Help Hawai‘i’s Youth in Need Find Their Way to Adulthood

When you think about the things you’d do on your 18th birthday, chances are, moving homes isn’t one of them. That’s exactly where Steven* found himself after he was discharged from a being fostered as a ward of the state, where he spent his last year as a minor. Having been born and raised on the Big Island, Steven transitioned to adulthood without friends or family with which to celebrate. Instead, he spent his birthday transitioning to Catholic Charities of Hawaii’s Horizons Independent Living program to start his new life.

Horizons, located on Oahu, is an independent living program and outreach service available to young adults ages 18 to 25 who are transitioning out of mental health, child welfare, or juvenile justice systems. Residents may live in the home for up to 24 months where they learn independent living skills and take advantage of a matching savings plan.

Steven entered the program eager to start taking advantage of all the program had to offer. The staff at the Horizons program were able to help Steven enroll in classes at Honolulu Community College, obtain a part-time job, and work toward developing positive living skills with the goal of independence.

“I’m thankful that the Horizons program was able to show me the resources and tools I can use to become more independent and live a better life,” Steven shares.

A key skill the Horizons program focuses on is financial literacy and the ability to appropriately budget. Although many independent living skills are linked, money management is crucial in helping young adults maintain their housing and basic needs. Along with proper budgeting, the Horizons program offers an Individual Development Account which helps teach and incentivize financial saving.

“The Horizons program helped me to manage my finances, learn to budget and do my taxes so I can succeed in life. Through their savings program I was able to save over $7,000 to help start my new chapter in life,” says Steven.

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Steven was able to successfully move out on his own with two jobs that offer strong career potential and financial savings that allowed him to obtain his own permanent housing – a rental apartment that he can call his own home, and independent living skills that help promote positive and healthy habits.

“I want to thank to everyone at Catholic Charities Hawai‘i for everything you guys do behind closed doors. I know it’s not easy, but thank you guys so much for allowing people just like me to have a better life,” shares Steven.

As our state grapples with the recent health crisis and associated budget constraints, critical programs like Horizons are at risk for losing funding. Please consider making a generous donation today to help us provide a much-needed support system to our young people as they transition to adulthood so that they can remain independent and safe.

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*Name changed for client confidentiality