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Testimonials

A few years ago, I realized that I needed to leave my marriage because of domestic violence.  Domestic violence comes in many forms.  I was not sure how to leave or where to go. 

Eventually, I found out about a place called The Maui Farm, where families could live, and work with the land and animals to heal and move forward in their lives.  I was amazed that such a place existed on Maui.  It sounded incredible.  

It is.  The Maui Farm was a container for my family to heal.  The staff at The Maui Farm held my family with incredibly loving safe arms.  My children were supported as they went through the various stage of the healing process.  The weekly meetings to process my experience and learn new skills were invaluable.  I got to hear other mothers’ experiences of child raising and navigating the legal system that I never would have heard if I had been living alone, trying to carry the weight of everything by myself.  I now draw on the advice and sisterhood I received at The Maui Farm as I raise my children and handle the stress of being a single parent.

I had support in the practical things like filling out forms to get assistance for my children and myself as we began again.  I received emotional support for the deep shame that comes with living with domestic violence.

Because of the all-encompassing nature of The Maui Farm’s programs, I have been able to truly rebuild my life for my family.  I now work again doing my passion, which is teaching children. 

I was able to find an apartment upcountry for my three children and myself.  It has been a challenge stabilizing financially to support my family as a single parent, but I am doing it.  My time at the farm gave me a chance to get many things in order before having to focus on paying a full amount of Maui rent.  I have also been able to upgrade my vehicle to a safer one to transport my family. 

The life we have now is due in great part to the time we spent at The Maui Farm.  I hope that our community will continue to support The Maui Farm in helping other families to strengthen and become healthier in the long term. (GE Family)

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My children and I were living in an abusive situation and I realized that we needed to leave and find a safe, clean and sober place to live. At the same time, I made the decision to stop using and leave that life style behind. I knew that being sober was the only way my children and I would remain together as a family.

After living at the Women Helping Women shelter for a few weeks, I learned about The Maui Farm and its programs. I was hoping that the farm would be a safe, substance and alcohol-free place for my family to move to, and it has been that and more. I am very grateful for the opportunity to live at The Maui Farm. The Family Strengthening Program has brought my family closer together and has made us stronger. I also have two older sons who are happy to be part of our lives today. Living at the farm has made this possible. Since living at the farm, I’ve also learned so much about planting, growing food, the animals, and also I’ve been able to budget and save money. The farm helped me set up an account that I put money into and when I leave I have seed money that I can use to start over. The environment at the farm has also helped me to stay clean and sober for the last twelve months.

The Maui Farm helped me develop a plan to transition us to live closer to my family support system, encouraged me in achieving my goals and saving money for our future, while providing services that have strengthened my family. The program has helped my family so much. We are very grateful for the opportunity to live at The Maui Farm. (MJ Family)

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When I was given a 45 day notice to vacate the home my 4 four children and I were living in, I was devastated because I knew how difficult it is to find HUD approved housing in Maui. In addition, I had adopted my three special needs foster children a few years prior to my eviction. I felt very sad, discouraged, and disappointed that I would not be able to provide my children a safe home, and would possibly become homeless. Through MEO Head Start, I discovered The Maui Farm. The Maui Farm has not only given us a home, but it has also given me peace and safety. I am able to get tasks done in a supportive community of other women and children who are going through similar situations. Since we’ve been living at the farm, we are able to grow our own food, learn to feed and care for the animals, eat healthier, get better at time management, and the staff at The Maui Farm has been very supportive to my children and I. Because my children have special needs the animals have been especially helpful therapeutically and emotionally.

I am so grateful for The Maui Farm. My children and I would be living in our car if we didn’t have the opportunity to live at the farm. Although I am still looking for an affordable home and I am on the verge of losing my HUD voucher, I remain optimistic that we will find a home to transition into when we complete the Family Strengthening Program at The Maui Farm. (GM Family)

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My children and I lived at The Maui Farm for six months.  I learned many job skills and developed a work ethic while working in the Stipend Program.  I earned a Nurse’s Aide Certificate through University of Hawaii – Maui College, and am now qualified to work as a nursing assistant.  The Maui Farm also provided my family with a safe home and an awesome support system that helped me to close my CPS case on good release.  All these accomplishments allowed me to graduate from the Family Court Drug Court Program.  Thanks to The Maui Farm, I am one more big step towards my vision for my family’s future.  (GC Family)

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I successfully completed the Family Strengthening Program at The Maui Farm nine months ago.  When my family first came to The Farm, we were in desperate need of peace and stability.  At the time, I didn’t realize that I would find both of those things and that I would also heal my own life and create a bright future for our ‘ohana.

