Welcome, Eden and Darlene!

Two new staffers joined YWCA O'ahu last month. Eden Monteilh is our new manager of Health & Wellness and Member Services. Darlene Dela Cruz has come onboard as the YWCA O'ahu marketing/communications coordinator. 

Eden Monteilh

Eden Monteilh

Eden Monteilh has a background in the fitness industry as a manager, director, program designer, personal trainer, workshop presenter and exercise instructor for more than 23 years. She has worked for non-profit, military and private facilities, as well as opened her own Functional Training gym for nearly four years. Eden specializes in TRX training, athletic conditioning for youth and adults and is known for "out of the box" fitness programs. She recently was contracted for and completed the Special Olympics Hawai'i 2018 Functional Training program for their athletes and coaches. Her off-time is spent training for triathlons and obstacle course races, hiking and working with special needs children. She moved from Virginia Beach to Hawai'i 25 years ago and has four children. She fundamentally believes that everyone is an “athlete,” and personal fitness needs to be a lifestyle, not a resolution. Personal fitness requires opportunity, discipline and motivation. At a young age she was discouraged by others not to pursue various activities due to a congenital back issue, but she has found her "athlete" within, and she’s passionate about helping others find their athletic goals.

Some of Eden's goals for YWCA O'ahu Health & Wellness are new facility updates and class formats, and providing more cutting-edge fitness challenges for members. She will serve as an instructor for a few classes, and is always available to answer any fitness or membership questions.

 

Darlene Dela Cruz

Darlene Dela Cruz

Darlene was born and raised in Kalihi, Honolulu, Hawai'i. She is an alum of Farrington High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, with a minor certificate in Spanish. Darlene initially was a nursing major, but she decided to pursue a career in reporting and media when she started a blog during her junior year of college and realized how her impacted others.

She worked as a writer and features editor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa student newspaper, then traveled to New York City to study magazine/book publishing for six weeks at the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. Prior to arriving at YWCA O'ahu, she worked as managing editor of the new “magazine division” launched by Oahu Publications, then served as reporter/photographer for the Hawai'i Catholic Herald newspaper. 

In her spare time, Darlene enjoys watching sports, singing and shopping.

Darlene made many new friends and enjoyed her experience as a former Health & Wellness member at YWCA  Laniākea  from 2009 to 2016. She is grateful to return to YWCA O'ahu now as a staffer and hopes she can assist in getting word out about YWCA Oahu's mission.

Nicole Velasco

nicolevelasco.jpg

YWCA O'ahu warmly welcomes one of the newest members of its Board of Directors, Nicole A. Velasco. 

Nicole serves as the lead for business development in Hawai'i for NORESCO, an energy efficiency company. On behalf of NORESCO, she is responsible for creating awareness about Hawaii’s energy opportunities, supporting educational efforts to increase local workforce training in the energy sector, and driving impact through government systems and buildings upgrades at both the city and state level.

Velasco previously served the City & County of Honolulu as executive director of the Office of Economic Development and as executive secretary of the Neighborhood Commission Office. Velasco has also worked as an analyst for the Hawai'i State Office of the Auditor and the Finance Committee of the Hawai'i State House of Representatives. She has been a government affairs advisor at Ashford & Wriston, LLP, as well, representing a variety of clients with legislative concerns in the State of Hawai'i. 

Q: Do you have any fond memories of YWCA O'ahu?

A: My first experience with the YWCA ohana was in 2012, when I was an assistant coach for the Farrington (High School) women's water polo team. Without a pool on campus, our girls were grateful to have access to the locker rooms, gym and heated pool. For many of these student-athletes, going to the YWCA in downtown Honolulu was the greatest exposure they had outside of Kalihi. To know that they got to spend quality time together building collaborative skills in a safe environment was a gift that I know we'll never forget. 

Q: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?  

A: By preschool, I wanted to be a lawyer, doctor, and teacher ... all at the same time! I was pretty young when the O.J. Simpson case was live, and I was inspired by Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor. Though I didn't fully understand all the details of the prosecution, I liked that she was speaking truth and leading her team.

Q: What would you like to work on or accomplish as a member of the YWCA O'ahu Board of Directors? 

A: In alignment with my own personal missions, serving on the advocacy committee is what I am most excited about. While strengthening our laws is only one piece of the puzzle, we must have stronger laws to ensure the safety, protection and health of our community.

Q: What advice do you have for empowering women and young girls?  

A: Discover your voice and be heard.

Christine Lanning

christine_lanning_0014r-2.jpg

YWCA O'ahu warmly welcomes one of its newest Board of Directors, Christine Lanning. Christine leads an elite team of system integrators as President of Integrated Security Technologies - a woman-owned, small technology business in Hawaii in business since 1998. IST’s mission “Leading Hawaii to a Safer Place” reflects her history of commitment to the local community and the security industry.

In 2014, Christine was awarded the ASIS Woman of the Year Award and in 2015 became the first female elected to the Board of Directors for PSA Security Network, North America’s largest electronic security cooperative. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems. Christine is a champion for culture building and leadership, believing in Ho’ohui (creating connections and building bridges together).

Q: What is your fondest memory of YWCA O'ahu?

A: The first yoga class I ever took was at the YWCA. It was at a time in my life when I was learning about physical fitness. My yoga teacher was amazing with newbies and really taught me a lot about my body confidence.

Q: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?  

A: My mother wore business suits to work and she was well respected. So I wanted to be something where I could wear a business suit and be as respected. Little did I know that there was more to it than what you wear.

Q: What would you like to work on and/or accomplish through your directorship at YWCA O'ahu? 

A: I would like to work with as many young woman as possible and help them with their confidence and understanding that they can do anything they put their mind to.

Q:What is one piece of advice for women and young girls?  

A: Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is one of the most difficult things to appreciate. But failure is when the magic of change and growth happens.

Kendra Oishi

Kendra Oishi 2018.jpg

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

RCOH-trolley.jpg

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