Although I’ve run the same early morning running route for years now I’ve never become accustomed to running past people literally passed out from the transgressions of the night before, sprawled on the side-walks of the Ala Wai Canal, the smell of liquor wafting from their sleeping bodies.
Even on the most focused runs I can’t help but let my thoughts wander on what led these individuals down a path that could get them to that point.
Last week I passed by a middle aged woman passed out on a park bench. She held a crumpled up brown paper bag nestled under her arm like a child would hold a teddy bear. Although she was asleep her facial expression looked so sad that it literally brought me to tears.
As I kept running, she stayed on my mind.
Waiting at a stoplight I spotted a banner for an upcoming 5k titled “Recovery Walk Hawaii“. As soon as I got home I signed up for the 5k that takes place this Saturday September 8th. The proceeds from the donations walkers and runners receive go to various local substance abuse treatment centers.
I chose to support Hina Mauka due to the fact that they provide treatment programs to homeless people and incarcerated women.
Serving the Homeless – Hina Mauka offers a unique service for homeless men and women at the Institute of Human Services (I.H.S.) homeless shelters at Sumner Street and Ka’aahi Street in Honolulu. In our approach we “engage” the prospective client to help motivate them towards more extensive treatment as well as provide a more formalized low intensity outpatient treatment. Since the homeless population is unique and often challenging to work with, we do not mandate abstinence. Success is determined by their choice to seek higher levels of care. While challenging, we find that they are certainly not without hope.
Working with Incarcerated Women – Ke Alaula Hina Mauka has developed and amazing therapeutic community treatment program called Ke Alaula, at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua on Oahu. Ke Alaula translates to “breaking of a new dawn”, and is a culturally sensitive program based in traditional Hawaiian culture and values. While outcomes are still being compiled in this relatively new program, everyone visiting the site readily observes the phenomenal transformation of the inmates. Ke Alaula is the result of an effective collaboration between Department of Public Safety department heads, the WCCC Warden and his staff, and the Hina Mauka. Excerpted from Hina Mauka Programs
Of course the Hawaiian Islands are known for their beauty, although the issue of homelessness and substance abuse rarely gets addressed as it is overshadowed by the Hollywood image of paradise.
I’ll be running in support of Hina Mauka this Saturday. Please help me in donating to this worthy cause by visiting my donation page. Every $5 counts!