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."

Spring deadline for Geist Scholarship is October 2nd


Former foster youth who missed the deadline to apply for the Geist Scholarship in the fall semester have another chance to apply and be awarded a scholarship to cover spring semester.  Students need to include a personal statement and upload some documents, so it is best to work on it ASAP.  Create or log into your account at the Hawaii Community Foundation here:

Surfrider Spirit Sessions

Know a foster youth who is interested in learning to surf?  For more information, contact Sam Rodrigues at 721-5662, or visit www.SurferSpirit.  There are still a few spots left for the girls sessions that start this Saturday.  More details below.

We believe at-risk youth are “Champions in Training” and we are their coaches who support them, and cheer them on to succeed in school, at home and work, and in our community and in life.

We’ve found an innovative and fun way to make youth reform and good citizenry “cool.”  Using surfing and ocean activities, we connect teens to positive role models and help them make better choices and live better lives.  Best of all, kids love us


We combine Hawaiian culture, athletics, socialization, mentoring, peer mentoring, and environmental education to develop new skills, enhance self-esteem, and build pro-social behaviors.  Teens are also supported to think proactively, to improve their relationships, develop healthier support systems, and attain better life skills.


Spirit Sessions consists of 8 consecutive Saturdays (4 hours) conducted by staff and volunteer surf mentors.  Every student is matched with a dedicated surf mentor. Each session begins with a life theme.  After surfing, the group assembles for lunch and to recognize their accomplishments, challenges and journal their experience.  They set goals and discuss how the surf theme applies to their life.  Sessions also include a mini environmental lesson with Hawaiian cultural perspectives and end with “Malama Aina” beach clean-up to collect cigarette butts. Graduates may choose to become Jr. Mentors to other youth at Spirit Session events and participate in an internship or work program.


Teens can be directed to the program through Judges and Probation Officers, social service agencies and youth support organizations, school counselor, or referred by an adult or parent.


  • FALL – September 16 to November 4

Girl’s Session – noon to 4pm

  • Special Surf Community Events. Please inquire for dates.
  • Inquire about setting up a private session for your youth

LOCATION: Kuhio Beach Surf Break in Waikiki by the Duke Kahanamoku Statue.

COST: Surfrider Spirit Sessions is FREE to all qualified youth ages 13-17.

TRANSPORATION:  Transportation not included. Youth must provide their own transportation to and from sessions.

Free Performances of “A Day in the Life”

Save the Date for FREE public performances of the play “A Day in the Life.” It is part of a campaign to bring greater awareness, understanding, and advocacy for young people exploited in human sex trafficking. Stay to speak with a panel of community members to discuss Hawaii’s response the commercial sexual exploitation of children after the play.

Please note the language and subject matter in A Day In The Life is uncensored and raw. Recommended for ages 12+. The play is performed by the Good Capp Art Ensemble.

“A Day in the Life” has toured cities throughout the US and brings a human face to the commercial sexual exploitation of young people. The powerful and riveting production will serve as a the spring board for the workshop’s agenda including a presentation by survivors of sex trafficking in Hawaii, a panel discussion on the societal and legal issues, and advocacy and resources available to assist victims of sex trafficking. Katie Capiello, the ensemble director, is an award winning theater teacher and play writer who has been honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in human trafficking and Project Impact, a leadership-through story telling workshop for youth and adult human trafficking survivors in New York. The production features actors and activist, ages 14-20, who tell the stories of youth survivors. These young activists have been vocal in their communities and schools about this issue and have lobbied alongside survivors in New York to decriminalize and fund programs to help victims of sex trafficking.

For questions please email or call (808) 546-0439.

Showings are:
Saturday, August 26, 2017 @ 1:00 PM
Kamehameha Schools, 1887 Makuakane St., HNL
Room: RSVP for update on specific building  at

Monday, August 28, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
U.H. School of Law
Moot Court Room
2515 Dole Street, Honolulu.
Parking in the parking structure on Lower Campus Road
RSVP and further information:

Planning and Support for this campaign provided by:  Susannah Wesley Community Center, Parents And Children Together, Hale Kipa, the Child Justice Center and it’s Interagency Committee on the Child Justice Act Grant, Friends of CASA-Hawaii (the Court Appointed Special Advocate’s program), The State of Hawaii-Judiciary and the Court Improvement Project, Domestic Violence Action Center, EPIC `Ohana, and the Department of Human Services.

