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Mercy House Ministry and Peer Specialist Training

May 8, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

This Good Shepherd social ministry model is embodied in the Honolulu-Diocese supported, and Pūʻā Foundation administered, Mercy House program. The Mercy House ministry not only gathers and welcomes formerly incarcerated women back into community, but also helps them go out to help others in need through the Peer Support Kōkua Project.

This program provides “justice-involved” women temporary housing as well as leadership and vocational training to assist persons transitioning from prison. Mercy House currently shelters a total of five formerly incarcerated women residents. They include a” house mother” manager who herself previously graduated from Mercy House herself. This house manager will soon be graduating with an associate’s degree from Windward Community College and is on track to pursue her bachelor’s degree with a $5,000 scholarship in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Social Work program!

This project focuses on Vocational Training, Leadership Development and Employment of Native Hawaiians as Certified Peer Specialists to work with Native Hawaiians in the child welfare and criminal/juvenile justice systems. The project has already certified dozens of formerly incarcerated women around the state. The project recently held a peer specialist training in Hilo which was planned and organized at Mercy House in Oahu.

Mercy House ministry and Peer Specialist training are also vital parts of the Oahu Going Home Consortium that involves volunteers from the Diocese in transition classes with persons inside prison, as well as receiving them upon release with welcome home baskets/backpacks full of basic necessities, donated clothing, and transportation to secure needed social services. Pūʻā staff are looking for volunteer drivers to help Mercy House residents commute to and from their jobs on Oahu’s windward side. If you are interested in helping provide transportation, please call the Pūʻā Foundation at 808-945-3570

For more on the Mercy House ministries and peer specialist programs, please visit the  Pūʻā Foundation website www.puafoundation.net and the OSM website www.officeforsocialministry.org. These are some of the ways to live the gospel mission of the Good Shepherd, gathering persons in as family and then going out healed and nourished to help others in need ---all as one ‘Ohana. Mahalo