Ohana Makamae Staff:
Cynthia Santiago MPA, CSAC (Certified Substance Abuse Counselor) – Executive Director
Being in Hāna, East Maui and working at `Ohana Makamae is highly enriching. I am honored to be working here, to the best of my ability, facing some significant challenges, and experiencing great breakthroughs and a mountain of rewards. This can only be accomplished with the great support of our skilled and caring staff, our truly dedicated Board and a supportive community. Being in the Social Services field is about promoting wellness. `Ohana Makamae’s services work towards creating open doors, reconciliation, hope, renewal, and so much more. I have served for over 20 years in this field, most of which has been in management. I believe the core of all that exists has to do with the spirit that we do it in. A healthy spiritual walk is a lifestyle that directs and deepens all aspects of wellness; it is the place where hope lives, and faith is restored… and where change necessarily happens.
Milton-Gerard Oliveira – Sober Living House Manager
My name is Gerardi Oliveira, I work for `Ohana Makamae because I am a grateful, recovering addict who has OMI to thank for my recovery and my life that I now share with my wife and children. I owe a lot to our substance abuse program for giving me the help I so desperately needed in my times of trials and tribulations. OMI helped me get clean, then after a period of time I spent in prison, they offered me employment to take care of yard maintenance; later, I was offered a new opportunity as the Sober Living Manager. I was taught at a young age to help others, young or old no matter. My mother instilled this in me, and I thank her for that today. OMI is Hāna’s only family resource center that offers substance abuse and mental health counseling along with other various programs. I am very fortunate to run the only sober living house in Hāna. My way to give back to our little community that is troubled by a lot of substance abuse and alcohol abuse is to help others so that they might change and live a new life for their good and the good of their family. We do recover! You got to want it! Stay clean, and reap the benefits. I enjoy work everyday because I can help others live a life of sobriety.
Brien Benjamin MA- Mental Health Counselor
My intention is to be of service to anyone. The resources I offer come from a wide array of experience I’ve gained from growing up in beautiful Boulder Colorado, Cornell University’s undergraduate Psychology department and Naropa University’s Transpersonal Psychology – Wilderness Therapy program. Mindfulness, positive self-outlook, nonviolent communication, healthy grieving, and helping people understand the nervous system’s role in moving through and recovering from overwhelming life events are some of my specialties. My philosophy revolves around the concepts that we all have a natural tendency toward health and all life events present the opportunity for growth.
Born and raised in Heavenly Hana-Maui, home to my family and generations before me. Growing up in such a remote place Hana has made an impacting influence in who I am today as an individual, wife, mother, co-worker and community member. My journey has brought many unexpected challenges but life has also introduced me with an abundance of resources to help guide me along the way. It took faith and patience to find the strength to seek answers to help restore places in my life that has been altered or broken. I’ve grown to accept and appreciate life’s challenges, these events is what empowered my faith today to stay positive in word and deed. And those things won’t happen unless we are willing to do our part to be the change we wish to see in our lives in hopes that our change will inspire others….I am so grateful for ‘Ohana Makamae for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of a team to reach people and touch lives, to be a helping hand to guide those who has lost their sense of direction, to be a voice of encouragement and to be a part of a team that has a heart for our community, our families and our people. I am excited to be working at Ohana Makamae and looking forward to the amazing works that is yet to come as we continue to be that beacon of light, hope, change, restoration, deliverance, health and healing.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Drugs and alcohol has been an ongoing problem in Hāna; a problem that has destroyed homes, lives and families. I believe with a safe place like ‘Ohana Makamae and a passionate team, we will see this problem decrease.
Aloha. I was born and raised in beautiful Hana, Maui, we too have our share of issues. ‘Ohana Makamae has been a part of my life for many years now, where I was once a client, then becoming their school based counselor for 10 years, and now filling in as their adult substance abuse counselor. Whatever my life challenges have been, I know that I will always remain grateful to this organization for helping me and my family get our lives back in order. The awesome counselors which have come and gone, to the ones that remain here still. We all have one thing in common. WE WANT TO HELP YOU! Come be a part of the ‘Ohana Makamae’s experience! If you have a loved one who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, give us a call. Mahalo nui!
Robert Cantrell, MBA, MS, MCAP, LAADC, ICAADC, CSAC Clinical Supervisor
When I got sober, I wanted to learn everything possible about the disease of addiction. My training and personal journey are in evidence-based recovery. I have a Master’s in Substance Use Disorders & Addiction Counseling Degree, as well as, a Master of Business Administration Degree. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis on substance use disorders and treatment. I am certified/licensed in Florida, California and Hawaii as a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Master Certified Addiction Professional, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, Certified Substance Abuse Interventionist and am an Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. My certification from the Matrix Institute allows me to supervise and train others in the Matrix Model of Recovery, which has shown incredible success in treating cocaine and crystal methamphetamine addictions. Before joining the clinical professionals at ‘Ohana Makamae, I worked with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, the LGBTQ Center in Hollywood and with the homeless community on skid row in Los Angeles. I believe there is no “one size fits all” plan for recovery. To find lasting sobriety, a person must create a program which addresses their needs. We are not the total of our mistakes in life. We have value. Those lost in the darkness of addiction need the tools to find a way into the light.