Hawaii's Heroes: Amanda Weston - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Heroes: Amanda Weston

Amanda Weston Amanda Weston
Jasmine Fujisaki Jasmine Fujisaki
Amanda Weston's wedding Amanda Weston's wedding
Amanda & Jasmine Amanda & Jasmine

By Steve Uyehara – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's rainy, wet, muddy and cold as Amanda Weston and Jasmine Fujisaki hike up Saint Louis Heights, but they're not complaining.This is one of their favorite hobbies.

"Once you get up there the view is gorgeous," says Amanda wet from the rain but with a spirit far from dampened.

"Then you have that real sense of accomplishment. It's just like other areas of life. If you work hard, you push yourself; you can get anywhere you want."

That's what Amanda's been telling Jasmine for eight years now. That's how long they've been together in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. And Jasmine can still remember the very first uphill trek.

"Yeah, it was hard," says Jasmine.

"It was worse than the jogging and the running and the PE in school. But it was really beautiful."

Jasmine was 10 years old when they first met, and in danger of going down the wrong path. She was raised by a single mom who was dealing with lupus and recovering from drug addiction. Temptation was always there.

"I have a lot of friends who talk about yeah, when I was doing this drug, or when I was in jail for this" Jasmine says as a look of concern spreads across her face.

"So I'm glad that I'm not part of that."

Weekly hikes, a lot of small talk and Amanda's positive presence helped keep Jasmine focused, and they quickly became friends. In fact two years ago Amanda married her husband Jim on the beach near the Kahala Resort & Hotel. Jasmine even helped plan it.

"I just had a very small wedding," she remembers.

"But I absolutely had to have Jasmine there. I had one other friend but other than that it was just family and then Jasmine 'cause she's part of the family."

But they had some tough times, and Amanda kept encouraging and reminding Jasmine that life can be an uphill climb.

"I definitely wanted Jasmine to work hard. But, well she struggled through high school so that was a bit frustrating. But we made it through."

Now that that's behind them Jasmine is looking to continue her education at KCC. As for Amanda, she's a lawyer by trade. She moved here to Hawaii from New Zealand when she was just a kid.

"I was 11 and very shy and I had a very strong accent back then," says Amanda. "And when I would speak to people, they couldn't understand me."

But Amanda knows she has been blessed. And she's always wanted to give back. Being the youngest of four kids, this was the perfect opportunity.

"I always wanted a little sister and I got one," she says.

Jasmine chimes in, "I'm about to start college and I just feel like I'm going to be successful and it's all thanks to Amanda. Now that I've got to know her, don't tell her, but she's my idol."

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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