Reaching at-risk kids

March 19th, 2009  |  by  |  Published in UHAA News  |  2 Comments

Malakai Maumalanga

Malakai Maumalanga, BA ’06, MSW ’07, UH Mānoa

Birthplace: Tonga
High school: Farrington High School, Honolulu
Family: 3 sisters, 1 brother
Hobby: Playing guitar
Goal: “I want to make an impact and a difference in the kids I work with.”

Adult Friends for Youth is more than a job for Malakai Maumalanga.

“It has become a passion for me…I want to keep working with high-risk kids,” he says. He has spent five years with the nonprofit organization, which provides therapy and mentoring for children at risk of gang involvement, drug use or other unhealthy lifestyles.

Launched in 1985 as a volunteer mentoring program in the University of Hawaiʻi’s School of Social Work, Adult Friends for Youth uses a redirectional method to mold destructive behaviors into socially appropriate ones.

Maumalanga participates in activities designed to reach at-risk kids, including student conventions, teen fathers groups, parenting classes and fundraisers.

Maumalanga’s drive stems from his life-changing experience as a former client after going to prison for involvement in a drive-by shooting. He understands what at-risk kids encounter and wants to help them.

“Working with Adult Friends for Youth has changed me tremendously. The methodology used helped me personally, and it helps me deal with my own kids today,” he says. He also applies techniques and concepts learned in college.

“My UH experience was awesome; it helped me to build confidence, and I learned skills I use today.”

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  1. Onolina Taotofi says:

    March 10th, 2011at 1:25 pm(#)

    Malakai Maumalanga is THE BOMB! i Love him!!

  2. Onolina Taotofi says:

    March 10th, 2011at 1:31 pm(#)

    I am a senior at Farrington High and he helped ever since my sophomore year! I have changed a lot from my past years. I have learned that violence leads to nothing but more violence and possibly, death. I grew up in Kuhio and fought my whole way through my underclassman years. He has really impacted my life to a point where I plan on majoring in psychology and social work so I could help other high-risk or troubled kids! Me and the boys I grew up with really look up to him(: THANK YOU MO!!