Ensuring youth are ready for the challenges of life through
Developmental Programs for
Youth of Hawai‘i
Board of Directors
Claudette Kapiolani Mahoney
President to the Board of Directors
The mission of Get Ready Hawai‘i is to ensure that the youth of Hawai‘i are ready for the challenges of life through Resilience, Enrichment, Advocacy, and Developmental programs for Youth in Hawai‘i.
Get Ready Hawai‘i began as "Friends of the Children's Advocacy Center of West Hawaii" in 1989. Subsequently the organization was rebranded as "Friends of the Children's Justice Center of West Hawaii" and finally most recently as "Friends of the Children of West Hawaii". The organization kicked off 2021 by announcing the rebranding of the organization now known as Get Ready Hawai‘i with a revised and updated mission and road map for the organization's growth and development over the next several years.
Historically we have provided the Enhancements and Basic Needs program which provides financial support to qualifying children who have been victims of abuse or neglect, are in foster care, or who meet other criteria as dictated by various funding sources in order to provide for opportunities which may be denied to the child due to circumstances. This program provides clothing, pays for computers for college, provides school supplies, athletic equipment, membership fees for athletic teems or clubs, and various other enhancements to the quality of life which may help to put the child onto more equal footing with peers who have not been detrimentally impacted by circumstances.
In 2017 our newly hired Executive Director, Jefferson Gourley, established the Youth Leadership Alliance. The program is based on a historically successful program previously run by Mr. Gourley for more than 10 years and provides leadership, communication, and business management education through a curriculum designed to prepare participants to run a non-profit organization. After completing this curriculum participants are invited to join the Youth Leadership Alliance Advisory Committee, a self-governance body which works with personnel to identify community needs and service priorities, then plan and implement programs and events in response to these needs. The chair of the YLA Advisory Committee also serves as the Youth Outreach Liaison to the Board of Directors; a full voting member of the Board of Directors participating in the overall management of the organization.
2021 was kicked off by Get Ready Hawai‘i with our announcement of our new name and brand, as well as the development of the Ready Center Initiative - the foundation of the strategic plan for Get Ready Hawai‘i over the next several years as we strive to open community youth centers regionally throughout West Hawaii. These centers will provide child supervision, enrichment activities, connectivity (especially for distance learning), and serve as a clearing house for services based on the specific needs of each community.
Get Ready Hawai‘i provides services to children and youth in West Hawaii, from birth through early adulthood (22 to 24 years old, depending on how specific funding sources define the upper end of "Youth") Several programs place a priority of children who have been victims of abuse or neglect, or who have been placed in the foster care system of the State of Hawaii. Programs also target children from low income, homeless, or migrant families; children of recovering addicts or incarcerated parents; children from demographic groups over-represented in the Juvenile Justice System; and children who otherwise are considered to be "at-risk". Programs are aimed at improving the overall quality of life for clients while also building developmental assets and protective factors and reducing risk factors in the lives of youth.
Get Ready Hawai‘i is proud to provide programs based on the needs of a diverse community which includes nearly 40% of clients reporting some percentage of Native Hawai‘ian blood, client representation by the black, Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Native American populations, as well as from various groups within the LGBTQ community.
Get Ready Hawai‘i is overseen by Executive Director Jefferson Gourley. Mr. Gourley was brought on as our Interim Executive Director in July of 2017 and was named to the permanent position in November of 2017. He holds degrees in Child and Adolescent Development as well as Organizational Psychology from McFord University. Mr. Gourley came to Get Ready Hawai‘i with extensive experience in youth development and education, including positions as a Youth Development Specialist and Youth Development Programs Coordinator in the non-profit sector as well as positions as After School Programs Coordinator, Program Director, Student Activities Coordinator, and Media Production Instructor with the State of Hawaii Department of Education. Mr. Gourley brought the organization into the Hawai‘i Youth Services Network in 2018 and has since been elected to the HYSN Board of Directors and appointed Secretary to the Board.