Survivors Build New Lives, Create Hope

By Howard Garval, president and CEO, Child & Family Service

Seven-year-old Sally approached her room where a small bed with a little teddy bear rested its head on the pillow. Asked what she liked most about her new room, Sally replied, “I’m not scared here.”


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Child & Family Service program coordinator Michelle Rho (left) and director of Oahu programs Angie Doi give a package of toys and other supplies to a young boy at CFS transitional housing | CFS photo

Her mother Kate smiled and said, “I am so grateful for this opportunity to put our lives back together. Without this affordable apartment, I would have had to return to my husband, back to the abuse that almost killed me. Thank you …” she said as her voice trailed off, filled with emotion.

The Child & Family Service Transitional Housing Program for survivors of domestic violence and their children was created for families just like Sally’s. We operate three Transitional Housing programs on Oahu and Hawaii Island to help families build skills necessary for self-sufficiency.

Families receive housing, support and case management, as well as training in budget management, building or improving credit and job preparation. The program allows residents time to heal, refocus, and ultimately put their lives back together.

Families can participate in the program for two years, with six months of follow-up services. Many survivors who have stayed in our transitional housing have built new lives for their families without violence. Many of their children have a sense of peace, safety and hope for the first time in their lives. These children no longer live in fear.

CFS is one our state’s largest and most comprehensive human services nonprofit organizations. We have been serving Hawaii families since 1899 and offer more than 35 family-strengthening programs, from keiki to kupuna, or what I like to call “twinkle to wrinkle.” We touch the lives of more than 40,000 families each year, through services ranging from parenting and child development counseling, prevention and treatment of abuse and neglect, programs for troubled teens, and elder care initiatives.

CFS instills hope that gives families the courage to change. To donate or volunteer to support our life-changing programs, contact CFS at 543-8413 or visit us at

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