Latest News

HLCF Grant Supports RYSE, A Kailua Nonprofit Serving Youth and Young Families

We recently exchanged emails with Carla Houser, the executive director of Residential Youth Services & Empowerment (RYSE). The charitable nonprofit based in Kailua serves youth and young families on O‘ahu. Their mission is to provide a continuum of support that empowers Hawai‘i’s street youth to move beyond homelessness.

RYSE Shelter for O‘ahu Youth

Since opening in June 2018, RYSE has served approximately 150 youth per year. RYSE currently provides a 24/7 access center as part of the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center in Kailua, with daytime drop-in services that run from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

The on-site living and dining quarters offer homeless youth, ages 18 to 24, a safe place to sleep and receive a hot meal. Their Kailua facility accommodates as many as 18 young people, but they’ve been forced to scale back to ensure safe social distancing since the start of the pandemic. Youth can stay in their shelter for up to 60 days.

RYSE Provides Stability & Services

RYSE provides youth and young families experiencing homelessness with shelter — but their important work doesn’t stop there. RYSE also empowers young people by supplying vital tools and community resources that lead to self-sufficiency. These may include access to medical, educational, and employment services.

The RYSE Kailua facility houses an additional 12 young people in private bedrooms at what RYSE refers to as their “engagement” level of service. Youth participating at this level are able to create greater stability in their lives and work towards their goals with the help of a case manager.

Youth sheltered at RYSE often work on the campus farm, where they learn about food sustainability. Take Dawson, pictured here at his graduation. While living at RYSE, Houser shared that Dawson obtained his GED, driver’s license, and vocational skills that allowed him to transition into his own apartment in Kailua.

RYSE Celebration 2020

With limited space and social distancing measures curbing its capacity, the organization has plans to expand in 2020 — adding a 15-bed housing collaborative in Haleiwa, a 6-bed shelter for unaccompanied minors in Kailua, and a 14-unit housing complex in Leeward O‘ahu. Safe shelter is always crucial, but never so much as it is during a pandemic when the health and well-being of our youth are at an increased risk.

RYSE was one of several charitable nonprofits across the state that received grant funding from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund in 2019. Houser shared that the grant money helped fund their shelter program. “At RYSE, we believe housing is a basic human right, and we are grateful for the support provided by Hawai‘i Life and the community who support our vision of no youth homelessness in Hawai‘i,” said Carla Houser.

Ways to Help

You can DONATE ONLINE to RYSE anytime. Choose a one-time gift or a recurring donation on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

RYSE Celebration 2020

RYSE is holding a 2020 virtual celebration. Your online donations for a “virtual table” will directly impact the services they provide in our community. 

Virtual Table Tiers:

  • Presenting – $25,000
  • Leader – $20,000
  • Collaborator – $15,000
  • Partner – $10,000
  • Friend – $5,000

Here are some of the ways your gifts will impact RYSE and the youth they serve:

  • $5,000 – sponsors one room and all services for one month
  • $2,500 – provides vocational training with certified instructors
  • $1,000 – provides a paid internship for a young adult for one month
  • $500 – pays for van transportation for one month
  • $250 – pays for driver’s education and the opportunity to obtain a license
  • $100 – provides supplies boots, scrubs, uniforms, or a bus pass

Aloha United Way Workplace Giving

RYSE is a member of Aloha United Way (AUW). Carla Houser recently shared more about their support from AUW this Hawai‘i News Now segment. You can donate to RYSE or start a workplace giving program to benefit RYSE by visiting the Aloha United Way website

Give Aloha at Foodland

Give Aloha is Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program. Throughout September, Maika’i members are invited to make donations up to $249 to their favorite participating Hawai‘i non-profit organization at checkout. You can help RYSE by donating on your next grocery shopping trip using Foodland’s RYSE Give Aloha Code #78929.

For more information about RYSE and to learn how you and your organization can get involved, please contact:

Carla Houser, MSW
Executive Director
Residential Youth Services & Empowerment (RYSE)

Comments (0) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

More Articles from Hawaii Life