You meet Joe Sabir and you have no idea how much he’s been through. Just a regular high school senior with an easy smile and teenage swagger that suggests confidence and self-esteem. That and an impressive rushing record on the McKinley High School football team.
“I was raised without knowing who my father was and my mother abandoned me at a very young age.”
For any kid, navigating the social, academic, athletic route through high school is a challenge. Without a family to go home to, how much more stressful those years must be. For Joe Sabir, those years began in anger and rebellion. When he first came to Hale Kipa, Joe was angry. He was often involved in fights and had brushes with the law.
“I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
For the past 4 years, Joe got the support he needed in Hale Kipa’s group homes. From the Transition House, he moved to the Damon Street Home, and then to Passages. In the group homes, the fights stopped. As he learned to respect fair authority, he became something of a role model for the younger kids coming in. They paid attention when he explained how things were done in the home, and what behaviors were not allowed.
For Joe Sabir, the turning point was about a certain guy and a certain game.
“I met a football coach by the name of William Stowers.”
Through Coach Stowers—a Hale Kipa staff member at the time—Joe got involved in the team and played for McKinley High School for three years. There were still ups and downs, but there was steady progress. Football brought Joe to Australia, where he played on an all-star team from Hawai‘i. It has most recently taken him to San Jose State on a football scholarship. Even in college, he’ll continue to receive Hale Kipa’s support through his Independent Living Program (ILP) case manager.
“Someday, I want to be a social worker, psychologist or coach a high school team.”
The future is far from certain for a bright kid thrust into a complex world. But Hale Kipa has helped give Joe the best possible chance to navigate with an arsenal of coping tools, a way to seek help when he needs it, and the confidence to succeed.
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