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.
James Dyment – Lead Substance Abuse Counselor
There really isn’t one reason I work at `Ohana Makamae; it was a blessing that I humbly accepted. I wanted to give back to my community and help combat the struggle of addiction that affects the local community. Also, helping other addicts helps me with my own recovery. I reach my hand out to those struggling with substance abuse disorder, and I hope that they will take hold and see the new life in sobriety. This job teaches me to be humble and very understanding; it also teaches me to live with an attitude of gratitude.
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.
Kawe’a Boeche – Case Manager/Adolescent Substance Abuse Counselor
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.
Kekoa Pu-Office Assistant
‘Ohana Makamae has helped me get through a rough time in my life and to start a new, prosperous and sober one. I am happy to have an opportunity to better myself and a chance to work at a job that is impacting others. Working at ‘Ohana Makamae has been a new and different experience and adventure, one that I am willing and excited about.
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.