On January 24, 2019, local nonprofit Aloha House held a graduation ceremony at Makawao Union Church’s Community Hall to celebrate and honor the 113 individuals who completed residential substance abuse treatment between June 3, 2018 and December 15, 2018. Graduates’ friends and family members joined the festivities to honor their loved ones’ accomplishments.
Aloha House promotes recovery and healthy lifestyles to individuals and families by providing compassionate, effective and comprehensive behavioral health services with the spirit of excellence and aloha. Its Residential Treatment Program, located upcountry, provides a structured living environment for those who need a real “time-out” from their daily lives in order to deal with their addiction issues. The Program provides nursing care, individual, group and family counseling and therapy, psychological services, case management, recovery education, discharge planning and assistance in developing sober support in the community.
The ceremony included speeches by two Aloha House alumni as well as by multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award recipient and Grammy Award winner John Cruz. Cruz, who was born and raised in Palolo Valley on the island of O’ahu, is open about his struggles with addiction. During the event he also performed a few of his songs.
“We were honored to have John share his message of hope with our graduates, current residents and attendees in today’s celebration,” said Michele Navarro Ishiki, Aloha House Residential Treatment Program Director. “Sharing your deepest and darkest moments takes courage, and it brings a sense of hope to and others that they can come back from their struggles too. Drugs and alcohol do not discriminate, and neither does recovery. We mahalo John for sharing his experience, strength, hope and also his beautiful music.”
During the event counselors announced each graduate by name, presented them with a certificate and lei and said a few words about the journey of their former client and the wishes they have for that person. CJ Ho’okano and Poi by the Pound donated food for the event’s large celebration luncheon.