Doing the Most Good by changing lives
Doing the Most Good- Hawaiian and the Pacific Islands
by Sue Schumann Warner –
(l-r) Phil Russell, Honolulu and National Advisory Board member and chair of Kroc steering committee; Micah Kane, chair, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; Commissioner Philip Swyers, Western territorial commander; Major Dave Hudson, divisional commander; Mufi Hannemann, mayor of City and County of Honolulu; Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii; and Don Horner, President and CEO of First Hawaiian Bank at a Kroc Center press conference.
It’s dinnertime in Oahu’s Neal S. Blaisdell Park.
Angelina, who is in seventh grade and a Girl Guard, and her friend Annette, in sixth grade, carry packages of food—chili, rice, and hot dogs—and bottles of water from the Leeward Corps’ mobile canteen as they trudge across the wide lawn.
The calm waters of Pearl Harbor are on their right. Just ahead of them, Salvationists have already reached the bushes where four homeless men live in a blue nylon tent; it has been home to one for 11 months, and to another for just two weeks.
Tonight, the men receive both food and heartfelt caring. Before distributing the meal, Captain Roy Wild (then corps officer) asks if he can pray for the men, and if there is something in particular they would like prayer for. The newest inhabitant of the blue tent quickly says, “I’d like to get out of here [the park].”
They gather in a circle, all holding hands, and Wild prays. He asks that the men would know God provided the food for them and that he loves them very much.
Scores of homeless—including families with infants—live in and near this park and many regularly receive food and caring from Salvationists.
The Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division
This division is the largest in the Army world, reaching across vast stretches of the blue Pacific, from Hawaii to Guam, and encompassing over three million square miles. At the heart of its mission: serving any and all in need.
Major Dave Hudson and his wife, Major Sharron Hudson, are divisional leaders. Compassionate, intuitive, and intensely low key, Major Dave Hudson reflects on the nature of doing the most good in this division. “Whenever you see changed lives, that’s doing the most good. Sometimes the most effective way of doing that is not the most glamorous way—it might simply be a one on one encounter.”
The following are just a few of the many ways that lives are being changed:
• The Guam Corps is building capacity with immigrants from Chuuk, assisting them in recognizing significant cultural differences and helping them transition successfully.
• The Army just received a three-year grant to assist victims of human trafficking; they will first start working in Saipan, where 20 victims were recently identified. Saipan is in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.
• In the Marshall Islands corps provide English and reading classes, and teach simple skills many take for granted;nutrition classes help in this area, where malnutrition is a significant problem.
• The Lahaina Outpost and Kahului, Maui, corps reach out to the homeless. Kahului has a mentoring program matching adults with children—compliant with child safety—modeling healthy adult relationships.
Field of harvest
“We’ve asked every corps in the division to identify their field of harvest,” said Hudson. “This is a place, a program, or a segment of the population where they can focus their time, attention, and resources. It can be a neighborhood school, housing project, or Army program. The goal is to turn the members into missionaries.
“We want to move people in the corps back into the community to make a difference—to be a light, give hope, make an impact.” He notes some corps chose their own preschool or the housing program next door.
New plants of Salvation Army work sometimes come from the vision and work of individuals—much as the Army’s presence in The Marshall Islands resulted from the perseverance of the late CSM Overton Clarence.
In Saipan, for example, Wayne and Annie Gillespie—who came from Guam—are starting the Army’s work on their own. They hold Bible studies and youth and women’s meetings in their home, all on a volunteer basis. “They are building a restaurant next to their home in order to provide an income for themselves as well as a place to continue and expand their ministry. I am encouraged by their dedication to The Salvation Army and their desire to share hope to the people of Saipan,” said Hudson.
An incredible diversity
Hudson notes the diversity of the division and the challenges it creates. “This is the most diverse place I’ve ever been,” he said. “There is no majority population. You have people from all backgrounds.” Consequently, people view things differently and communicate differently across the division—especially in locations such as Guam, Majuro and Chuuk.
