Gift is aimed at helping homeless keiki get much-needed stability in their lives

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Feb. 4, 2019 at 3:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Inside a tiny classroom at the Institute for Human Services, education comes in the form of life lessons.

It’s a place where stability is established among children whose lives have been consumed by hardship.

“They’re never sleeping in the same place, they’re never eating at the same time. They’re not going to school. Basically, nothing in their lives is normal,” said IHS spokesman Kimo Carvalho.

Every month, more keiki are enrolling in the IHS Children’s Enrichment Program. That’s why a gift from the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’re certainly honored and excited to present to you this $57,000 check,” chamber President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said.

For the past eight months, resources at the Children’s Enrichment Program have been stretched to the limit. There is just one coordinator for more than 150 children.

Monday's donation allows them to hire more staff.

Menor-McNamara called the support an investment in the future.

“Any impact today will have an impact tomorrow and for years to come,” said Menor-McNamara.

The money will allow the program an opportunity to help more children.

“They’re at higher risk for crime, for violence for unemployment,” said Carvalho.

So IHS sees the education program as breaking the cycle of homelessness ― one lesson at a time.

“That means basically getting them to school on time, making sure mom and dad can help them with homework after school," he said. “We get them eating three meals a day at the same time. We make sure they’re getting some sleep. All the basics of really developing a healthy childhood.”

The program is still in need of volunteers.

“We need knowledge from the public. We need specialists who have early childhood education backgrounds," said Carvalho.

To learn more about IHS and how to donate, click here.

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