With the bustling holiday season coming to a close, we wanted to pause and remind you of how thankful we are for the supporters of Hoʻōla Nā Pua.
We remain steadfast in our mission of opening and operating Hawaii’s first licensed, residential, special treatment residence for underage girls who were formerly exploited through sex trafficking. As we reflect on this year’s accomplishments and milestones, we recognize that many of these things would not have been possible without our volunteers and supporters. For those of you who have followed our progress, you know that this year has been marked with transition on multiple fronts!
A Transitional Year
At the beginning of this year I felt two words impressed upon my heart for this organization: persistence and fulfillment. As a year of transition unfolded, the significance of these words became apparent in several events. Although we worked for three years under the umbrella of another entity with similar intentions, the need for us to be a locally operated organization became apparent as we continued to move forward in the development of the much needed home.
The transition and rebranding stirred confusion at times, but the leap of faith to launch Hoʻōla Nā Pua enjoyed countless blessings! Among them: a miraculous eight day IRS turnaround of our application for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, the July launch of our website and database, an application for a long-term lease on a state owned property, and the completion of a new business plan. Our core team embraces the word –persistence!
Through the hard work of our unwavering core team, we completed the application for a long-term lease on a 12-acre, state owned property with an existing facility that will have capacity to accommodate up to 32 residents in a personal home environment. We were blessed with endorsement letters to the Department of Land and Natural Resources from the governor’s office, legislature and representatives, service providers and professionals in the community. On July 25, 2014, this community support resulted in a unanimous vote in favor of Hoʻōla Nā Pua being granted the right of access to pursue permitting on a site. This opportunity of a lifetime was a remarkable victory in our search for a site. We now have a site, and it doesn’t have to be built from the ground up. Fulfillment!
Our annual gala event “It Matters to That One ” was held at the Pacific Club on October 4th. This sold-out celebration was a success, with several business-sponsored tables and numerous generous items donated for the auctions. Additionally, our architect, who graciously donated his services, provided a beautiful rendition of the renovated facility. The support and endorsement from the community was greatly appreciated. View our gala photo album here.
Along with continuing to raise awareness about the need for this facility, we have provided countless training sessions to professionals in various fields, engaged in media and radio interviews, and presented our school awareness and prevention program in over 90 classrooms across the state. We also launched our therapeutic mentorship program, which allows us to meet with the girls in their current location within our juvenile system. Hoʻōla Nā Pua volunteers submitted testimony in support of several legislative bills surrounding the issue of sex trafficking. We continue to serve on the Hawai’i Coalition Against Human Trafficking and build collaborative partnerships with our colleagues and community supporters involved in the anti-trafficking movement.
In November, our core leadership team traveled to Washington D.C. for the Shared Hope International JuST Conference. This was an exciting time of connecting and networking with like-minded advocates, service providers and non-profit groups; law enforcement, judicial, and medical professionals; and various other leaders and experts from across the country. Throughout the conference, confirmation that our organization is heading in the right direction as we continue to help lead the anti-trafficking movement here in Hawai’i was undeniable.
Although Hawai’i has several items to amend in the processes and protocols of intervening against sex trafficking, the undeniable fact remains the same—we receive countless calls from service providers and parents who are seeking a place of refuge for underage girls who have been affected by this crime. These girls need a place to heal!
There is an undeniable demand for Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s facility in our state.
Obtaining the site is a huge milestone for Hoʻōla Nā Pua, and again we are at a critical time of growth. As we have started the permitting and licensing process, environmental impact study, and continue program development for the facility, we face the need for hiring full-time executive staff, seeking donations of time and materials and furnishings, and raising capital to complete the site restorations.
We are actively pursuing grants and philanthropic foundation funding. However, increasing our $1000 from 1000 sustaining donor partners is extremely important in demonstrating community support in our efforts and to sustain the annual facility operations. Community members and organizations statewide will benefit from the return of young girls to their communities as contributing citizens, not lifelong burdens to the state.
The reality is that each day that goes by without this home open, the comprehensive needs of these girls are not being met.
We simply ask – will you join us?
As you think about your end of the year contributions, our hope is that you will be moved to support Hoʻōla Nā Pua and our imminent needs. This effort is not possible without our community sponsors and supporters.
We are thrilled to announce another major milestone! Just this summer, Hoʻōla Nā Pua was conditionally approved to st
August 12, 2014
“Ho`ōla Nā Pua, meaning ‘New Life for Our Children,’ was founded to shine light onto the dark criminal enterprise of sex trafficking, placing the health of Hawaii’s youth at the center of our mission and vision for our community.”