Mona Kaahu – Kulana Nani

Mona married young, and had five children. When she divorced her first husband and re-married, a disaster struck. Her distraught first husband abducted one of her sons; and then her second husband began to drink and take drugs – becoming emotionally abusive and physically violent. Mona found herself feeling desperate and alone, and feeling overwhelmed by her life, she too turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain she felt so deeply.

One day, Mona made a life changing decision. She moved into a domestic violence shelter, and went through a detoxification program. After three months at the women’s shelter, she moved into a transitional shelter and was assigned a social worker to help her to plan for a new life. Mona took a course, and was licensed as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She then decided that she wanted to raise her children on her own, and enrolled in college to become a Registered Nurse.

In order to care for her children, Mona needed to find appropriate housing, but she struggled to find a steady home because of her poor credit rating. Although she was at first denied a unit at Kulana Nani, Mona reached out for help, and developed a relationship with EAH Housing Leasing Agent Priscilla Gallarde and Administrative Assistant Pam Campbell. These women continued to work with Mona, and encouraged her to appeal the decision, work on improving her credit, and re-apply for an apartment.

“My story is a long one, so I will cut to the chase, after experiencing many things, one thing I know for sure, there are a lot of caring people out there who know how to balance professionalism with aloha, Priscilla and Pam are two of these people. ” Mona goes on to say, “Kulana Nani Apartments are very fortunate to have efficient and caring employees who do their jobs with heart. I cannot begin to express how comforting it was to hear their friendly, familiar voices, see their genuine smiles, and know that they look at me as a person and not a number. ”

On October 21, 2007, Mona moved into Kulana Nani Apartments. She now takes care of her children, attends college full time, and she works weekends for a drug and mental illness rehabilitation facility where she helps others who are going through difficulties, some similar to what she experienced in her past.