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Young children share homeless experience

Building relationships between students and teachers, that was the topic of a panel discussion on Caring for Homeless...

Posted: Jun 30, 2018 9:46 AM
Updated: Jun 30, 2018 9:47 AM

Building relationships between students and teachers, that was the topic of a panel discussion on Caring for Homeless Keiki at Makiki Christian Church Tuesday night.

16 year old Nainoa Brown-Kahananui gets emotional talking about his favorite teacher who came to visit him at Puuhonua O Waianae, Oahu's largest homeless camp.

"He came one time to go visit auntie and then he saw me. He started to open up ask me if I need anything come and ask. For that I actually thank him," Brown-Kahananui said.

On his turf, on the teacher's off time, a relationship was formed.

Queenie Marcellino-Filo and Sahara Castro also live in the village. They shared experiences about home-life and the day-to-day grind as high schoolers at the panel as well. For them, success depends on support they get from their teachers.

"I want them to be open and not belittle us because of where we come from... The teachers would help more but not as much more," Castro said.

At the beginning of each school year, every students' housing information's is collected.

"If a student comes to you guys and identifies themselves to you guys as they house-less if they want to be recognized that's for him or her to share but if not that's for you to build a relationship with that person," Twinkle Borges, Puuhonua o Waianae said.

Some teachers donate clothing, school supplies, even food. Homeless experts on Oahu say many times, it's not just about addressing physical needs.

"The majority of kids who are on the streets they're the victims of abuse. Whether it be physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse," Kent Anderson, Waikiki Health said.

Anderson is the chief high risk services officer at Waikiki Health, which helps with Youth Outreach. He says they found more than 75 percent of Oahu's keiki reported abuse in their past.

Anderson, like Tuesday's "Caring for our Homeless Keiki" panelists stress the way to get and give support is through relationships.

"Hey I cannot help you unless I know you, and I cannot help you unless you know me and trust me. so a relationships got to come first," James Koshiba, Hui Aloha said.

Some teachers brought up their own experiences with homeless students, including the moderator Tuesday night. McKinley High School she says, has lots of homeless. They know about their housing status but they don't always understand why or know how to help.

"For the teachers out there just bring, I know you guys stick with your jobs as teachers but bring in your parent mode... I want them to be open and not belittle us because of where we come from," Marcellino-Filo said.

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