Agencies by Category
Kauai United Way’s Participating Agencies can be roughly divided into five categories, listed below.
Disease Prevention and Health Programs
Obviously, helping people who are ill to be comfortable and receive treatment are important goals for the benefit of our community. But assisting families in coping with their loved ones’ traumatic illnesses is also important. Preventing illness and halting the spread of disease is best, because it precludes the need for expensive treatment later (which costs us all) and trauma to those afflicted, as well as their families.
Malama Pono Health Services, the island’s HIV/AIDS project, plays a vital role in helping those afflicted with this terrifying illness but also helping halt its spread on Kauai through education. With our help, they have been remarkably successful in controlling HIV/AIDS on Kauai, redoubled their efforts to control other STDs and expanded their work to include the insidious infectious Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C – the leading causes of liver cancer in our community – which are treatable if detected early.
Kauai United Way is proud to support these valuable programs which help Kauai people lead healthier, happier lives. They are crucial to the well-being of large segments of our population as well as wise investments in our future.
Disaster Recovery & Emergency Services
Not many weeks pass by without familiar, poignant images appearing on television or the newspaper of dazed disaster victims receiving the compassionate attention of relief workers. It is a hallmark of civilization that human beings organize to anticipate the enormous needs catastrophes create and are able to respond successfully with coordinated assistance. People helping desperate people: it’s dramatic, so it’s no wonder that social services receive the most public attention in the aftermath of emergencies.
Everyone who lived through Kauai’s time of greatest need, Hurricane Iniki in 1992, remembers the swift and invaluable help provided by the Salvation Army of Kauai. They were on the scene immediately, ensuring that Kauai people received the means to get by throughout the recovery. It’s comforting to know that these fine organizations are always available to help when the need arises.
The Salvation Army of Kauai is hard at work in our community every day helping people overcome their individual disasters and reassemble their lives.
Not having enough to eat is one of the most elemental emergency situations in which a person can find oneself. The Hawaii Food Bank provides food from the nationwide program Feeding America, Oahu and right here on Kauai with home-grown donations of food and money to fight hunger on Kauai via a network of food pantries throughout the island.
Disaster Recovery & Emergency Services may be especially dramatic examples of the vital social service work you support when you give to Kauai United Way, but, in a way, they are much like the many other programs we support. Collectively they represent the Kauai community reaching out to help those in need, helping them to lead as independent, productive, well-adjusted lives as they can… and that makes life on Kauai better for everyone!
Drug abuse is a big problem on Kauai and Kauai United Way agencies are doing something about it! Our Youth Services effectively act to reduce involvement with drugs by our young people. Drug offenders without violent crimes on their records who demonstrate a desire to turn their lives around can receive a second chance through the Kauai Drug Court; in fact, with their help, over 90% succeed. KEO’s Homeless Program also cares for Kauai’s homeless and helps them return to independent living through their transitional housing service.
Mental illness can be successfully treated. Friendship Club, located in Kapaa, provides a supportive, encouraging environment for Kauai citizens with serious mental illnesses to achieve social, educational, vocational and other goals. Friendship Club’s fabulous 50% success rate in achieving client employment is three times the national average! It’s no wonder that Kauai’s Friendship Club is a model for similar programs worldwide.
Mental Health Kokua, through specially designed homeless outreach services and residential settings on Kauai, assists people with mental illness – which often co-exists with substance abuse problems – achieve optimal recovery and functioning in the community.
Healing Horses Kaua`i provides equine assisted activities and therapies (lessons in groundwork, riding, and driving; camps; horse outreach; and special events) to enrich the lives of people of all ages & abilities, improving their physical, cognitive, social and/or emotional well-being. Activities focus on balance, coordination, independence, confidence, and communication.
One common thread among all these fine organizations is that they are directed toward helping Kauai people live as full, independent, productive, happy, healthy lives as their personal circumstances will permit – in other words, to help them reach their potential and be the best they can be.
When Kauai people with disabilities and other challenges are able to care for themselves, it alleviates others in our community of the burden and costs associated with caring for them. When they are helped to find productive work they add to their contribution to our society and also support our collective needs by paying taxes. When a Kauai person is helped to be independent, productive and well-adjusted, it is a triumph for that individual, of course. But it is also a triumph for their families, neighbors and the business community, as well. It is, in fact, a victory for all of us. Making life on Kauai the best it can be for all our citizens: it’s what Kauai United Way is all about.
