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Donations being sought to help homeless youths

  • STAR-ADVERTISER

    More than a dozen kids, some as young as 10, are living by themselves on the streets of Waikiki. Above, Youth Outreach (YO!) counselors walk through Waikiki as they talk with street youths along Kuhio Ave.

At Christmas, charities are usually inundated with donations, but by summer the generous holiday spirit is on the wane. So the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii plans to play Santa to homeless youth with a “Christmas in July” party on July 27, says chairman Michael Golojuch.

The afternoon event will be held at Youth Outreach, a drop-in center for homeless teens and runaways, run by the Waikiki Health Center and Hale Kipa. Golojuch said many of them are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, who account for “40 percent of the homeless unaccompanied minors,” according to Youth Outreach.

“About 125 youth sleep on Honolulu streets every night with no government or family support. We understand that this event is just a Band-Aid, but it’s an important Band-Aid,” Golojuch said. The caucus is donating $1,500 to “service a full-on holiday dinner with goody bags filled with essentials for living on the streets.”

Rainbow Family 808, headed by his mom, Carolyn Golojuch, is also supporting the event; the nonprofit provides fresh produce and milk at Youth Outreach every week.

The LGBT Caucus raised $1,200 for the project in a raffle held at its marriage equality celebration June 26, he said. It was at last year’s Christmas celebration at Youth Outreach, surrounded by overflowing donations, that they got the idea to hold a similar party in July, as “kids need (help) all year round,” Michael Golojuch said, adding, “We need to fill in the gaps.”

Youth Outreach, which serves about 25 to 50 kids a day, is open only four days a week for a total of 16 hours in a small house on a narrow Waikiki street. For 26 years it has provided hot meals, medical and educational assistance, job counseling, lockers and nurturing from volunteers and staff.

But the center’s supporters are trying to raise enough funds to open a 24-hour shelter to serve homeless youth, a population overlooked by advocates addressing the need for affordable housing, Golojuch said. “If we’re truly, really the Aloha State, we need to show aloha for unaccompanied minors,” he added.

The caucus is collecting donations and items to stock about 75 goody bags, which may be dropped off at Democratic Party headquarters at 627 South St. #105. Their wish list includes: gift cards to Foodland, ABC Stores and fast-food outlets; socks; deodorant; notebooks; sunscreen; lotion; lip balm; baby wipes; and food items like vienna sausages, beef jerky, trail mix, applesauce and pudding cups. Email chair@lgbtcaucushawaii.org.

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