West Side Residents Support Legal Aid Fundraiser


Media Contact: Maile Shimabukuro, Esq.
Phone: 808-696-6322 ext. 4# or 808-349-3075
Email: mashima@lashaw.org
Fax: 808-696-5809


Since 1950, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has been an important part of the community in Hawaii, providing free legal services to low-income individuals and families. With 10 offices statewide and an office on each island, Legal Aid assisted more than 10,000 people in 2011 with their civil litigation issues.

In the spring of 2012, while facing severe potential funding losses, Legal Aid contemplated layoffs and branch office closures. “It was an extremely difficult time for Legal Aid,” said Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Legal Aid’s Executive Director. Legal Aid continues to diversify its funding and search for new fundraising opportunities. “The Justice Games is unique way for people to support Legal Aid by participating in a scavenger hunt and after-party. We hope to raise awareness and a sense of social responsibility in young professionals who participate in the Justice Games, through a fun and interactive networking event,” Director Kaina explained.

Legal Aid is hosting its inaugural Justice Games Fundraiser, a scavenger hunt for Hawaii’s young professionals in Downtown Honolulu. Individuals will learn more about the services Legal Aid provides and by participating will help ensure Legal Aid can continue to meet the needs of Hawaii’s low-income individuals and families.

Date: Friday, October 12, 2012, 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: M Nightclub, Restaurant Row
Cost: $500.00 per Scavenger Hunt Team (up to 5 members) includes participation in the race as well as tickets for after party Pau Hana event
– $40.00 for Pau Hana event only
Contact for Fundraiser: Elise von Dohlen, elvondo@lashaw.org, 808-527-8056
Twitter: @JusticeGames12

Several of Legal Aid’s former clients are supporting the fundraiser by sharing their stories, photos, and contact information with the media (see their stories below).


Legal Aid Helps Homeless Family Finally Get Benefits and Repay the State

Mikaele Keli, grandaughter Kalida Keli-Hoyohoy, and Jewelynn Keli*

Mikaele Keli and his wife and grandaughter were homeless and had waited nearly 2 years for his social security application to be approved when he came to Legal Aid for assistance. Mr. Keli had struggled with drug addication throughout his life, and was in and out of jail. Although he had worked as a tree-trimmer for several years, he injured his back on the job. Legal Aid successfully represented Mr. Keli, and he was awarded nearly $9,000 in retroactive benefits, and the federal government repaid the state for the welfare assistance he received. Now that the Kelis have income, they hope to finally get into a transitional shelter in Kalaeloa.

Legal Aid Helps Abused and Abandoned Mother and Child Get Favorable Divorce Settlement

Dollyann Guerrero*

Dollyann Guerrero was married to her physically abusive husband for nearly 3 decades. He frequently abandoned the family, eventually forcing Dollyann and her minor son to move into a homeless shelter. In 2011, Dollyann finally mustered the courage to contact Legal Aid for help with a divorce. Legal Aid filed a motion to set the case for trial, and was eventually able to help achieve a settlement. Legal Aid also filed an order so that Dollyann could get a portion of her ex-husband’s retirement. Around June 2012, Dollyann and her 9-year-old son could finally afford to move into public housing on the Windward side of O`ahu, and start a new, more stable life.

Legal Aid Reverses Welfare Termination for Family of Six

Renee Dalija with her daughter, Shawna Egami*

Renee Dalija is a married mother of 4 who has suffered from disabling depression and physical ailments for well over a decade. Her depression was triggered by a series of tragedies: her 4 month old baby died of SIDS; two uncles died; her premature son had to be put down shortly after birth; and her 6-year-old son is medically fragile. Unfortunately, DHS reduced Mrs. Dalija’s benefits after determining that she was no longer disabled. Fortunately, Legal Aid got DHS to reverse the adverse action, and also assisted her with obtaining SSI benefits shortly thereafter.

Legal Aid Helps Bed-Ridden Man Execute Power of Attorney & Advanced Healthcare Directive

William & Billielani Po`oloa*

William Po`oloa contacted Legal Aid through his hospice social worker because he was in need of a durable power of attorney (DPOA) and Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHCD). In addition, his social security benefits were reduced, and the state stopped paying for his Medicare premiums. Three Legal Aid staff members visited Mr. Po`oloa at his nursing home to notarize and witness the execution of his DPOA and AHCD. With the DPOA and AHCD in hand, Mrs. Po`oloa finally had the ability to handle her husband’s financial and medical affairs.

Legal Aid Saves Single Mother of Four from Homelessness

Danielle Nicolas and her son, Macky*

Danielle Nicolas and her four children were faced with an emergency: they were being evicted in four days and at risk of homelessness when she called Legal Aid. She lived in public housing, and fell behind on her rent after being sanctioned by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Legal Aid helped Ms. Nicolas appeal the sanction, and convinced the HI Public Housing Authority (HPHA) to delay the eviction. Fortunately, Legal Aid also convinced DHS to withdraw the sanction by demonstrating that Ms. Nicolas had good cause. Once DHS withdrew the sanction, HPHA also agreed to withdraw the eviction.


Media Contact:

Maile Shimabukuro, Esq., Phone: 808-696-6322 ext. 4# or 808-349-3075;
Fax: 808-696-5809; Email: mashima@lashaw.org

For more information about the event contact:

Elise von Dohlen at Ph 808-527-8056; Fax 808-527-8088; elvondo@lashaw.org
Twitter: @JusticeGames12

Legal Aid clients:

*Client phone numbers and photos available upon request; contact Maile Shimabukuro for further information, at 808-696-6322 ext. 4# or 808-349-3075;
Fax: 808-696-5809; Email: mashima@lashaw.org

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