Many of the programs supported by Kauai United Way are designed to help people in times of crisis. These include natural disasters as well as personal calamities, such as the need for rehabilitation services, domestic disputes and related violence, simply not having enough money to pay for clothes, food, rent or utilities or the serious illness or death of a loved one.
Other youth services are different. Lives would not immediately be endangered if funding for these youth services were to disappear. Yet they are vital to the well-being of our community.
They guide our young people to learn and have fun by providing constructive activities and positive role models. Youthful energy that is channeled in ways that are good for our kids might otherwise be spent in destructive behaviors which harm our community and corrupt the development of our young people. Youth services actually prevent crime and other social problems. They foster fewer unwanted pregnancies and decrease the drop-out rate.
They also help our young people grow up to be well-adjusted adults. Studies have shown that kids who have been actively involved with organized activities growing up are burdened with fewer family and legal problems in their futures than kids who are deprived of them.
These programs also represent the vital ‘prevention’ side of the drug abuse problem. Of course, law enforcement aimed at those who profit by poisoning our people, rehabilitation of addicts and the reintegration of recovered addicts to our community are critical services. But it is far more efficient to prevent abusive behaviors before they occur and that’s where these programs excel. Youth programs are the real “drug abuse prevention” programs. They are unquestionably effective at reducing the demand side of the illegal drug equation.
The Girl Scouts of Hawaii – Kauai, Boy Scouts of America – Aloha Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kauai are examples of programs which have demonstrated success in guiding the development of young people. The beneficial activities provided by Camp Naue and the many programs made possible by the YMCA of Kauai, have proven to be very popular recreational outlets for Kauai’s young people. The Hawaii Children’s Theater offers cultural enrichment and performing arts programs (with the availability of scholarships), which are especially important in our isolated community. Parents Attentive to Children (PATCH) provides child care training, referrals and other services all designed to benefit our most precious resource, our children.
What if you don’t have a child of your own — should you still support youth services? Definitely! The behavior and development of our young people affects us all today, and in the future, as well, when they will be our island’s leaders. Helping Kauai’s young people grow up into well-adjusted adults is in all our interests.
Your contributions to Kauai United Way help keep youth services and many other vital programs available to our community, making life on Kauai better for us all.
It is within the fundamental structures of families that we care for one another and raise our children. Consequently, helping to ensure that Kauai families remain intact, healthy and durable, with mutually supportive members, is essential to maintaining a strong community here on our island.
Many of the problems that occur within every family can be managed without the need for outside intervention. Sometimes, however, we are confronted with situations that are beyond our experience and ability to cope. At such difficult times, it’s good to know that there are professionals to whom we can turn for guidance. Child & Family Service is devoted to providing counseling for families in need, as well as other programs, such as parenting classes and foster / adoptive parent training. They also help with domestic violence, substance abuse and family planning. Hale Kipa is another Kauai agency dedicated to strengthening ohana, by helping troubled teens to get back on track and others to stay out of trouble in the first place. Parents And Children Together (PACT) provides a safe, supervised visitation facility for parents who have split up as well as intensive counseling for families with children exhibiting behavioral problems.
When families find themselves in disputes with neighbors or others, Kauai Economic Opportunity (KEO) Mediation Services can often help. The process, which emphasizes cooperation over confrontation, is far less expensive than the legal system saving family funds and taxpayer dollars, too!
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii – Kauai provides such broad services to our community that is difficult to categorize them neatly, but we include their programs generally in our Family Services group. Legal Aid provides free and low-cost legal services to Kauai people without the financial resources to pay for them and their Center for Equal Justice provides self-help legal resources.
Catholic Charities is hard at work in our community every day preventing homelessness. They strengthen Kauai families and help them find ways to stay in their homes with adequate food, clothing and medicines. A small investment in preventing homelessness today is far more cost-effective than treating the many, serious social problems that arise from homelessness tomorrow.
Keeping Kauai families together and strong is a basic goal of several of the agencies supported by Kauai United Way. It’s another way your donations to Kauai United Way help ensure the social health of our entire community, something that makes life on our island better for everyone!