Pictured above: We are the Kealoha ‘ohana: Front Right -Hōpoe (14), Front Left – Kaʻiliwai (12), Middle – Lei (donʻt ask hahaha), Middle Right – Keith (older than Lei), Middle Left – Kaleohano (17), Back Right – Pohai (14) & Back Left – Maka (13) and this is our family.
Our journey as Resource Caregivers (formerly known as Foster Parent) began the summer of 2014. As a family unit we went from being a family of five to this fabulous group of seven. When this situation presented itself we had no clue where to start or what to do. But we were not left to figure it out. We had many different organizations and resources helping us.
When we began our journey we had a Guardian Ad Litem or I should say, the girls had a Guardian Ad Litem. A person that looked out for the girl’s best interest. Maui Family Support Services assisted getting the girls to therapy sessions and many other activities that lessened the stress of the transition.
Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center hosted family dinner sessions to help us understand what went into being a Resource Caregiver. They also had cultural programs all the children could attend for Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Acting, etc.
Of course with everything in life, it wasn’t without its challenges. The key to being successful in becoming a Resource Caregiver is to ask for help and to utilize all the resources that are available to you and your family.
Leina’ala Kealoha was born and raised on Maui and is currently in her 3rd semester at the University of Hawai’i, Maui Campus pursuing a degree in Hawaiian Studies. Leina’ala brings with her 20 years of experience within the hospitality industry.
Leina’ala is part of the Mu’o a’e scholarship program at the University of Hawai’i and currently serving as an intern with Ho’oikaika Partnership. She hopes to learn more about each individual partner.
In her current role, she assists with administration tasks. community outreach events and writing blog posts from the perspective of a Resource Caregiver.