Megan Patrick is here today to answer some great questions about Project Hawaii.
Project Hawaii’s mission is to enhance the lives of homeless children throughout the year by providing interactive programs. Their goal is to help them escape their cycle of poverty by helping them gain self-esteem, build life and social skills, and keep them healthy.
Q: Can you share how the donations Project Hawaii receives impact the homeless keiki in Hawaii?
A: Because Project Hawaii is a non-profit organization run 100% by volunteers and solely supported by public donation, 100% of all your donations go directly to various programs that benefit our homeless children.
Some of those programs include monthly outreach, our summer education program, monthly food and clothing distribution, school support, and holiday events.
Q: How does Project Hawaii impact or break the course of homelessness that is currently happening today?
A: Our program works to build relationships with the families through the children by providing interactive solutions that help them escape their cycle of poverty. We use educational programs, job training, and the support of the community to help the parent escape their cycle and then use educational and mentor programs to help the child escape their cycle as well.
Q: Can you share a success story on how Project Hawaii has impacted a particular child’s life from when you first started to now? Is that child still homeless?
A: Years ago, I met a 16-year-old child who was pregnant and already had a 2-year-old. She was being raised by her grandmother on the beach. She was able to go back to school and we supported her through her community college where she got her early education degree. She now has a full-time job and lives in a two-bedroom apartment. She and her children were able to end that cycle of poverty after three generations of being born on a beach.
Q: What is your growth plan for Project Hawaii?
A: Our plan is to add more sustainable programs for the parents of homeless children. Part of accomplishing that is by providing job skills and training programs that we are working on with the community. We have already partnered with more than 2,500 local restaurants that are willing to help with training that will get those parents work ready.
Q: What is Project Hawaii’s five-year goal, and what will Project Hawaii do to reach that?
A: We actually have a couple five-year goals. One of them is our teen mentoring program. Our summer education program is only for children ages three to seven and over the last decade, children who attended the summer education program in the past turned into 13- to 17-year-olds. So, we are improving our teen mentoring program and focusing on helping those teens reach their educational goals.
Our second goal, which is to create a transitional housing program, is our most ambitious one. We are working with different community support systems to build a transitional facility that will have long-term effects. There we will be able to train parents on life and social skills, as well as job readiness, so they can end their cycle of poverty.
Q: What events or opportunities do you have throughout the year for volunteers so they can help Project Hawaii reach their goals on helping out homeless keiki?
A: We have several different volunteer opportunities, some of which are things you can do from your home or place of work, like helping us gain partnerships and community relations. We also have volunteer activities every month where we do fundraising and outreach with the homeless children.
We are always looking for volunteers that have fundraising or marketing experience or other skills that can help Project Hawaii improve.
Q: Besides volunteering, what other forms of contribution can people make to help Project Hawaii?
A: We are solely supported by the public, so donations are always welcome and appreciated. We don’t have any government or state funding, so our programs are only as successful as the community support we get.