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Windward // Windward Oahu News
Carol Chang

Top Isle Entertainment On Stage June 7 At Habilitat Luau

Habilitat’s 14th annual Luau, Auction and Benefit Concert is taking shape now for a June 7 date at King Intermediate School.

Brother Noland, Henry Kapono and Sistah Robi Kahakalau will headline the luau entertainment.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at King, offering hula, live and silent auctions, keiki activities and an eight-course Hawaiian feast, complete with imu-cooked kalua pig. Tickets cost $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12, $85 for families (three adults, or two adults and two children age 6-12). They can be ordered online at habilitat.com/luau.

With most of its 105 residents on scholarship aid, fundraisers like the luau and Christmas tree sales are vital to the success of the Kaneohe-based adult drug treatment facility.

“Habilitat is fully self-supporting and is not funded by state or federal contracts,” explained Anthony Marinello, a resident and current public relations representative for the nonprofit treatment center. And much of that self-support, he noted, comes from enterprising projects and services run by the residents themselves.

“When people like us are given direction and refocus, we are an unstoppable force,” said Marinello. “It’s saved my life, personally.”

According to the Detroit native, he was “up and down the East Coast, in and out of drug programs” until he found Habilitat, which offers a two-and-a-half year treatment program for $72,000. The key, he said, was learning “that it’s not a disease, it’s that you’ve made stupid decisions.” From there, the path became clear: Up at 5:30 a.m., plunge into two or three jobs, and in bed by midnight with the goal to become a better person by learning a skill.

The result is a 64 percent successful recovery rate, which Marinello said is six times the national average. “We have more structure and discipline (than similar programs),” he explained.

Habilitat’s residential team also won the 96744 Fair’s recent chili cookoff at Castle High School, and it operates the popular All Kine Grindz food truck downtown.

A crowd of 2,000 is expected to attend the luau, and the organization is hoping to bring more sponsors and auction donors into the effort. Discounted group rates, table reservations and advertising banners are available. For more information, call 235-3691 or email give@habilitat.com.

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