Kendra Oishi

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YWCA O‘ahu warmly welcomes one of its newest Board of Directors, Kendra Oishi. As the Executive Administrator and Secretary to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, Kendra offers our organization a wealth of knowledge and information about public service and government.

Kendra is a lifelong Hawaii resident whose academic, professional, and personal activities have centered around community and public service. A proud product of Hawaii’s public school system, Kendra found herself on a career path dedicated to public service and has over 19 years of state government experience. Her career has focused largely on the areas of policy development and implementation, the state budget, and education.

Kendra has developed a deep affinity toward community engagement in local politics. She served as the Chair of the Committee on Credentials for the 2012 and 2014 Hawaii State Democratic Conventions and recently completed a term as a Region Chair for the Oahu County Democrats. Kendra has participated in policy research and debate prep activities for statewide campaigns. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Hawaii - West Oahu and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of San Francisco.

In her free time, Kendra enjoys traveling, photography, reading, and dining with friends.

Kendra also guides and informs our Advocacy Committee on many important topics. To learn more about our advocacy work and Committee, please visit:  https://www.ywcaoahu.org/advocacy/.

'Tis the Season of Service Above Self

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The Rotary Club of Honolulu is home to many business, civic, and community leaders who come together with the common purpose of “Service Above Self”.  Throughout this year, YWCA O'ahu has been an honored partner of this service-minded community group whom has dedicated hours of community service and fellowship specifically to the Fernhurst Residence and its staff and residents.

Not only was the Rotary Club of Honolulu able to give Fernhurst some much-needed tender loving care, but during this holiday season, the staff and women of YWCA Fernhurst had an extra special treat – they were able to go Christmas caroling on beautiful trolleys en route to see the holiday lights!  With the generous support of the Rotary Club of Honolulu, three beautifully decorated trolleys were secured for the Rotarians and our staff and women to sing carols to the community while on their way to tour the Honolulu City Lights.

The evening began with the Fernhurst residents breaking bread with their families and friends, and ended with the Rotary Club of Honolulu joining them for dessert.  The flood of warmth and camaraderie was shared in a Mahalo Circle, where each participant shared what she or he was thankful for.  With full bellies and warmth in everyone’s souls, Rotarians, residents, and staff headed onto the trolleys Honolulu Hale bound.

On their way, they visited YWCA Laniākea to share their holiday joy and serenade staff and extended YWCA Ohana with a few Christmas carols.  The staff and participants enjoyed it alike!

The evening ended in conversation and celebration back at Fernhurst where everyone could see the holiday spirit was alive and well, and the Rotary Club’s dedication to service above self remains at the forefront of all their engagements.

YWCA O'ahu is only as successful as its relationships and partnerships.  The support of community partners like the Rotary Club of Honolulu propel the organization to further its mission.

If you or your organization would like to get involved with supporting our community, please contact us at https://www.ywcaoahu.org/volunteer/

Mahalo to the Rotary Club of Honolulu and to the many community partners that support us and the nonprofit community!

Happy New Year!

In Service,

YWCA O'ahu

Founded on the Foundation of Giving

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As we enter into the season of gratitude and thanks, we remember the generosity that spurred our beginnings and empowers us today. From the original charter members to our Mission Making Society members, we are thankful for all those in our history who gave to support our cause. 

YWCA O’ahu was founded on the porch steps of Mrs. Dillingham’s home in 1900. The founding women wanted a place where women could meet and support their community. One of the first programs developed was The Homestead, a residence for working women, which opened to address concerns regarding insufficient safe and affordable housing. 

The Atherton Family donated the original Fernhurst Building as a tribute to their daughter Kate in 1919. Over the course of its history, it helped to provide safe, transitional housing to some 10,000 women. 

In 1924, the members and community were able to raise the $350,000 for the grounds on Richards Street in less than a week and work began on our Laniākea facility in 1926, which was completed in 1927. This year we recognize the generosity of the community as Laniākea celebrates 90 years of providing a safe space to run our programs and offer our services. 

In 1925, the Hawaiian Girls Club donated $1,000 to the new building and named the hall after Elizabeth Fuller, their first president. Fuller Hall is now a reception hall, meeting place, and community icon. Life changing moments occur in our well-loved hall, and we thank the Hawaiian Girls Club making it possible. 

Camp Halekipa merged with Kokokahi Community Trust to create YWCA Kokokahi. Dr. Theodore Richards envisioned Kokokahi to be a place where all people of Hawai‘i could live and play together. This past year, we rededicated Kokokahi, as we continue to grow the camp and retreat property, fulfilling Dr. Richards’ vision. 

