By Jason Tang
KAKAAKO (KHNL)-- Every Monday and Friday afternoon at Kakaako park, a group of up to 100 young men play football. And though it may appear like another pick up game between friends, a deeper look reveals there's much more than football being played.
"Basically what we do with our young men is try get them off the street or if they're not doing anything and if they're up to no good, we try give them a vehicle and that vehicle is sports," said Nate Dudoit, director of Liahona Youth Empowerment.
The group works to help special needs, at risk youth and young adults to live healthily, and be role models in society.
"I believe that it's something that will help other people, I see a couple autistic guys out here and it also helps us as athletes to prepare us to go to the collegiate level," said Kali Kuia, a staff member for the group.
"My favorite part is the ladder, because I was running fast and it makes me healthy, faster and buff," said Vance Grossman, an autistic participant.
"I think this helps a lot, they can build more confidence if they come out and run around with all the bigger guys, and builds up self esteem," said Ryken Enos, also a staff member for the group.
But for Coach Nate, the thing that helps drive his desire is seeing the youth growth together.
"Working with kids with autism is a beautiful thing to see because it's not only that they're benefiting here, the able kids, these are the ones that are making out as well, they get to grow with these kids and these kids that have autism it's a great opportunity for them to get in the mainstream, for me that's the best part of what I do."
Liahona youth empowerment gets together every Monday and Friday at Kakaako park, and everyone is welcome to participate. Other members of coach Nate's staff include warrior football players, Inoke Funaki and Solomon Elimimian.
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