Honolulu Habitat for Humanity offers homes, help, hope

Reporter Maia Mayashiro talks with Kayla Rosenfeld of Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit housing organization.

Larry L. Medina, writer
Maia Mayashiro, reporter
Fredrene Balanay, video

Kayla Rosenfeld of Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is on a mission. The nonprofit organization “is all about building homes who need the assistance… [to] build decent affordable housing for people here in our community.”

The organization works with homeowners build their own home with the help of staff and volunteers. Through this effort, the cost of a home is greatly reduced. Habitat for Humanity also has a Home Preservation program, designed to help existing homeowners improve the safety, value and appearance of their home. The program also helps the elderly get their homes ADA-compliant, allowing them to stay in their home and community, instead of moving out and into an assisted-living facility or care home.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity also runs a donation warehouse/home improvement store (ReStore), like those run by Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army. “If you’re a student and you need to furnish your apartment, come check this place out – you’ll find some really inexpensive things there,” said Rosenfeld. ReStore sells new and used furniture, appliances, building materials and home accessories to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Sales from ReStore directly fund Honolulu Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building affordable homes in communities on Oahu.

The organization offers volunteer opportunities to students interested in helping Habitat for Humanity fulfill its mission.

“As a nonprofit organization with a really, really tight budget, everything goes into the funding and construction of our homes. Volunteers make a huge difference in our organization, so I’m hoping that some of your students can take some time out of their busy schedules and come volunteer with us,” said Rosenfeld.

Volunteers can learn about retail (working out of the donation warehouse), working with people and learning organizing skills. Rosenfeld said volunteers would learn “what it takes to help an individual feel good about what they do and what they experience.”

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity contact info:
Phone (808) 538-7070 • info@honoluluhabitat.org
922 Austin Lane, #C-1 • Honolulu, HI 96817
Office Hours from 8am to 4 pm

ReStore Hours – Tues-Sat 9:30-4:30 (808)380-8617

New scholarship helps 90 at HonCC

Close to 1,000 students enrolled at the University of Hawaii’s community colleges — including more than 90 at Honolulu Community College –will receive help from new state-funded scholarship designed to eliminate cost as a barrier to higher education.

An estimated 996 students statewide are eligible to have their tuition and other direct attendance costs completely covered this fall, thanks to the Hawaii Promise program, which was established with $1.8 million from the Legislature, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The individual awards range from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars a year at the community college campuses, where annual resident tuition is just under $3,800 for full-time students.

The program will act as a so-called “last-dollar scholarship” that kicks in after all other federal aid — such as Pell grants — and public and private scholarships are exhausted

“If we reach a point where there is still a certain amount of unmet need not yet covered by grants, that’s the Hawaii Promise program: It’s a last-dollar scholarship that closes that gap so we can truly say to that student, ‘It’s covered,’” John Morton, UH’s vice president for community colleges, said in an interview.

To determine eligibility, students have to demonstrate financial need as defined by the federal government through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for direct attendance costs: tuition, mandatory fees, books and transportation. The direct cost to attend one of UH’s seven community colleges is roughly $5,000 a year for residents when fees, books, supplies and transportation expenses are added in.

To be eligible, students also need to qualify for resident tuition, be enrolled in a degree program and take at least six credits — typically two classes — per semester. Students receiving Hawaii Promise funds will need to maintain their federal financial aid standing, which requires a minimum 2.0 grade point average and evidence of progression toward a degree.

The colleges — on four islands — specialize in career and vocational training programs including culinary arts, automotive technology, dental hygiene, veterinary technology, criminal justice and construction technology.

The $1.8 million in startup funding for Hawaii Promise was calculated based on the financial needs of existing students. Of the 24,000 students slated to attend a UH community college this fall, 1 out of every 3 students is receiving some form of need-based financial aid.

Here are the details:


Hawaii Community College: 101
Honolulu Community College: 92
Kapiolani Community College: 188
Kauai Community College: 85
Leeward Community College: 271
UH Maui College: 169
Windward Community College: 90
Total: 996

Student ACCESS provides equal access for all

Larry L. Medina

Jonz Stoneroad

For a student with a disability who might find college life difficult to approach, support from Student ACCESS makes the college transition easier.