The community continued to support us through fundraising events and capital campaigns, and today we are all beneficiaries of these individuals and the community’s generosity. 

Over the decades, the generosity of our members continued. Most recently, we welcomed a new group of supporters, the Mission Making Society. These members pledged to support the mission and vision of YWCA O‘ahu. We are extremely thankful for their dedication and belief in YWCA O’ahu and invite you to join this esteemed group of dedicated women and men who are creating a sustainable future for us. 

For more information on how to be our newest Mission Making Society Member, please visit: https://www.ywcaoahu.org/mission-making-society.

Empowering the Next Generation Through Mentorship

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Hello! My name is Taylor McKenzie and I am a senior at Sacred Hearts Academy. I am also a member of the Girls Got Grit (GGG) mentorship program, which connects students at Sacred Hearts Academy to mentorships with female leaders in the community. Through GGG, I had the opportunity to learn at the YWCA during an eight-week mentorship. 

In history class, we discussed inequality like it was a thing of the past that we are not still dealing with today. This is not true. An example of current inequality is who is being incarcerated in Hawai‘i. In 2013, 44 percent of female prisoners were Native Hawaiians, despite only accounting for 19.8 percent of the population. This demonstrates that Native Hawaiians are disproportionately affected by the justice system. Not only is our society suffering from inequality, more often than not, the people who are being hit the hardest are women. Female incarceration rates have been a growing issue in Hawaiʻi for some time. The majority of imprisoned women are not only Native Hawaiian, they are also mothers. In 2008, the Department of Human Services found that 85 percent of incarcerated women in Hawaiʻi have children. This is 10 percentage points higher than the nationwide average. 

The YWCA is one of the organizations that is working to put an end to the inequality in Hawaiʻi and around the world. In our community, they are a tremendous support in helping previously incarcerated women re-enter the community and reconnect with their families. Through my mentorship at the YWCA, I reconnected with my dream to become a journalist who uses words to make a difference. I plan to continue writing about the issues that women face in the world and support the YWCA in their mission to solve these problems.

MCBL Launches Second Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance Cohort

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The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL) at YWCA O‘ahu has launched the second cohort of their Leadership Alliance. Twenty-two outstanding women from a variety of industries were selected to participate in the program, which aims to further develop management and leadership skills in an effort to increase the representation of women executives in Hawai‘i.

“We are very excited to start this journey with a new and inspiring group of emerging women leaders,” said Terri Funakoshi, MCBL Director. “We look forward to working closely with them and empowering them to become their personal and professional best.”

The future Mink Leaders began an intensive 10‐month program that will culminate in a community service capstone project and graduation ceremony in June 2018. Session topics will include Strategic Planning, Emotional Intelligence, Social Capital Building, Principles of Negotiation, Financial Business Acumen and Intrapreneurial Thinking – a majority of which will be facilitated by prominent women leaders. A big mahalo goes to the signature sponsor for this second cohort, Kaiser Permanente.

Participants have already attended the first two sessions in the series. On September 8, the official launch and orientation session was held at YWCA O‘ahu’s beautiful Kokokahi facility, with a class on Group Facilitation. On September 18, the Alliance visited YWCA O‘ahu Fernhurst to learn about the many programs that are dedicated to empowering and supporting women transitioning out of prison, with the goal of successfully reintegrating these women into the community and reducing recidivism.

Next month, cohort members will attend Hawaii Business Magazine’s 10th annual Wahine Forum, Hawai‘i’s largest leadership and career development conference for women. With a theme of “Work Together, Rise Together,” this year’s Forum will feature more than 20 speakers, with a keynote address by Miriam Hernandez-Kakol, U.S. Service Line Leader for Customer and Operations, KPMG. MCBL, along with YWCA O‘ahu, are special partners with Hawaii Business Magazine for the Wahine Forum Conference.

The Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership was established by YWCA O‘ahu, the U.S. Small Business Administration and a community of partners to become the only Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Hawai‘i. WBCs are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses, and seek to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs who still face unique obstacles in the business world. The Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance launched in September 2016 with its inaugural cohort of 14 women, who successfully completed the program and graduated in March 2017. The program is named in honor of Patsy T. Mink, the first female Asian American and the first female from Hawai‘i to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Are you a mid-career professional woman who is looking for a way to enhance your leadership skills?  Do you know of a woman who has been interested in growing her network to help her progress her career?  If so,

click here to learn more about THE PATSY T. MINK LEADERSHIP ALLIANCe.