The Maui Farm is an amazing model for healing and empowerment.  My children immediately felt at home in its safe environment.  The gardens are full of life, so it didn’t take long to start feeling that same energy within me, as I spent time caring for the land.  The kids and I fell in love with the farm animals – pigs, goats, chickens, and bunnies.  We saw them give birth, we fed them, we talked about them every day, and we couldn’t wait to come home to them; they became a part of our family too.

My family truly benefited from the programs offered by The Maui Farm.  I worked in the Stipend Program, which allowed me to earn extra money and taught me fundamental job skills.  I was even able to develop and launch my own small business.  Our weekly support groups – Malama O Pono‘i, which means “to care for oneself” and a Life Skills group – helped me to find a support system, to forgive people who may have caused me harm, to forgive myself, and to realize that the future was mine to create for myself and my family.

The Maui Farm helped me to heal my life and as a result I am able to provide my children with a happy and stable future.   My business is continuing to grow and I even have customers on the mainland.  I owe so much of these accomplishments to the presence of The Maui Farm and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to become a part of The Maui Farm ‘ohana.  (HJ Family)

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It has been six months since my children and I were displaced due to domestic violence and my partner’s drug use.  I had no one I could go to for help at the time.  Fortunately, we were accepted into The Maui Farm’s Family Strengthening Program. 

Since I’ve been at The Farm, everything has changed.  My two sons and I have a stable home and a chance to rebuild our lives on a foundation of peace.  My children delight in feeding the animals and working in the garden.  They are doing better in school and have grown into sociable, caring boys with many friends.  They are also enjoying participating in team sports for the first time.

For me, the empowerment classes encouraged me to pursue my own ambitions and the Life Skills classes are helping me prepare for when I leave the farm.  I now have my dream job as Lead Teacher in a preschool and am working towards completing my B.A. in Early Childhood Education.

The Maui Farm has provided my family an essential step up to help us transition into our new life.  We are finally looking forward to our bright future.  (SM Family)

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My experience of The Maui Farm has helped my family to thrive and improve our lives.  My children and I felt safe and welcomed by The Maui Farm `Ohana and grew closer together as we worked on healing and mending our lives.  With the help of The Maui Farm staff, I was able to look at my life differently and plan for a better future by setting goals and accomplishing them.  I was able to take the MEO Core Four Business training, completed the Hawaii Real Estate course, and earned my Real Estate License.  Our lives have changed for the better and instead of looking down, we’re looking up! (SB Family)

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My family and I were blessed to be a part of The Maui Farm’s Family Strengthening Program.  I’ve lived in Maui all my life, but never knew of The Maui Farm.  It found me just when I needed it the most.  I was living at the Women Helping Women shelter with my four keiki and was referred to The Maui Farm.  My family and I were able rebuild our foundation to be a strong-knit family. I have gained so much knowledge from participating in the Life Skills classes, ‘Ohana sessions, Akamai Parenting classes, planting our own food, caring for the animals, and planning our future.  I’ve learned planning and setting goals are important for my family, and as we completed our goals we then set new ones.  I am currently enrolled back in college and feel better about my role as a mother.  Providing a safe and stable home for my children is very important to me, and without the support of The Maui Farm this would not be possible.  Having this opportunity has brought me to a better place in my life and I am very thankful for the support The Maui Farm provided for my family.  (SK Family)

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I’m a single mother of a 4 year old son.  While living at The Maui Farm and participating in the Family Strengthening Program, I have gained so much knowledge and feel better about myself because I behave more responsibly. When I first got to the farm, I felt so lost; all I knew is that I had my child to take care of and I needed to make positive changes in my life, and I have. Today I feel more grounded in hope and have confidence that my son and I will continue to make our dreams a reality by being proactive in accomplishing our goals.

I really benefited from the weekly classes for Malama ‘O Pono‘i, which means to care for oneself. The classes are very empowering.  They helped me to heal and grow stronger to keep moving forward in my life.  I learned to see difficult situations in my life differently.  Doors started opening and by making my goals a priority, I started accomplishing them.  I also learned in Akamai Parenting classes that it is important to know that to be a good parent, you must take care of yourself.  Positive reinforcement, patience, and consistency make for more harmony in my home.  The stipend work program helped me gain many different job skills and how to be a better employee. We also learned to grow healthy food which is a skill I will forever cherish. This helps me be independent and a good provider for my family.  Other goals that I attained living on the farm are getting my driver’s license, a vehicle, and a fulltime job, and my son is enrolled in preschool fulltime.  I am very proud of myself.

