For Janae Akima, pursuing a career in nursing seemed like a natural choice.
After graduating from high school on Oahu, Akima transitioned out of foster care and received support from Hale Kipa, ultimately in the Imua Kakou program, which launched in July 2014 to assist youth ages 18-21 years old. After turning 21 this summer, she will continue to receive support under a separate Hale Kipa program as she pursues her higher education and career goals.
Akima is driven by a desire to help others. Coupled with her interest in math and science, she has earned her Associate’s Degree from Leeward Community College and joined a highly competitive pre-nursing program with the goal of entering into the University of Hawaii’s nursing program this spring.
“Nursing is a helping profession,” she said. “It is my way of giving back to my community and giving back to those who have helped me. I know what it is like to struggle, and what it is like to feel helpless, and I want to help bring people out of it.”
In addition to a full-time academic schedule, Akima also works part-time at a Jamba Juice near where she lives in Waianae. She encourages her peers to save and spend wisely, and is already putting away money to help pay off her college loans and other expenses.
“Janae is an extremely bright, motivated and inspiring young person,” said Hale Kipa Case Manager Melissa Willke.
Akima said the support she has received under Hale Kipa has allowed her to transition from “just surviving” in high school to realizing her goals and understanding where she wants to go.
“The biggest thing that it gave me was stability as far as having money (funds are provided by the State) to save for a car and housing,” she said. “It really got me on my feet and helped me not to worry so much about where I am going to go, or what I am going to live off of. It helped ease my mind.”
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