Just getting a message out can be time consuming. “If I want to get a message to our officer on Jaluit [located in The Marshall Islands]” said Hudson, “I e-mail Majuro and they get on the radio to Jaluit. They must be at the radio in Jaluit, because there is no voice mail. It may take a couple of hours or a couple of days.” To get a reply or a report for territorial headquarters, the process must be reversed, with someone at the radio in Majuro to write down the message as it comes in from Jaluit.
Flexible training lends itself well to this division; training in Salvation Army doctrine, theology and practices could all be done without going to the College for Officer Training in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Looking to the future
By the end of this fiscal year, the division will have paid off its debt to territorial headquarters. “I try not to focus on debt,” said Hudson. “We’re blessed here. Three years ago, we were the recipient of a large estate, which provided some money for capital and some for program. Other funds have come from the estate of Jack and Marie Lord [of TV’s Hawaii Five-0 fame].”
He notes it’s important to determine new ways to identify funds. “Most stores won’t have kettles, and it’s harder to get volunteers. We need to rely on fewer donors giving larger amounts of money.”
The new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which will be built on Oahu, has already generated valuable new relationships and has exposed a greater number of people to the work of the Army. The 42-member Honolulu Advisory Board has played a key role in that. “The Honolulu board is an engaged board,” says Hudson. “They love the Army and tell others about it.” They are also represented on the Kroc steering committee. Phil Russell, chair of the Kroc steering committee, is on the Army’s National Advisory Board as well.
“It’s a privilege to work alongside officers, soldiers, employees, and advisory board members,” Hudson says. “These people are some of the finest I’ve met.”
And what about the Army’s future in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division?
“God has a purpose for The Salvation Army,” Hudson affirms. “We get in trouble when we try to be something we’re not. We need to be ourselves—we excel when we are the Army. We have always been there for those who fall through the cracks.”
The following programs reflect just a few of the many ways in which The Salvation Army is changing lives in this division.
Family Intervention Services: Hilo, Hawaii
Over 4,000 at-risk youth have been helped by The Salvation Army in Hawaii since 1979. “We are taking kids no one else is taking, and doing programs no one else is doing,” says Administrator Pauline Pavao. “I believe the Lord put us here for a purpose: to help these kids.” As to the results of the program, she comments “People call me and say, ‘you don’t see me on police blotter any more—I’m doing well and have a job.’”
The Army has two components to Family Intervention Services: residential and outreach, with emergency shelters in Hilo and Kona.
Gabby Kubas, manager of the residential program, notes that girls 14-17 are the largest growing group to be arrested for violent offenses here. All five of the girls in the Army’s home in Hilo are chronic runaways. One is age 14 and pregnant—the father is incarcerated; four are on probation. One girl, the survivor of an abusive relationship, came at age 12 through the diversion program. Another came as a 17-year-old ninth grader, hooked on ice (methamphetamine).
In the program, which provides an alternative to incarceration, the girls receive structure, stability, early assessment, preventive skills—and plenty of love and hope.
The boys’ home has room for 12 youth. Youth eat family style and learn to make one good meal before they leave.
Short-term foster care is another element of the Army’s ministry, with the goal of reunifying youth with their parents.
Through the Army’s outreach program, says Johanna Medeiros, Salvation Army employees conduct classes on-site in school classrooms. This day, Tricia is the facilitator at Pahoa School for a 10th grade health class lesson on respect. The 10 youth sit two to a desk, and as Tricia discusses the elements of respect, students respond with observations on what they consider to be—and not be—respectful behavior.
Now a Salvation Army employee,Tricia understands where they’re coming from: she had her oldest child at age 15 and has herself gone through a substance abuse program and anger management classes.
Family Treatment Services: Honolulu, Oahu
Nestled in a quiet residential area not far from the top of Honolulu’s famed Diamond Head crater, Family Treatment Services (FTS) provides help and hope for single women or mothers with small children.
More than 100 years ago the 10-acre site housed The Salvation Army’s boys’ home; today, it’s home to Women’s Way—a residential alcohol/drug treatment program designed for adult and adolescent women and their infants and toddlers; Ke Ola Pono—a therapeutic living program for women in early recovery and their children; Kula Kokua—a psychiatric day treatment program for 3- to 9-year-olds and their families; and a Therapeutic Nursery—designed to provide therapeutic and developmentally appropriate activities to children ages two weeks to 3-years old.
