Homeless woman turned a drive to help others into a job ... and a path off the streets

Homeless no more , a new job provides 61-year-old with fresh start

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cindy Tokita is the kind of worker you wish you could duplicate.

From making sure guests at the Hie Hie mobile hygiene center have what they need to bagging toiletries and cleaning showers, the 61-year-old is on the go from the moment she clocks in.

"I love it," said Tokita. It means a lot to me. I just want to give back to other people."

Her passion for the job is personal.

It wasn’t long ago she was living on a sidewalk near Old Stadium Park and was a guest of the hygiene center herself. It was a place she loved so much she began volunteering.

Back then, she was donating her time to help staff at the mobile hygiene center.

Two months later, she was offered a full-time job. And soon after that, she was able to move into an apartment complex for seniors.

“We absolutely love Cindy," said Darrah Kauhane, the project’s executive director.

She said Tokita connects with clients in way most others can’t.

“She’s able to encourage them with her own story,” said Kauhane. “She’s able to identify with them and what they’re going through because she’s been through it herself.”

For Tokita, the job was a first step to a fresh start and future she didn’t think was possible.

“I’m so overwhelmed.” she said, as she wiped tears from her eyes. “Now that I have this job it gives me motivation. It’s so awesome!”

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