Student ACCESS (Academic Accommodations, Confidentiality, Case-by-Case, Equity, Standards, Services) is run by Cassandra Y.I. Kam, Disability Specialist, and Beth Nishimura, Instructional and Student Support Specialist, up on the third floor of Kaukahoku (Building 7) and “is charged with ensuring that all the students have equal access to the same educational facilities and programs that any other student would have on the campus,” said Kam.

Kam feels that “education is the key, because a lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know. If they had an understanding of it (disabilities), then it’s not the stereotype that people believe it is. Knowledge dispels stigma.”

“There’s still that stigma that if your disabled, it means that you are blind or in a wheelchair, and (people) don’t know or understand that many disabilities are non-visible. ‘You don’t look like a disabled person’ is what’s said a lot,” said Jonz Stoneroad, HonCC student representative to the Committee on Disability Access (CODA). Student ACCESS is humbly working to turn the tide against that stigma.

Student ACCESS examines barriers in the academic environment and makes available appropriate aids and support services. These include on-campus parking authorization, equipment loans (digital recorders, audio amplification devices), sign language interpreters, class materials in alternative formats (i.e. braille, audio recordings, larger printed format), chairs and adjustable-height desks, notetakers, testing accommodations, scribes, accessible computer workstations, registration assistance/program advising/course selection/credit loads and academic counseling, and note-takers.

Students submit documentation to Student ACCESS of any physical, mental, or other learning disability from licensed medical or testing persons (i.e. physician) to be evaluated for eligibility for services. Students can self-refer to Student ACCESS. College staff and faculty may also suggest a referral to a student. Student identity is kept in confidence and not revealed to instructors, other college staff, or students.

Student ACCESS provides services to students throughout the regular academic year and during the summer session as well. As Student ACCESS prepares for the Fall 2017 semester, Kam said they would be working with the new incoming students who apply and qualify for services to determine what their individual needs are. Nishimura takes on additional responsibilities, where notetakers are needed in particular classes; if sign language interpreters need to be contracted; if creating captions for videos or transcripts are needed.

Nishimura said that “no one department demands more services from ACCESS than another. It all depends on the semester. It is individualized for each person.” The number of students vary by semester, from anywhere between 60 – 160.

College staff and faculty are regularly updated by Student ACCESS on what services the department provides, and provided specialized workshops, ex. working with different learners and introduction to disabilities. Student ACCESS provides such workshops to other student support departments including CARE, TRiO-SSS, and the various campus tutoring centers.

Student ACCESS works with CODA, made up of different departments and student representatives, who meet regularly to discuss disability access issues at the college, staff/faculty/student concerns, and how to resolve them.

One example is the current renovation of the Science Building (Building 5). “How people are going to have access to the classrooms (during ongoing construction)” said Kam. “[Students] need second floor access – elevators? During construction [there’s] dust, vibration, etc.” that could affect the learning of students.

Student ACCESS was originally located in the Science Building, and was asked if they wanted to return once the renovations are complete. “It’s better if we stay here [in Building 7, 3rd Floor] because most of the services and interactions we do here are on the same floor (as) testing and tutoring, CARE, TRiO-SSS, so it’s convenient for the students” to have centralized services on a single floor.

Mahalo for reading. Here’s a Letter from (not) the Editor – click on this link:

