Fern (right) and her son William (left) are the first mother-and-child graduates from our foodservice internship program.
We continue to celebrate the mothers and maternal figures within the Touch A Heart community by bringing you a special update on our 2019 graduate Fern. Many words come to mind when we think of mothers—busy, selfless, hardworking, and the list goes on. These words are exemplified in Fern, who has three of her children living with her, works full-time at The Institute for Human Services (IHS), studies at Honolulu Community College, and participates in leadership classes at church. Fern's children span a wide age range—William is a young adult, Stacey is a teenager, and Rosalie is four years old—and they each have unique needs. "I'm learning to be mindful of how to support them," Fern reflected. "As a follower of God, I try to live by His example. Jesus spoke and taught in love. Being a mom is a learning opportunity. I try to be an example of love." As a mother, Fern has many aspirations for her children. "I want us to experience a better life as a family. I want to have a relationship with them and to grow together. I want them to have big dreams. I want them to be successful, reach their goals, and become men and women of strong faith," she said. Fern's experience at Touch A Heart was so life-changing that she wanted the same for her William, who is an aspiring chef. Since his graduation from our program in 2021, Fern has noticed a boost in his self-confidence and a more upbeat attitude. "Instead of being stuck and not wanting to try, the program got him to want to do more. Touch A Heart gave him hope and encouragement. It allowed him to flourish,” she said. The two have connected through their shared experiences, which has strengthened their bond. Together, they're building trust and improving their communication. While parenting isn't always easy, Fern focuses on the positive: "The kids don't always listen. I have a teenager who rolls his eyes. It's been a challenge, but it's been so rewarding to have a relationship with them. I prefer to have a rough day with my kids, than a great day without my kids."