As we come to the end of 2021, I would like to let you know how much we appreciate your support for RYSE- whether you donated items, made a contribution, read our newsletter or just liked a Facebook post. It takes a community to help our street youth and all your caring and interest matters. This year through our street outreach, shelter and housing programs, we were able to help over 400 opportunity youth with shelter, hot meals, education, medical and behavioral health care, and hope, despite a pandemic. We will always continue the work to end youth homelessness.
I am extremely humbled by our outstanding staff who have worked with unwavering passion through the pandemic. Day in and day out, our youth care counselors, outreach workers, case managers, program managers, and site coordinators have worked to ensure a safe place for youth. I am also proud to share that 100% of our staff are Covid-vaccinated. Health and safety is a part of ending the cycle of homelessness and we are committed to keeping our youth safe physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I am happy and excited to announce that with your help, we were able to raise $206,090 in November for RYSE Up! 2021, our annual fundraiser. While we had to pivot the event from an in-person party to a virtual one, the support remained strong. I have to acknowledge Dana Matlin of our Board of Directors and Kim Coco Iwamoto, Event Chair, for their dedication to ensure a fantastic and meaningful virtual event. With the event funds, we are able to ensure all our shelter operations for another year.
2022 promises to be another action-filled year for RYSE. Led by Partners In Development Foundation, and in collaboration with Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, Kamehameha Schools, and Lili‘uokalani Trust, the Kawailoa: A Transformative Indigenous Model to End Youth Incarceration in Hawai’i and Beyond project is one of ten W.K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Equity Challenge Grant finalists. The finalists will be announced in the summer, with awards ranging from $10 million to $16 million dollars. We are now doing eight months of capacity building to further develop the proposed project. We are also completing the process of purchasing a property on Oahu’s Leeward Side to shelter and serve youth across the island. There’s much more to come, and I’m so grateful we are able to continue to help our youth with you. Mahalo for your support.
Wishing you a safe and sheltered holiday season, and warmest aloha,