Letters from (not) the Editor

Hokule’a connects with the generations, ‘āina, honua

Larry L. Medina
Eddie Meza

Kaleo, a HonCC student, was out at the edge of Magic Island, at a particular spot she said her ancestors told her to stand to welcome the Hokule’a home. She was very nervous, she said, and had trouble sleeping the last few days leading up to the event. While she noted that there were much more to the injustices that the Hawaiian people had endured that nearly erased their culture from history, it was imperative to teach the keiki (children) their history, and that there was much more work to be done by people to shed light into its dark past. As if practicing what she just stated, she gave the honor of welcoming the Hokule’a to a child nearby, giving him a conch shell through which to bellow in to annouce the arrival of that humble yet great Pacific voyaging canoe. And as if to solidify her loyalty to the next generation, she took the ti leaf haku she was wearing and adorned it on the child’s head. Kaleo and others like her are what lies at the heart of the Hawaiian culture, and what will lead them into a proud future.
This past weekend, Kaleo, along with tens of thousands of local residents, tourists, and curiosity-seekers lined the shore of Waikiki and converged in and around the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, to welcome home the Hokule’a, a traditional Hawaiian wa’a (canoe) and symbol of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, after a three-year epic worldwide tour of goodwill and sharing the aloha of the Hawaiian Islands. The Hokule’a serves as that connection which Kaleo wishes to establish with and pass on to the next generation.
Mālama Honua, the name of the three-year round-the-world voyage, reflected the purpose of Hokule’a’s mission, which was to “join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable movement.” Raising awareness of the fragility of Polynesia the islands it is comprised of, including the Hawaiian islands, the varied cultures and its limited natural resources, drove home the responsibilities of humanity to care for the Earth, or “mālama honua.”
Throughout her voyage, Hokule’a’s crew sailed over 40,000 nautical miles, using traditional, ancient Hawaiian navigational skills to dock at 150 ports around the world. Crews were rotated out at each port-of-call, resulting in 250 crew who took the Hokule’a on its journey. In keeping with voyage’s message of caring for the earth, the crew also sought to learn how other peoples and cultures were caring for the earth in their respective locales.
Being a replica of a traditional double-hull wa’a, made of modern materials, she is rated for long-distance, open-ocean travel like the wa’a of old. The Hokule’a is navigated by a crew of 12-13 using traditional Hawaiian navigation techniques, using celestial and solar observation and reckoning, observing the ocean swells, the winds, even what kind and where birds are sighted. Launched in 1975, the Hokule’a not only revitalized traditional voyaging in Hawai’i, but throughout Polynesia as well. Additionally, the Hokule’a sparked new interest in the Hawaiian culture and language. Impressively, the creation of the Hokule’a inspired other groups and island nations to build new ocean-going wa’a as well.  
When it was decided the Hokule’a would be built, in the early 1970’s, Polynesian ocean-voyaging had not occurred in 600 years. The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 to revive it.
On the morning of the Hokule’a homecoming, June 17th, she was preceded by seven other wa’a (including one from the Marshall Islands, and another from Tahiti). Each voyaging canoe was greeted with traditional oli (chants), pule (prayer) and lei. At around 9:45a, a surge of onlookers crammed the embankment of the Ala Wai harbor channel, straining to see the Hokule’a’s arrival.
Nainoa Thompson, master navigator of the Hokule’a and who was on the canoe as it arrived, affirmed the crowd’s aloha. “Thank you, Hawai’i. Thank you for the moment. I am very humbled to tell you right now that Hokule’a is home.”
Shyia, recently graduated from HonCC, attended the ho’olaulea on Magic Island that followed the arrival of the Hokule’a.

“I brought my clan out here to see this,” she said, gesturing to her children. “This is history, we’re witnesses.”

Kamehameha Day Parade 2017 (set #2)

Larry L. Medina out on assignment photographing pa’u riders, ali’i, royal escorts and kupuna at the annual Kamehameha Day Parade, 10 June 2017. Nikon D200, 28-80mm G Nikkor lens.

Diving Sharks Cove? Some Tips and Essentials

Eddie Meza

Sharks Cove is a popular attraction for snorkelers and free divers alike, but take a few minutes to look at the cove through my eyes as I explore its caves and tunnels just under the surface.

Sharks Cove is located on the North Shore of O’ahu and is part of Pupukea Beach Park. For those that might be discouraged by the name there is no need to worry – the name comes from the shape of the reef when seen from above (although you might run into a juvenile white tip reef shark from time to time). The big attractions to this dive site are the diverse marine life, as well as the underwater rock formations, making it ideal for beginner to intermediate divers. The caves and tunnels that are about 15-45 feet below the surface are great for experienced divers to explore. Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty, so stay alert and practice safe dive procedures at all times.

