Live-in facility helps Hawaiian women develop life skills
Some tasks these women partake in include: caring for native plants and preparing traditional Hawaiian tea.
More than two dozen women strive for a brighter future life at YWCA's Fernhurst Residence off Wilder Avenue.
Jerrie Lynn Stanley has been there for about two months. The Kauai native says career oriented programs offered by the facility have already set a healthy foundation.
"I don't want to let no one down. I don't want to let myself down. This is what drives me," Stanley said. "I want to continue to do well for myself I need to push and push harder every time but I need to know a limit."
Stanley has dreams of becoming a welder. Services geared toward getting her closer to that dream are up for grabs. But Fernhurst also offers women here a chance to reconnect with their roots.
A recent grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs helped secure a stronger focus on Hawaiian based concepts.
Deep in Makiki Valley, women Malama Aina or care for the land. It's a concept that's practiced here too at the facility's urban garden.
For Stanley, it's therapeutic.
"Putting my hands in the ground is just like being a part of the aina. I know kupuna, they smile down on me, it's like I'm a part of all the things that's growing, I'm part of that land," she said.
The women also learn how to make traditional Hawaiian tea
Right now, a cultural specialist is helping women through a form of artistic expression. They're currently drafting drawings of Hawaiian goddess Hina to be included in an upcoming moon phase calendar.
Fernhurst is the only community based program in the state. Residents typically stay about six months. Staff say it's crucial that the transition process is occurring outside prison walls.
"That's what we do here is bring up hope and self confidence in everything that we do. And do we see change we see a huge change," Kehaulani Coleman, YWCA Oahu said.
Stanley says the program has challenged her to expand her horizons in all sorts of directions.
"You know I love myself today. Before I did it. I didn't think that I was a valuable person. I didn't think that you know life was worth it anything... This is my reawakening for a new life," Stanley said.