They sold chili, soap and plants. All to help non-traditional students get to college

They sold chili, soap and plants. All to help non-traditional students get to college

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The rolled up banner behind Karen Young's couch comes out whenever the Women of Waianae hold a yard sale.

Over the years, the small non-profit has done all kinds of fundraising.

"We did chili sales. We sold soap. We sold plants," Young said.

She and a handful of friends started Women of Waianae years ago to raise money to help older people in Waianae go to college.

"We could see that there was poverty and lack of access to good education. Much of it was money, the barrier of not having enough money to go to school," she said.

In 1990, they presented their first scholarship award to Staci Cheek, a young mom trying to make ends meet.

She dreamed of becoming a nurse.

"It just got me started on a whole new journey. Education just seemed so far away." she said.

The award was only a few hundred dollars but it helped her with her first year's tuition. She got other scholarships and eventually graduated with a nursing degree.

Young estimates Women of Waianae has helped about 200 Waianae residents go to college.

She calls them non-traditional students.

"These are people who have children, who missed the first opportunity to go to college because they had other obligations or they weren't ready or they didn't have money," she said.

The non-profit takes applications and awards scholarships based on the person's need and how determined they are to better their lives.

There are now about 20 women in the non-profit. This year they awarded $26,000 in scholarships to 15 recipients.

"We love our community. We want to help the people who are from here to be able to stay here, to live here, to flourish here," Young said.

Fundraising is now more sophisticated.

Women of Waianae also gets donations and grants to help people get the education they want but can't afford.

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