Supporter Spotlight: Sophia Kim

For Sophia Kim, a junior from Pearl City High School, her partnership began with a school assignment.

Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s supporters come from all walks of life, each with a unique story of their connection to the organization. For Sophia Kim, a junior from Pearl City High School, her partnership began with a school assignment.

When assigned a project in one of their classes, Sophia and her classmates were given a choice of six companies to assist in some way. Although there were several businesses, Sophia was drawn toward Hoʻōla Nā Pua, the only nonprofit in the mix. She says, “We had many companies to choose from, but what caught my eye was that I’ve always wanted to help the community with something.”

Although hesitant at first, Sophia’s interest in the project took off as her ideas and understanding of the issue of sex trafficking grew. With the encouragement of her teacher, she adopted a fundraiser scheme of selling silicon bracelets stamped with the hashtag sayings “The Difference is You,” and “Not on Our Islands.” Produced in Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s signature green and purple, the bracelets allowed Sophia to simultaneously raise money and spread awareness.

When her bracelets hit the market—in this case, the sidewalks of her school—she and her classmates found that selling their product was harder than they had expected. Looking back on her experience, Sophia says, “I’m a really shy person who wouldn’t go up to a stranger and ask them something. But I had to come out of my shell and approach people.” Once she explained the issue of sex trafficking, she encouraged her buyers to spread awareness, especially through social media, which was a huge victory in and of itself. “A lot of people were not aware of sex trafficking; most of them said it didn’t exist,” she notes.

Eventually, Sophia’s project expanded beyond the borders of her school campus and she was able to raise $300 in donations in addition to paying off the original cost of the bracelets.

Through this experience, Sophia observes, “I learned a lot. I live in a perfect family and everything is wonderful. I go to school and I learn things. But there are people who don’t have those opportunities. It made me rethink my life and be thankful that I have the opportunities I do. Now I look around me for more chances to help.”

Her advice to potential fundraising supporters is to be sincere and caring. Although things may not go as planned, ultimately, it is important to remember the people who will be the recipients of the funds. After all, Sophia says, “People need help, and if there’s one person that could make a difference, that would be great, but a few would be better and 100 would be even better.”

Let’s take that challenge.

Written by Elisabeth Kurashige | Volunteer

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