Success Stories

Garrett’s Story

Garrett is a motivated young man, a college student, a caring family member, and, now, an employed income-earner, working at Poke Stop in Mililani. He is very happy! Chef Elmer, the business owner, received Garrett’s application and called him in for an interview. Impressed with Garrett’s desire to work, Chef Elmer offered the starting position of dish washer. Chef Elmer and his support staff have welcomed Garrett into the Poke Stop ohana (“family”), while providing the necessary tools, training, and support for Garrett’s successful start in his first paid job. Chef Elmer provides extra consideration of Garrett’s education by accommodating his work schedule to allow him to attend college classes. Garrett was ALL SMILES when he received his first paycheck. He, his family and the Poke Stop ohana are proud of his accomplishments. He showed his desire to work and ability to learn; he now works with more confidence and determination. Life is good for Garrett! Chef Elmer understands what it means to look at a person’s abilities and not their disabilities. Garrett is a motivated individual who knew what he wanted and reached out to attain it. This is only the beginning of Garrett’s success. Way to go, Garrett!!

Nalu’s Story

Nalu Kauwe-Simeona began working for Pizza Hut Hawaii in Hilo, Hawaii on March 31, 2016. Nalu’s journey towards seeking competitive employment began with Discovery – a comprehensive process that focuses on identifying the job seeker’s abilities, strengths, values, hobbies and interests towards employment. Through Discovery, Nalu’s love for Pizza inspired him to someday work for Pizza Hut Hawaii.

In support of Nalu’s career goals, ESH Employment Services partnered with Restaurant General Manager Michelle Moku to coordinate a situational assessment – with intentions to match Nalu’s vocational abilities to the employers’ specific needs. Nalu’s positive work ethic was the perfect fit for cleaning the dining area after lunch operations. A customized position was created and Nalu was soon hired as an official crew member of Pizza Hut Hawaii. Since then, his independence has skyrocketed! His responsibilities include filling the ice dispenser machine, wiping tables and windows, scrubbing the window sills, cleaning the buffet line and sneeze guards and sweeping the floors. “We enjoy having Nalu as part of the team; he arrives to work with a great attitude and looks forward to working every day,” said co-worker Cassi Kaneda, who monitors Nalu’s job performance.

Katrina’s Story

Cody’s Story

Adam’s Story

“Adam is a Kauai Employment Services Star! Starting with Employment Services’ E&T, completing evaluations and training at Hawaii Food Bank-Kauai Branch towards his goal of becoming a Courtesy Clerk for Times Big Save Supermarket in Waimea. Upon completion of his training Adam and I submitted applications to Times Big Save, Home Depot and Safeway. Adam was most excited about Safeway because the facility was new (just opened in September) and he already knew some Safeway coworkers from outside of work. Adam was offered a Courtesy Clerk position and his first day was New Year’s Eve! Adam made it through a very busy shift that day and is approaching 90 days of employment. Adam’s supervisors routinely report that he is doing a great job and is one of their favorite employees. Adam possesses a very friendly disposition and is always wearing a smile. Adam says his favorite thing about working at Safeway are his coworkers, corralling carts and eating lunch at the Panda Express nearby.”

– Matt Ragan, II, Employment Associate

Bryant’s Story

Bryant Pang is 24 years old and an avid swimmer and bowler. He is also an efficient cleaner and enjoys being around others who share his passions. Through the Discovery Process, Bryant had the opportunity to try out many occupations in a variety of environments. When he went to explore employment opportunities at Leeward Bowling Alley, it was clear that this environment brought out his passion.

Bryant worked for five years as a member of a cleaning crew that provided cleaning services to Devin Alford and other business and home owners. When the crew disbanded, Mr. Alford inquired about the company had hired the crew. Easter Seals Hawaii explained that each member of the crew was exploring integrated employment with the assistance of our Employment Services Team and that we were currently working with one individual who wanted to work at Leeward Bowling Alley.

Mr. Alford called his friend at Leeward Bowling Alley and gave him the contact information for Easter Seals Hawaii. This connection resulted in Bryant being hired to do a job he does well in an environment he loves!

Alyssa’s Story

Alyssa Vierra has been Waiakea High School’s classroom cleaner since August 14, 2015. Alyssa is responsible for cleaning nine classrooms every day in just two hours each day. With support from Easter Seals Hawaii Employment Services, Alyssa has transitioned into the workforce along with the support of Alyssa’s mother, Lisa, and the wonderful partnership with head custodian, Lance Resurrection. Her daily responsibilities include signing-in at the front office, obtaining classroom keys, prepping her custodial cart with supplies, emptying trash bins, and sweeping and wet mopping each classroom. Job coaching services provided 1:1 training, building and developing her vocational skills in the areas of communication, time-management, and productivity. After several weeks of receiving 1:1 job coaching services, her fade plan was implemented and Alyssa is now able to work independently. When asked what she likes about working, she replied, “My paycheck!” Alyssa also states that she has dreams of living on her own someday, and achieving this through employment. Working independently has provided Alyssa with increased confidence in her abilities and she continues to break down barriers, continuously working hard and exhibiting a positive attitude. Alyssa’s success with her new job brings us closer to eliminating negative perceptions and promoting the hiring of individuals based on abilities as opposed to disabilities. Easter Seals Hawaii is truly grateful for Waiakea High School’s partnership in sharing our mission by building our community through active support and integration.

Mitchell’s Story



Mitchell has been in the Easter Seals Hawaii work crew for over three years.

He has already been offered more hours at his new job and is ready for his own apartment.

Mitchell is looking forward to the day he can work full time and doesn’t need any more social services!

Connor’s Story


Connor and his family were promised support finding employment when he graduated from high school.

Easter Seals Hawaii hired Connor in our work crew recycling and cleaning program. We also assisted him with finding fulfilling work making $10.00 an hour.

Connor’s dad stated, “Other people make promises, but you made it happen!”

DeSean’s Story

DeSean’s family assumed he would always require the care of a foster home, but after he has been successful on the job, living independently doesn’t seem so impossible anymore!

DeSean likes that he now has enough money to take his girlfriend out on a date.

DeSean states, “I like working; it keeps me busy and out of trouble. I like being a tax payer because everyone should do their part.”