Director Linda Rich notes that Women’s Way is the only residential drug and alcohol program in the state of Hawaii that lets women keep their young children with them or allows them to enter the program while pregnant. “There’s a huge need for this type of program,” she says. “We have a terrible meth problem here.”
The program is life changing. Rich states that two program graduates earned Masters in Social Work degrees last year. One is now working for the health department, and one for the child welfare services. “These women have their kids back and are functioning members of our community.”
Keala Lee, 35, a Women’s Way graduate, has been on staff at FTS for one year. Her goal is to become a licensed substance abuse counselor. Her story is similar to many of the women in the program. According to Keala, she used ice from ages 17-28 and ended up stealing to feed her addiction. In 1998, when pregnant with her fourth child and after going through two marriages and divorces, she was incarcerated for a felony. She entered the Women’s Way program but relapsed after four months because, she says, “I didn’t work on my recovery.” She ended up calling Women’s Way, and they took her back. “The Army walked me all the way through.” Pregnant with her fifth child, she gave birth while in treatment. “The support they gave me was what worked,” she recalls. “They loved me until I loved myself.”
Addiction Treatment Services: Honolulu, Hawaii
Just off the Pali Road—past Queen Emma’s summer palace—sits the Addiction Treatment Services (ATS) program. Built in 1963 to be a Booth Memorial Home for unwed mothers, the facility now provides detox, residential, and non-residential care to clients.
“Hawaii leads the nation in methamphetamine abuse,” states Executive Director Larry Williams. “It’s an epidemic here.” In 1985, he recalls, less than one percent of their clients were meth addicts. Now, 80 percent have a primary addiction to meth. “Most of our clients have been addicted over 10 years—it changes brain function more than any other drug.”
ATS has a 66-bed capacity, with beds for 15 in detox. The residential facility can accommodate both men and women (without children); two- thirds are from the criminal justice system. “We provide outpatient treatment in prison to about 600 people a year,” says Williams, “and aftercare for those released.”
Their holistic approach to treatment encompasses psychological, social and spiritual elements. With over 80 percent of their $4.9 million budget coming from state and federal governments, religious programs are strictly voluntary. For those who elect to attend, weekly Bible study and church services at either the Kaneohe or Kauluwela Corps are available.
Kauluwela Mission Corps:
Reaching seniors and children
Joyful sounds echo from the halls of the Kauluwela Mission Corps as preschoolers at the Ohana Keiki Preschool engage in skill building and playful activities. The preschool, which operates year round and has a capacity of 75, adheres to Hawaii state standards.
“There is a big need for daycare,” states Helen Myers, director of Adult Day Services and the preschool. One happy and articulate student, Cian Buchanan, 5, is busy cutting strips of paper for a project. When asked what he likes about preschool, he said “I like my friends here, I like the blue and yellow ship [outside in the playground]. When I take naps, I lay on this side [of the room] so I can look at the trees. They are so, so pretty.”
The Adult Day Health Services is located across the courtyard from the preschool, and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In operation since 2000, the innovative program—licensed by the State Department of Health—is designed for disabled and frail older adults requiring daily supervision, hands on care, nursing services, and rehabilitation services. It also provides respite care for caregivers.
Almost all of the 50 clients (who range in age from 55 to 101) have Alzheimer’s or dementia; each participant has a care plan in conjunction with their doctor. The goal, says Stacy Honma, program coordinator, is to keep them out of institutional care.
Staff members also watch out for their well being. When they noticed that Mildred Arakaki, 82, seemed weaker, they alerted her daughter, who took her to the doctor. As it turned out, Mildred had an aneurism.
She hasn’t slowed down, though. “I like it here because I have fun,” says Mildred. “Every half hour there is something to talk about. I like the exercise. It keeps my feet going!”
Doing the most good? Clearly. And as Major Dave Hudson says, “We just do all the time—we don’t see that it is special until someone says ‘I didn’t know you do that!’”
Changing lives…one at a time…