Living on the farm has taught me the importance of having the support of other single moms. By living as a community we never feel alone. We form lifetime bonds and will continue to support each other now and in the future.  The Maui Farm is a place where you can start a new life with total support, and it has made a big difference for my son and I. (GL Family)

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Living at The Maui Farm, I came a very long way from my past.  When I came to The Maui Farm, I had been living in the drug world for fifteen years.  When I decided to make a big change in my life by living clean and sober, I was in an abusive relationship that led me to the shelter at Women Helping Women. I transitioned from Women Helping Women to The Maui Farm’s Family Strengthening Program. Being a part of The Maui Farm taught me how important it is to love myself and to focus on me by having positive thoughts that will help me with my self-esteem, which was at a very low level. I learned how to use positive discipline with my son and the importance of loving and teaching him right from wrong with patience.  I learned to focus on myself and to have patience when things get hard. Appreciating the women in my life helped me to grow into a confident, strong and independent woman. I appreciate everything my family was able to do at The Maui Farm, especially learning how to grow food to harvest and cook, which helps us to save money. The Malama ‘O Pono‘i classes taught me how to overcome my physical, mental, and emotional feelings that I once struggled with. Weekly life skills classes taught me about setting goals, budgeting, time management, and food and nutrition.  Living with other families also helped me to be more open minded and mindful of other people’s feelings and opinions and to work with one another as one ‘Ohana.  I am working fulltime as a cook assistant at a nonprofit company and I love my job.  I am still sober and taking care of myself and my son on my own.  I am very thankful for all the blessings in my life, including The Maui Farm.  (CA Family)

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In April 2011, The Maui Farm heard from the first family to graduate from the Family Strengthening Program: J.A. and her four sons completed the Family Strengthening Program in 2007. J.A maintains regular contact with The Maui Farm, because “We are ‘ohana. I want you folks to stay connected, to see the boys grow up.” Four years later, J.A. has remarried and reports that their family is “doing great”. She wants to be an inspiration for other single mothers who come to The Maui Farm. “The Maui Farm helped me to get help for myself and my boys. I learned to own my feelings, and to cope with my stress, depression, and anger. I became a better parent, more patient and attentive. The Maui Farm encouraged me to stay hopeful, and I was able to start a new and better life with my children. I am so grateful to The Maui Farm.”

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The Maui Farm has been a great program for me and my two little keikis because it taught me how to achieve on of my biggest goals – to be more self-sufficient.  I got my high school diploma and started taking classes at UH Maui College.  I am managing my budgeting and paying my rent and bills on time.  The best part – I went from having no job to having two part-time jobs. I have grown so much and learned so many things, such as how to forgive and let go of the past, how to garden with my children and take care of farm animals.  I am so thankful for all the support I have gotten.  My kids and I couldn’t have found a better place to help us move forward with our lives. (A. – P. Family)

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Being at The Maui Farm has strengthened our family in many ways. We have learned new parenting skills that help us to be more patient and effective parents, and we are able to create a daily routine that makes for a more stable lifestyle for our family. Our children are gaining social skills that help them understand and listen to their elders as well as each other. My husband and I are setting goals and achieving them. We learned how to make a family budget and stick to it, and we have paid off a large amount of debt and continue to do so. So while my husband is working I can go to UH Maui College and pursue my dream to have a career as a dental hygienist. Biggest of all—we are now putting money into our savings every month!!! Family Strengthening is a great program that is making a big difference in our lives. (A.- J. Family)

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We came to The Maui Farm to escape family violence and make a new start. I was not a very effective parent to my kids, and had no hopes for the future. I was fearful, and gave up easily. We didn’t know what would happen to us. Much to my surprise, the Family Strengthening Program really worked for me. Today, my kids tell me I’m a better Mom and they’re more open to me. I am studying my GED and enrolled in the Maui Community College Certified Nursing Assistant program. I overcame my fear of driving and got my license. I am finding out who I truly am and discovering things about myself every day. The staff believed in me and supported me, inside and out. My kids are doing great, and they have loved living at the farm. Our lives really began again here at The Maui Farm, and now I see only continued success in our future! (F.O. Family)

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Before coming to The Maui Farm’s Family Strengthening Program, my family was homeless and living out of a van. I had four kids and was six months pregnant, and I had just left an abusive relationship. I was without a job, without a car, and had no post-high school education, but I was staying clean and sober and I was determined to keep my family together. While living at The Maui Farm, we all learned new skills to prepare us for healthy living. We felt safe and gained confidence in our ability to actually be self-sufficient. I remain clean and sober and so are my kids. I completed the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Maui Community College, a long time dream of mine, and got a good job at a nursing home. I am a better parent, I listen more, and I have more patience with my children. We have a reliable vehicle. We recently completed the Family Strengthening Program and moved into our own three bedroom home. My family is stronger, and we have hope for a bright future. We are so grateful to The Maui Farm because without their support we could never have come this far. (DM Family)