President’s Message: 2018 – Make a Difference Now and in Future Generations

As we begin the new year, I wanted to thank you for the support you gave to Helping Hands Hawaii in 2017. It was a challenging time, and we are so grateful for the aloha you showed to our organization and the people we serve.

I know first-hand how acts of kindness can make a difference not only today, but in generations to come. My father and his five siblings were raised in poverty. His mother sent him up the street to the Community Center to keep him out of trouble, and staff there impressed upon him the importance of staying in school and making good choices. They also taught him to swim, and he received an athletic scholarship for high school and a full-scholarship to college. My mother lost her father and brother within a year of each other, dropped out of college, and received help and support from those in the working world who helped her learn on the job so she would be successful. Because of the people who helped them, I have been blessed with educational and growth opportunities that have allowed me to be of service to others.

At Helping Hands Hawaii, we focus on families with children, adults, and the elderly that struggle with poverty, homelessness, mental illness or addiction, or language barriers. Among the challenges brought by 2017 were a suddenly fearful immigrant community and a growing frustration regarding the cost of living, homelessness and mental illness and addiction here in Hawaii. Despite these challenges, we enter 2018 with a ton of hope that Helping Hands Hawaii, together with the community of nonprofits, funders, stakeholders, and private citizens we are humbled and blessed to be able to work with, will be able to do the kind of service work that encourages confidence, provides people with a safe space to address their vulnerabilities without judgment, sows a seed of hope in the hearts of those who have felt forgotten or invisible, helps those who struggle in silence to find their voices, inspires action motivated by the right reasons and not for praise or recognition, and encourages resilience and a desire for self-sufficiency.

We are so very grateful for your support whether it was financial, time, or spreading the word about our programs and services. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do. In 2018, we’ll continue to improve and refine our programs to serve the community more effectively, and we’re excited to have your continued support, aloha and feedback.

Jan Harada
President & CEO, Helping Hands Hawaii


  1. Ashley Kaka says:

    I loved the article because it reminded me of not only how important it is to serve but it also reminded me of the feelings that you get when you serve. I just want to express how grateful i am for the reminder because now im going to be more conscious of service opportunities around me and to build up the courage to act on them when i see them. I was also reminded of how important it is to insure that service is developed into the balance of daily life. Im currently a full time student and working and so i feel some times those two things drowned out all my time but after reading this article i feel more inclined to making time o serve. So thank you.

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