Hawaii's Everyday Heroes

Brett Bulseco
Brett Bulseco
Marnelli Joy Basilio
Marnelli Joy Basilio
Francis Quibilan
Francis Quibilan

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - They are in our communities, hidden to many, but helping in their own way to make our Hawaii a better place. They are ordinary people with an extraordinary passion for other people.

Meet one local hero who's making a difference with Pearl City's young adults.

Young dancers at the Pearl City youth center are learning more than just fancy footwork.

They've also stepped into a program that teaches them how to make positive choices and has them sharing the lessons they've learned with younger kids.

"All the other programs are teaching them to say no but not teaching them what to say yes to. These kids go out and tell young kids this is what we said yes to." says Program Director Brett Bulseco.

To be a part of this program, teens have to maintain a 3-point-oh grade point average and do ten hours of community service a month, performing in positive assemblies for elementary schoolers.

"Its showing them a positive example and its possible to do this kind of stuff." says Youth Center Volunteer, Marnelli Joy Basilio.

As part of this program, these kids not only give of their time, they also receive guidance and confidence.

"It helped me realize you're really good at this so maybe you should pursue this." says Francis Quibilan, a senior at Pearl City High School.

This program has come a long way in the dozen years its been around, after starting as a positive place for a young girl gang member --

"It was her last chance find an organization to join or go to jail - and she came to me and more soon followed. At first we had the gang members, the drug users and the drug dealers." says Bulseco.

But Brett's program replaced gang beatings with beats. As the teens found something they could all relate to -- music!

Now, the gang members are gone, but this group is still helping troubled teens and Brett is still here.

And to truly understand his dedication and commitment to troubled kids, you have to go back, to an incident that happened before the program started.

When Brett was a teen corrections officer and attacked by young man in custody.

"They got a baseball bat out, and I got hit maybe 5 times in the head from behind and I went down. I had lacerations on my head and lost hearing in one ear."

But instead of anger at the attacking teen, there was concern.

"I couldn't understand why there wasn't more treatment occuring inside the facility"

Now, Brett is reaching young adults before they head down the wrong road. Helping these kids step in the right direction.

"We want to let them know, you can still be a kid and accomplish great things."

Brett volunteers full time at the Pearl City teen center, and works part time at the Honolulu Community College to help pay the bills.

He has also started up a new program for community college students to help them continue to learn important life skills outside of the teen program.