When you think of Lanakila Pacific, chances are you think of Meals on Wheels-where thousands of meals are delivered to Hawaii senior citizens.  But the program also trains those preparing the meals for future employment in the food service industry.

It's just one of several programs that help those with disabilities get ahead.

Lanakila Pacific also caters to schools and organizations.  Participants silk screen bags and t-shirts, and do embroidery work.

They even help companies with their packaging, like seas salts.

"Each of our work programs is also a social enterprise and so that means while we're working with folks with disabilities, training them in specific skills, we're also running a business," said Marian Tsuji, Lanakila Pacific President & CEO.

Programs like these teach the participants much needed life skills, and work skills to help them grow and become more independent.

Tsuji dedicated 14 years to building and maintaining Lanakila Pacific, and now hands the reins over to Rona Yagi Fukumoto, who's already looking ahead. 

"I think our biggest challenge is the growing senior population. So our Meals on Wheels program delivering to about two thousand seniors a year, but the number is growing and funding nationally and locally is now growing," commented Fukumoto.

The two will work hand-in-hand until June, when Tsuji steps down.  She'll leave, having taught valuable life stills to many, but she's the first to tell you, she also learned a lot, too.

"I think we all have so much to learn from them and just the grit that they have to overcome their disabilities to get up every day, come to program have a happy disposition and smile, its really been heart warming and a real lesson for me," said Tsuji.