Seeing her children smile again

Nicole Puente
Nicole Puente spends quality time with her son, Andre (left) and daughter, Audriana.
HONOLULU – Nicole Puente is the first to admit that her divorce six years ago from her children’s father wasn’t easy on them.

It pains them still.

But the 35-year-old patient-care representative for a local hospital insists that staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of her two children — Audriana,13, and Andre, 11 — was not an option.

“I needed as much help as possible for all of us to understand that the divorce was permanent,” Puente said, referring to the role Kids Hurt Too Hawaii played in bringing solace to her children.

“Kids Hurt Too Hawaii helped them to see that they weren’t by themselves,” Puente said. “They saw other kids going through the same situation. It made them more aware of their feelings and helped them better express their feelings.”

Puente’s two children are among the more than 250 grieving children, between ages 3 and 19, who every year turn to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii for a safe space to express feelings about their loss of a parent to such factors as divorce, death and incarceration.

Training volunteers in grief and trauma care

Trauma Training
Cynthia White offers training in helping grief-stricken children.

Next Children’s Grief and Trauma Facilitator and Mentor Training: August 13, 14, 20, & 21, 2016.

HONOLULU — Kids Hurt Too Hawaii is training volunteers to help its efforts to bring solace to grief-stricken children. DATES MAY CHANGE DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.

Click to download form: Training registration and questionnaire

The sessions are intended to develop a variety of skills centered around children’s grief and trauma.

Examples include understanding suicides, as well as the ability of crafts to help children cope with their grief.

The training comes at a time when Kids Hurt Too Hawaii is focused on attracting volunteers who are enthusiastic about the organization’s mission.

“We look forward to training volunteers who are willing to devote time and energy to helping grief-stricken and traumatized children, struggling with the loss of a parent, abuse, and/or neglect,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.”

For more information about the training, call (808) 545-5683.

Stepping in to help out

Donna Hodges gets helpful tips from Cynthia White
Donna Hodges (right) gets helpful tips from Cynthia White.

HONOLULU — A difference can start with one person.

Just ask Donna Hodges, a 53-year-old Makaha resident who adopted her two grandsons nearly five years ago after their mother could no longer care for them.

To hear Hodges tell it, her 33-year-old daughter, Rosina, never recovered emotionally from when, at age 7, her father died in prison.

Her daughter’s chronic mental-health problems left her grandsons with two choices: living in foster care or with their grandmother.

“Kids Hurt Too Hawaii really helped me give them hope,” said Hodges. “With my grandsons, who were ages 6 and 7 at the time, it was helping them vent and share their feelings. Now, at age 9 and 10, and watching me go through chemotherapy for breast cancer, it’s using woodcraft to help them overcome inner feelings. They would take their feelings out on the wood by sanding it and sanding it. Kids Hurt Too has been a way for them to see that they don’t have to keep their feelings bottled in. I really believe in Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.”

Seeking donors and volunteers

Hiro Ito working with children
Dedicated volunteers and donors are critical to Kids Hurt Too Hawaii's existence.
HONOLULU — As Kids Hurt Too Hawaii turns its attention to providing grief-stricken children with a safe space to express their feelings, the non-profit organization continues to seek dedicated donors and volunteers.

The renewed push comes at a time when the nonprofit organization is focused on addressing its two biggest challenges: engaging volunteers and raising funds.

Both are critical to its efforts to continue transforming grief-stricken children’s pain into newfound acceptance and self-esteem.

“A high priority for us is to attract volunteers who are enthusiastic about our organization’s mission and demonstrate their excitement by willingly devoting time and energy toward helping our organization reach its goals,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

For more information, call (808) 256-3176.

Taking training abroad

Kids Hurt Too Hawaii offers training in Japan.
Kids Hurt Too Hawaii offers training in Japan.
HONOLULU — Kids Hurt Too Hawaii continues to expand its efforts to help children struggling with the loss of a parent.

Grief-stricken children in orphanages across Japan are the latest example of the nonprofit organization’s international reach.

Adults who experienced life in Japan’s social welfare system are benefiting in a big way from a two-day training session organized by Kids Hurt Too Hawaii, which helped them learn skills for engaging young people in conversations about their struggles.

At least one participant expressed appreciation for the training, which was characterized as helping him understand how his own experience could be helpful in the work he does with other youth.

“Our counseling and mentoring programs in Japan are intended to help traumatized children abroad draw strength from peers and relatives in their efforts to overcome sadness and feelings of isolation,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

Improving skills in trauma care

Grief and Trauma Care Training
Cynthia White begins training in the art of trauma care.

HONOLULU — Kids Hurt Too Hawaii has set its sights on training social workers across the state in helping grief-stricken children cope with the loss of a parent.

The two-hour training session starts Jan. 18, when social workers will be able to learn a full range of skills centered on grief and trauma, including helping them understand how children grieve as well as identifying the signs of suicide.

The training from Kids Hurt Too Hawaii comes amid a new state law that makes at least 15 hours of such training a condition for getting their license renewed.

“We look forward to the opportunity to help improve the ability for traumatized children to get the professional support they need to move beyond their pain,” said Cynthia White, executive director of Kids Hurt Too Hawaii.

For more information, call (808) 256-3176.

Helping foster kids take charge

Seymour Kazimirski volunteers time to talk with former foster youth about taking charge of their lives.

HONOLULU — In the latest example of its efforts to restore hope to grief-stricken children, Kids Hurt Too Hawaii continues to take steps to help a group of former foster youth focus on goals.

The nine youth in the group met for their weekly meeting led by Seymour Kazimirski, a Kids Hurt Too Hawaii volunteer, who brings expertise in a full range of professional experiences.

Kazimirski led the youth, between ages 17 and 26, in a group discussion centered on identifying and reaching goals.

Kazimirski is among Kids Hurt Too Hawaii’s dozens of volunteers who are enthusiastic about the organization’s mission and demonstrate their excitement by willingly devoting time and energy toward helping it reach its goals.

“I am so grateful that life has been so good to me that I want to help others in making life good for them,” Kazimirski said.