Layout: The terrain is jagged and I recommend you use dive booties for traverse the entry points. There are two main entry points: the “elevator” that is located to the right of the cove (see map), and the lower “walk in” area. Both areas can be slippery, so use caution when entering the water. As always, take a few minutes to examine the water conditions. Moderate to large waves at the site can throw you into some rocks at the entry points. Keep in mind that if you plan on exploring the tunnels that a surge under water can cause serious injury or worse, so take your time to assess the dive conditions before you decide to enter.

Points of Interest: The opening of the cove is full of life and is great to explore the small overheads. If you go to the right of reef you will encounter a small cavern. Pass that reef finger you will encounter a few more caverns and tunnels that are a blast to explore. If you find yourself at the last and largest cavern, keep in mind that at the back is an opening that a few divers have not survived – I highly recommend that you DO NOT enter this area; tunnels like this are for experienced divers with extensive training in cavern exploration.

Before you dive, remember to always dive with a buddy. Go over your pre-dive safety check, hand signals and emergency procedures (See Below).

Sharks cove has a restroom area as well as a shower. If you get hungry there are plenty of food trucks just across the road as well as a Foodland. As always bring at the minimum some water to stay hydrated, and a first aid kit is always a good idea.

Remember leave only bubbles and take only memories, have fun!

Pre-Dive Safety Check
• BCD secure and functioning properly?
• Low pressure inflator attached?
• Appropriately filled for entry?
• Buddy familiar with operation?
• Cylinder secure?
W (Weights)
• Amount of weight appropriate?
• System free and clear for emergency release?
R (Releases)
• All buckles and releases functional?
• Locate releases without looking?
• Buddy Familiar with operation?
A (Air)
• Sufficient air for dive?
• Valve turned on all the way?
• Alternate air source properly located?
• Familiar with buddy’s alternate air source?
• Air pressure at which to turn dive?
F (Final Okay)
• General check of buddy – nothing odd or out of place?
• Fins, Mask and snorkel ready?
• Prepare to enter water

Buddy Separation
1. If one gets separated from a dive buddy, stop and do a slow visual 360-degree spin remembering to look both upwards and downwards trying to spot your buddies bubbles if possible.

  1. If you are carrying a tank-banger or an audio buddy signaling device, use it to see if your buddy can locate you from the sound.
  2. If you have a dive light on you, and visibility is low, use the light while doing your slow 360 degree spin to help your buddy locate you, or grab the attention of your buddy who could be behind a terrain feature or outcrop.

  3. Having spent a minute looking for your buddy in this manner, ascend to the surface slowly, while remembering to perform your safety stop.

  4. While at your safety stop deploy your SMB or “Safety Sausage” so that if your buddy is looking for you at the surface, he knows where you are. And perform another 360 spin looking in all directions for signs of your missing buddy.

  5. At the surface wait for your buddy to surface, while continuing to look to spot the air bubbles at the surface if conditions permit or if you were doing a boat dive return to the boat and inform the boat that you are missing a buddy.

  6. Do not re-descend once you have surfaced.

  7. If the missing buddy carries out the same procedure then the buddy pair should meet up again at the surface or near the surface.

  8. Always ensure you go over your plan for missing buddy discussing where and how long to wait before surfacing with your dive buddy before every dive.

6/24/17 Sorry, forgot to include my email Eddie. Would like to dive 8/9-8/17. My wife, son and I are PADI open water certified.

6/24/17 Hi Eddie. My wife, son and I will be on O’ahu 8/9-8/17 and would like to do some diving. How do we contact you?

6/19/17 Saving this article for next time I pass through Hawai’i! Mahalo Eddie!

6/9/17 I enjoyed this one!

6/9/17 I have been diving with Eddie at Sharks cove with my son, he was our guide. As an ex-commercial hardhat diver, I can truly say Eddie is a true professional but at the same time never loses sight of enjoying the dive. I look forward to my return trip next month to dive with him again. Would highly recommend him to anyone wanting a top notch dive guide / instructor. Aloha and mahalo Eddie!