Fundraiser set for Habilitat Hawaii

By Roger Mari - bio | email

WINDWARD OAHU (KHNL) - A unique program at a Windward Oahu rehab center, helps substance abusers, battle their addictions.

A big event helps "Habilitat Hawaii" change people's lives.

Residents at Habilitat work hard setting up for their 9th annual luau event.  It's one of two major fundraisers for the center.

"It's not like your typical backyard luau.  This is something big, you know," said resident Jason Karichkowski.

Habilitat is self sustaining.  Service departments, as well as businesses and vocational training, are overseen by former and current residents.

"Where as a lot of programs rely on insurance, rely on state or federal funding," said Habilitat Marketing Director Becky Harrison.

From setting up the tents, fixing up the stage and preparing the food.

"Everything is prepared by residents of Habilitat, cooking for 2000 is defintiley not a small task," said Habilitat resident Scott Ryan.

It's a chance to apply the skills they've learned during treatment.  The hard work also gives residents a sense of self-worth.

"The people that are putting this on are the people that don't have a whole lot to be proud of.  I haven't done much in my entire life and I can sit back and say job well done, and I'll pat myself on the back," said Scott Ryan.

The combination of strength in numbers and working as a family, make this luau a success each year.

"In fact we have now made more money in ticket sales than we did last year and our live and silent auction we got just as much dollars worth of items donated," said Becky Harrison.

"At habilitat, we do big things, I'm excited to see all our work come together," said Jason Karichkowski.

The luau is Saturday at Windward Community College and runs from 11am to 5pm.

Featured entertainment will include Na Leo and Robi Kahakalau.