Friendship House loves employers

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Friendship House staff and members mingle with their employers Wednesday during the Friendship House employers’ luncheon at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

NAWILIWILI — The staff and members of Friendship House in Kapaa love the employers who provide opportunities for its members, and on Wednesday hosted representatives of those employers to a luncheon at the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club.

“We wake up early for you,” said Kurt Nagata, a Friendship House member. “We work hard for you because, by helping you, we help ourselves.”

Friendship House, according to the state Department of Health, offers psycho social rehabilitation for adults with mental illness, as well as assistance with access to education.

“I want to thank Friendship House and the St. Michael and All Angels Church for giving me the opportunity to work,” said James McCool, a Friendship House member. “I’ve been working for about two months now, and don’t plan to quit this time.”

McCool said previously he would work for two weeks and quit. But he realized he had to change.

He started frequenting the Friendship House and, by regularly working in the kitchen unit, decided to try transitional employment, one of three types of services offered by Friendship House.

“I want to thank Tim and Vince at Friendship House for believing in me because I felt this was my last chance for employment,” McCool said. “I now work on the yard crew at St. Michael’s. I really like this job of cutting grass and raking leaves. I’ve had other jobs besides this one, like washing dishes, but it wasn’t for me. I’ve found that doing yard work is the right job for me because I work on my own to get the job done, and I enjoy being outside.”

Other employment programs include supported employment, where Friendship House maintains a relationship between the working member and employer to determine the type, frequency and location of support as well as provide assistance in training with the permission of the employer.

Finally, there is independent employment, where Friendship House provides in-house support with benefits, housing, financial and other employment needs, including providing references, resume-building, interview preparation and other employment support.

More than 15 employers were celebrated during the luncheon.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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