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Project Hawai‘i Inc. preparing to help Maui’s homeless children

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Oct 30, 2020

Mobilizing to begin work on Maui, Project Hawai’i Inc. conducts outreach to seek out homeless children living in extreme poverty situations. The nonprofit’s mission is to enhance the lives of homeless keiki as they escape their cycle of poverty and homelessness. PHOTO BY PROJECT HAWAII INC.

According to Project Hawai’i Inc. (PHI), there are 23,000 homeless children living in substandard conditions across our island chain — thus achieving tragic recognition for five years running as number one in the nation for having the most unsheltered children per capita.

PHI was co-founded on the Big Island by Magin Patrick and Cliff Kama, Sr. in 2002. The mission of this award-winning nonprofit is to help our beloved, oft-forgotten unsheltered youth break the cycle of poverty.

It’s no easy task, but Patrick and Kama are passionate and resolute. Leading the volunteer-staffed charitable organization, the two expanded their outreach in 2006 to Oahu with island-wide penetration, and their programs have grown.

Their website — helpthehomelesskeiki.org — is a testament to their fortitude. The dedicated corps of volunteers strives to enhance the lives of the unsheltered youth, “providing year-round supportive services that help to build their self-esteem and learn the proper life and social skills to succeed.”

PHI has a good record.

“We are able to change their lives by providing a sense of stability through our holiday events, school support, educational training and monthly outreach. Our award-winning summer educational program has allowed our homeless children to be first generation to graduate high school and attend college. We provide our services and outreach to over 1,600 individual homeless children throughout the year,” Patrick said.

Commencing in November, PHI has added Maui to its list of vital outreach stations.

“Project Hawai’i Inc. has been asked to come and implement our programs to the homeless/unsheltered on Maui for years. Because we are solely supported by public donations, it has been a long process. We are honored to be called upon to establish an outreach program on Maui; and now, with the support from the Shane Victorino Foundation, we have the starting foundation to proceed,” Kama explained.

The Shane Victorino Foundation is dedicated to promoting opportunities for underserved youth. The foundation engages in projects that provide children in need with educational, recreational and wellness programs.

Victorino is Maui’s own two-time World Series Champion and the son of Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino.

PHI has been selected as the beneficiary of the 13th annual Shane Victorino Celebrity Dinner and Golf Classic.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity. The goal of this fundraiser is to raise the funds needed to host our summer edu-camp on Maui as we do on the Big Island and Oahu. This event will be life-changing for this island’s keiki; we are so blessed,” Kama exclaimed.

The tourney is scheduled for Nov. 20-21 at the Grand Wailea Hotel with stars from the worlds of sports and entertainment participating.

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, or to purchase a tournament package, visit shanevictorinofoundation.org.

Prior to the tournament, Patrick and Kama Sr. will fly to Maui to set up outreach team leaders across the island.

“Once we have a core team developed,” Patrick advised, “we (Cliff and I) won’t be so much on island. Typically, it takes us six months to get a core team running smoothly, so we only come over for the major events like Christmas, Easter, Summer Camp, etc.

“We have already been in contact with local community professionals that are interested in hosting a weekly or biweekly workshop with the children, tutoring, mommy and me, art, music, etc.

“Each program will be run by a volunteer, and the community can provide a sack lunch or hygiene, etc.”

Manu Lopes, the human resources team leader at Target, sent this message to Patrick by e-mail: “We are delighted to be part of your outreach and help provide hygiene support for the November event. We look forward to being a full-time partner as you develop on Maui.”

Potential West Side volunteers can meet the PHI crew at Safeway Lahaina on Nov. 16 at 9:45 a.m.

“Those wishing to participate in our successful transition, please connect with me at (https://www.helpthehomelesskeiki.org/so/acNJYPxye),” Patrick invited.

She added, “I will be on island Nov. 14-24th and have a few openings to meet with companies or groups who would like to know how they can partner with our journey to help end the cycle of poverty and homelessness among these precious children.”