Helping Others: Malia’s Story
I can still recall the first time I stepped foot in the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu. There was a serene peace, and everyone seemed to be so nice and caring. It was such a contrast to what I had been experiencing.
I was 13 at the time, and I was angry and hurt about the abuse that I suffered at home.
For some reason, I felt there must have been a reason for my mother to treat me the way she did. There would be times that I would cry, not for myself, but for my mother. I wanted to find an alibi for her, whatever it was. Maybe I wanted to know that my mother was normal and that everything was just a big misunderstanding.
But the pain was too great to keep pretending. Fortunately, a teacher at school had the courage to ask me about my home life. I would usually try to avoid those questions, but this time I shared openly, hoping she might have answers to my situation, that she could even help my mother.
One thing led to another, and I was soon living with an aunty. I felt bad for telling on my mother, but everyone kept telling me that it was the right thing to do.
To this day, I’m still not sure why my mother treated me the way she did. But I do know one thing: I will never forget the day that the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu gave me a gift card for a new dress and shoes. That caring encouraged me to stay on track and finish high school.
Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu also helped me to pay for my senior announcement, student body dues, class dues and graduation fees. The best part was having the cap and gown with a tassel because I was able to participate in my high school graduation and be just like everyone else in my class. It was a feeling I’ll never forget. That had to be one of the turning points in my life.
Knowing there are others who understand how I feel and have gone through similar challenges is a comfort to me. And I know there are many other young girls who face similar types of challenges, wanting to believe that all will be well in time, even if it means having to put up with unexpected outbursts of anger and beatings for no reason.
Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu has been so instrumental in helping me find hope and to address the pain, and I appreciate all that they have done and are doing for me.”