Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — From an internship, the YWCA of Kaua‘i earned more than a new maintenance and landscaping head. It also was named the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Employer of the Year.
The award was made by the staff of the Kaua‘i division of the state Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation & Services for the Blind Division offices, who were joined by state Sen. Ron Kouchi, D-Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau, and state Rep. James Tokioka, D-Wailua-Lihu‘e-Koloa, who presented the staff with a state Legislature commendation on the honor, Tuesday at the YWCA’s Lihu‘e office.
“The YWCA of Kaua‘i’s mission statement reflects an unwavering commitment and ‘dedication to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all,’” said VR Kaua‘i counselor Debra Matsumoto, who nominated the organization for the honor.
“Beyond its mission statement, the YWCA has also provided a tremendous service to other agencies on the island, providing support for those in need of vocational or social rehabilitation.”
Brenda Viado, the Kaua‘i VR Division head, said one of the VR clients started out with an internship at the YWCA and is now employed, in charge of the YWCA’s maintenance and landscaping.
Another client is currently enjoying an internship at the YWCA as well.
Matsumoto said Renae Hamilton, the YWCA executive director, provided several internship opportunities for persons with physical and psychological impediments.
“Ms. Hamilton and her staff have always been open to meeting potential new hires and believe in giving everyone a chance to prove themselves,” she said.
“Job-carving and other accommodations such as modifying job tasks or work schedules have been readily provided as needed.”
Clients have blossomed in self-confidence and gained valuable job skills under the direction and care provided by the YWCA staff, including Program Manager Jennifer Ire, Director of Operations KipuKai Kuali‘i, and Administrative Assistant Nani Bandmann.
Kouchi said it is through these unique partnerships that organizations such as the YWCA are managing to be successful during these tight economic times.
“Time and again, the YWCA of Kaua‘i has exceeded all VR expectations across the board and should be commended for its efforts on behalf of persons with disabilities,” Matsumoto said.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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