Apply now for ETV funds for college

ETV Applications for Fall 2017 are available at
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
 Making satisfactory progress [“C” or better]
 Need more money for education and have a budget that is reasonable regarding the cost of attendance at your school?

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, 2017
Last day to file an application:  August 15, 2017
Awards will be issued on or about September 21, 2017

Housing Assistance in Hawaii

Former foster youth may access Section 8 vouchers via the Step Up program on Oahu.  Hale Kipa Case Managers can help.  Youth with Individual Development Accounts from the Hawaii Youth Opportunity Initiative can also access up to $1,000 per year in matched funds for housing if they can save up half of what they need for a housing deposit or first month’s rent.

The following is a press release about another program that can help Hawaii residents avoid homelessness by providing a low interest loan to cover costs of moving into new housing.

On Saturday, July 1st, a Hawaii-based nonprofit lending institution launched the Hawaii Community Lending Initiative to bring small dollar loans to Hawaii families as a tool for fighting homelessness.  The Initiative was announced by Hawaii Community Lending (HCL), a US Department of the Treasury certified community development financial institution, in response to Hawaii’s affordable housing crisis and to address a homeless rate that remains the highest per capita of any state in the nation. Since its founding in November 2014, HCL has assisted 184 borrowers build and repair credit, reduce debt, and secure or sustain housing.

“Access to capital is key to solving our housing crisis,” said HCL Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath, citing that Hawaii workers have the lowest annual average pay rates in the nation, yet face some of the highest housing costs[1]. “Many of us in Hawaii are one paycheck away from living on the beach or one deposit away from obtaining a rental. Our goal is to be a resource for local families to weather a financial storm, so they can secure and sustain housing.”

The Hawaii Community Lending Initiative is a partnership between the institution’s parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets, and St. Louis-based nonprofit, Justine Petersen. Through the Initiative, Hawaii Community Lending will provide Hawaii residents across the state with up to $5,000 to pay off payday loans, collections, high-cost credit, and for making emergency housing payments. The fixed-rate loans will be capped at an 8% annual percentage rate (APR).
According to Gilbreath, most Hawaii residents experiencing or at-risk of homelessness are unable to credit qualify for loans at local banks or credit unions when they face a financial emergency, forcing them to turn to payday loans which carry an average annual percentage rate of 459%.

“When our families borrow their next paycheck from payday lenders or get stuck in loans or credit cards at 29 or 30% APR, they watch their already limited financial resources squandered on interest,” continued Gilbreath. “As family, friends, and neighbors we have a moral obligation to ensure loans are available to our local families at affordable rates and at the same time, provide the education necessary to set them up for long-term financial success.”

All Hawaii Community Lending borrowers will be provided one-on-one credit counseling as part of their loan application process. Interest and fees earned from the loans will go to support the delivery of free financial education and housing counseling through Hawaiian Community Assets.

Hawaii residents interested in applying for a small dollar loans or to find out more information are encouraged to call Hawaii Community Lending at (toll-free) 1.866.824.0448.

Hawaii Community Lending is a nonprofit, US Department of the Treasury certified community development financial institution with a mission to increase access to credit and capital to underserved Hawaii residents and with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians. The Hawaii Community Lending Initiative is made possible in partnership with HCL parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets, and St. Louis-based nonprofit, Justine Petersen.

Register for Ohana is Forever Conference by Tomorrow

Calling current and former foster youth! Registration is still open for the 11th Annual ‘Ohana is Forever Conference, but the deadline is approaching!

Youth on Oahu can follow link to register. Youth on a Neighbor Island should contact their social worker or ILP worker to check on flight availability.

NOTE: Adult registration is by invitation only. If you are an adult supporter of foster youth who would like to come, please contact Sharon Simms at or
(808) 387-6040
to check on availability.