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Jordan Veniegas always loved working with and helping people. His affinity for personal connections led him to begin his college years pursuing a career as a psychologist. A class in cultural anthropology convinced him to take a different personal direction.

“Those classes opened up my eyes and showed me that, yes, psychology is important, but there are so many other external factors that come into play in a person’s life that psychology might not be able to attend to,” Jordan said.

Social work’s holistic view to helping people, which includes a focus on external factors such as the environment, turned out to be the perfect fit for Jordan.

Jordan also believes that his experience with adversity as a member of the LGBTQ2IA+ community strengthened his ability to be empathetic and compassionate.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to take this journey in somebody’s life and walk alongside them,” the Oahu native said.

Jordan attended Kapolei middle and high schools. He began his college career at Leeward Community College before transferring to the University of Hawaii at West O’ahu where he received his bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Psychology. In 2018, he returned to school to obtain his master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Immediately following his May graduation, Jordan joined Hale Kipa as an Independent Living and Imua Kākou Case manager working with foster youth and former foster youth.

Starting a career during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, Jordan says, but he is being secure in the knowledge that he is doing the best he can under difficult circumstances.

“I’ve been able to just adapt to the situation while at the same time, showing myself some grace,” he said.

In line with this thinking, Jordan has a favorite quote from George Hostao Takei that guides the philosophy by which he lives his life: “We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity”

In his free time, Jordan loves spending time with his family, especially his 6-year-old niece and 1-year-old nephew.