Helping Families Start Anew

By Mary Saunders, executive director, Family Promise of Hawaii

Family Promise of Hawaii utilizes existing community resources to aid families with children experiencing homelessness. Leveraging a volunteer-driven network of interfaith congregations, Family Promise provides shelter, meals, employment assistance and case management. Since opening our doors in 2006, we have helped more than 1,000 parents and children on Oahu.


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A Family Promise of Hawaii volunteer leads a group of keiki in an activity. Lauren Balkin photo

Carol became the legal guardian for her grandchildren Carolyn and Charlie after their mother went to prison. Carol’s boyfriend abused young Charlie, and they had no choice but to move.

Suddenly finding themselves homeless, they entered Family Promise. Since coming to Family Promise, Carol became employed full time as a bus driver, and her family has received the stability, love and support from the volunteers and other families that they so desperately needed.

“The staff are very caring and helpful in getting you back on your feet to become independent again. You are well-treated and guided to get you and your family back on your own with a better future. I was apprehensive at first, but once I took that step to ask for help, they greeted me with open arms and gave me all the avenues to start anew. I am grateful for Family Promise,” said Carol.

Carolyn and Charlie’s mother is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2017. Until then, they need a home. With support services from Family Promise, they will be moving into a new apartment very soon.

Additional community host sites/congregations would allow us to serve even more of Oahu’s neediest families. Host sites provide overnight shelter and meals (once a quarter for one week) to our families. Email if you are interested in helping.

Family Promise will hold its inaugural 5K Fun Run/Walk at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Kailua Rec Center. It’s a fun way to spend your Saturday morning and a great way to support the efforts of Family Promise, a community program dedicated to assisting families who are experiencing homelessness. By bringing our community together, we can make a difference in the lives of homeless children right here on Oahu.

Visit or call 548-7478 for more information.

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