The enduring family of the Ohana Club

The+enduring+family+of+the+Ohana+Club

photo courtesy of the Ohana Club

The Ohana club after its first pumpkin carving activity in Fall 2014.

The Ohana of Chaminade University started a club opened to the community bringing in young adults with disabilities to have weekly activities and dinner with them.

“I do not help with the participants because it makes me feel that I have done good,” said president of Ohana club Milton Bratter. “I do it because it’s actually very fun to interact with them.”

This organization has been going on for years, but under the I-REC (Inclusive Recreation). According to the I-REC, it is a service-learning opportunity where Chaminade students come together with young adults with disabilities successfully giving them a chance to interact in an informal setting.

The founding officers of Ohana club – Milton Bratter, Brit Viloria, So Jong Song and Kaelani Demapan – found out that Dr. Poole-Street, the founder of I-REC, has been financing their activities out of her own pocket.

The officers decided to take matters in their own hands and stop Poole-Street from using her own money.

“We knew that if we turned it into a club, we could raise our own money and help fund the program,” Bratter said. “We also set up this club as a way to perpetuate the program so that even if Dr. Poole-Street retires and students graduate, Ohana’s services will be available for years to come.”

Brater added another reason why they started this club, which was to focus on member retention.

Before the club was created, the majority of students participated because they had to stock up on service-learning hours rather than develop a rapport with young adults with disabilities.

Since becoming a club, participation has increased including the membership of 20 active student members, not counting parents and participants who take part in the weekly activities.

The group convenes with its participants semiweekly on Thursdays. They meet at 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for dinner at the Silversword Café followed by fun board games to end the night. On Fridays at 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. they meet in the courtyard for creative arts and crafts like tie-dye shirts and ceramics.

The Ohana club joined in Honolulu’s Buddy Walk on Oct. 11 in Kaka`ako Park where its tried to reach out to the community and publicize its program for the community to join.

With the help of Lumana’i O Samoa, Ohana hosted a Bingo night with roughly 40 people present as one of its weekly activities on Jan. 23.

Ohana’s goal this year is to work more with other campus clubs to help them in anyway possible.

“It is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Bratter. “The club is always on my mind. It is hard not to be, especially when you have activities twice a week, every week. Luckily, I have great officers that do their job. I could not run this club by myself. I also would not be able to do it without the help of our advisor, Dr. Poole-Street.”