Our graduate Frank recently completed his sentence and has returned to working with us at Touch A Heart and Kalihi Union Church.
Frank joined our foodservice internship program last summer and then became an apprentice. "My experience with Touch A Heart prior to incarceration was a big step in the right direction for me," he said. "Touch A Heart gave me not only skills in a kitchen but life skills that help me stay on track when I'm having a hard time. I learned proper cooking techniques and kitchen safety, while also providing meals for families and being of service to the community. This experience taught me how to value service and how sacrifice is important."
While Frank was serving his sentence, we remained in contact with him and advocated for him. Our relationship with the U.S. Probation Office allowed us to work with his probation officer, which eventually allowed him to reenter the community one month early. Putting Frank on a "leave of absence" ensured that he was employed with Touch A Heart, and we worked with the probation office to find him proper housing.
Since his release, Frank has been busy helping to prep and cook our Kupuna and Family Meals as well as assisting with the renovation and facility maintenance projects throughout the KUC campus. "The thing that I enjoy the most about being there is the life lessons I learn while also being of service to others and community," he said.
Frank is now focused on continuing on this new positive path. "My plan is to get my life back on track and build a new life here in Oahu, away from the people that could influence me to go back to my old ways," he said. "My goals right now are to get my license renewed, get a vehicle and a place of my own. I hope that I can achieve these three goals within a year and continue to progress in my walk with God."
Thanks to you, Frank and so many others are able to receive the right support and services that will set them up for success. This includes job training, employment opportunities, and advocacy. But most of all, your love and acceptance create a sense of belonging and ohana that's truly priceless.