Enrichment Center for the Special Needs
WE STARTED! FINALLY! The KELII Enrichment Center Construction Begins!
The amazing journey behind our project to help our special needs Teens and Adults:
My eyes fill with tears remembering my 16 year old son's last normal day when he was so bright and
happy and talking with all his cousins. The next day my soccer playing, texting on his phone, normal
son suddenly changed and disappeared behind his own eyes. I stared at him and could see his body
but his mind wasn't there...
His father and I called his name again and again...but he kept staring right past us. It was like watching
my child die in front on my eyes and I could do nothing.
It happened the morning after his birthday when almost 80 family members and close friends came to our
house to celebrate his milestone in our Hawaiian tradition of Ohana, which means family. That party was
the last time he could recognize them and speak their names.
Not long after that tragic day he got even worse and fell into a catatonic state. We had to bath him, feed him,
brush his teeth and change his adult diapers.
From the first hours our family was immediate thrown into a new world. A team of skills trainers and
volunteers worked with him. When he developed behavior issues, hitting himself and punching walls we had
to face another level of special needs, where some also have the added disability of behavior challenges. Not
all care workers are willing to work with these cases. Many times the family is only trying to get through their
day and do not have the energy to teach skills or find ways to enrich their life. We had to call in behavior
specialists. It was endless trying to find any way to reach him, help him to feel safe and learn to progress again.
I had to decide whether to give my son away to an institution or quit my job.
It is so difficult for families to think of giving up their child to a cold institution. Who could care for them during
the day? Would they have good safe care?
I quit my job and threw myself into helping my son. My husband became the sole supporter for our family.
Our house changed into a kind of care home with skills trainers and family volunteers all pitching in. Every day it
took a team working together to teach a new gesture, trying to teach him a gesture, a new skill no matter how
small. He slowly made progress but doctors diagnosed it as a permanent neurological injury to his brain. Finally,
we began to have little victories, I remember the day one of the care workers suddenly yelled from down the hall.
I ran thinking the worst. "He smiled and looked at me in the face!"
I learned how to become an advocate and help my son and also help other families. I called senators and asked for
help. Other parents keep calling me for information and asking me what to do and where to go. In 2012, I started
Kelii Foundation for Independent Living and worked with the community to be a center for information and a
mentor to help families find services and support.
The Kelii Foundation worked with many other struggling families and several adults with special needs whose
families had years before left them to the state and they were put an adult foster home. There was nobody to
believe in them and no training center where they could again learn new skills, I saw a great gap that needed to be
filled. There was a need for a learning center where teens and adults could learn and review life skills and other skills
that would enrich their lives. Transition is the time when they finish up the last part of school and begin their new
adult life. This is a window of time when special needs adults need concentrated training for success. An enrichment
center where special needs adults can come back and be part of of a skills training and social skills program.
A place for them to go meet others like they were. Where we could introduce learning methods with music, dance
movements and even drama.
Our dream today in 2020 is to start building our Enrichment Center .
What does a person with cognitive and physical impairment need? Well, life skills, a sense of belonging and lots of
love and support. What do the families of a person with cognitive and physical impairment need? Lots of support,
hope and to feel that their loved one is safe and progressing.
We will provide that and much more!
FINALLY! The KELII Enrichment Center Construction Begins!
A learning and enrichment center for teens and adults to have a safe place specially designed for them. Where those
with higher needs or behavioral problems or low cognitive ability will not be turned away. With residential rooms
attached where some could live permanently or semi permanently while they attended the learning enrichment program.
Enrichment Learning Center will include:
Transition program for those leaving high school
Life Skills Day Program for adults
Functional cognitive skills
Teen and Young Adult Programs
Social interaction groups
Gardening and microgreen skills
Music and dance
Exercise and health
Drama with practice and performance
The Construction Project:
We have to split an existing building into two separate sections. We are adding a second floor for our family to
clear out of the ground floor where we had been living so the ground floor can be made into a completely separate
space to house the new Enrichment Center. Our family look out a loan that covers the upstairs separate building
We don't have the funds for the ground floor project. We need your help to raise money for the ground floor
construction - all the rest is in place. We have the staffing ready and there is already a waiting list. All we need now
is have the money for the contractor to buy the materials and start building it.
But we cannot do it without your help.
The Gofundme goal will raise money be for the ground floor construction where the Enrichment Center will be. We
need to remodel and construct the ground floor and add two include two residential bedrooms with potential to house
four boys. Boys that are high need and where other residences are not able to care for them. During the day those in
residence can join in the skills training at the Enrichment Center.
We have the plans completed for the building. The costs for the construction and all materials needed to have it both
ADA and state rulings compliant is north of $100,000 .
We are a small foundation, please help us and become a part of our dream.
It takes a village!
Thank you for being a part of it. Your donations are tax deductible.