register:  Register for Ohana is Forever

Are you eligible to attend? Only if you fit one of the criteria below:

  • Youth and young adults currently in foster care or Imua Kākou, ages 14 and older; 
  • Former foster youth who aged out of foster care at age 18 and are under age 27;
  • Former foster youth who were placed in legal guardianship at age 16 or older and who are under age 27; and
  • Former foster youth who were adopted at age 16 years or older and who are under age 27. 

How to Apply for Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funds for college students

ETV Applications for Fall 2018 will open on on May 1st


Do you need more money for education?
Does this sound like YOU:
 Between the ages of 18 -21 [or 22 if you received ETV $ when you were 21]
 Aged out of DHS Foster Care at 18 or older; or
 Adopted at age 16 or older from DHS foster care; or
 Legal guardianship to a relative at age 16 or older from DHS foster care.
 Attending an accredited institution of higher education in Fall 2018
 Continuing college student making satisfactory progress [“C” or better]
 Need more money for education and have a reasonable budget?

If this sounds like you, apply for ETV free Federal money – This is not a loan.
ETV Awards can go up to $5,000.00 per year – based on need.
Young adults in a DHS program like Imua Kakou (Extended Foster Care),
Extended Adoption or Guardianship Assistance, and Higher Ed may be eligible

Not sure if you may be eligible? File an application and DHS will figure out
if you are eligible. If you have questions or need help, contact your worker, GAL or
one of the Independent Living Providers listed below:
Kauai: Hale ‘Opio, 808-245-2873,
O‘ahu: Hale Kipa, 808-589-1829 ext. 251,
Maui: Maui Youth and Family Services, 808-579-8414,
Hawai‘I Island: The Salvation Army – Family Intervention Services, East
Hawai‘i: 808-959-5855, West Hawai‘i: 808-323-8174,

Application period opens: May 1, 2018
Last day to file an application: August 15, 2018

Students who plan to attend college in Fall 2018 should already file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and apply for scholarships.  If there is a gap between how much you have been awarded and how much you need to cover your tuition, books, supplies and expenses than ETV can help fill in this need.