Easter Seals Work Crew Cleans Up

Participants in Easter Seals' Oahu Adult Day Health Work Crew program are (back, from left) Jo Ann Des Jardins, program assistant; Kyle Nakasone, Kylen Shimamoto, Sonya Kelii, staff, program instructor/pro- gram assistant; (front) Brian Burke, Bryant Pang, Brandon Nakata, Daniel Kapahulehua, Aaron Abe and David Keawe. Photo courtesy Easter Seals Hawaii.

After two months of job training by Easter Seals Hawaii staff, a group of West Oahu residents has launched a cleaning service. Despite developmental disabilities, the trainees are taught to clean homes and offices as part of the Seals’ Oahu Adult Day Health Work Crew program. The program got its start in 2010 and with a grant from the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program, a team of six participants has just joined the Easter Seals Hawaii Holoi (to wash) Work Crew.

“The work helps to build the character and self-esteem of the participants, as well as their independence,” said Easter Seals’ Oahu Home and Community Based Services manager Lori Lutu. “Participants are recognized for the great work they do in their communities and have a wonderful sense of accomplishment.”

Lutu said the crew is given extensive service and safety training prior to going out on job assignments, including how to lift and bend correctly, how to thoroughly clean homes and offices, as well as pointers on arriving on time and being professional with clients.

The supervised team cleans homes and offices at an hourly rate of $70 for the entire team, with money raised going directly to the participants.

Meanwhile, the first team of seven participants, or maintenance assistants, has established itself in the community.

“They regularly receive positive feedback from customers and these satisfied clients have referred others as a result,” said Lutu. “The maintenance assistants have a sense of pride in being employees. They have big smiles when they get positive feedback from clients, and when they return from a job, they are always excited to tell others what job they did that day and what a good job they did.”

The new team welcomes opportunities to work in the community. Business owners or homeowners who could use the services of a professional cleaning crew and who wish to support the Easter Seals Hawaii Holoi Work Crew can contact Monica Um at 529-1766.