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ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition adds community center in Kalihi

HONOLULU (June 7th, 2007) – The Akana family got more good news from the hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition today. Yesterday, they were roused out of their sleep by Ty Pennington and his design team and got the word that they were selected to receive the next home makeover. Today, they learned that the show and Brookfield Homes Hawai’i will also construct the largest structure in the show’s history when they erect a new center to house mom Momi Akana’s non-profit organization, Keiki O Ka Aina (KOKA) Family Learning Center.

“After looking at the building where Keiki O Ka Aina is now, we realized that it was in no condition to fulfill its mission, and we decided that it needed to be replaced as well,” said Jeff Prostor, President Brookfield Homes Hawaii. “So we’re going to actually demolish the existing building, rebuild a new one in its place and also build a new home for the Akana family right on the same property.”

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION ADDS COMMUNITY CENTER IN KALIHI Akana was a single mom on welfare 11 years ago when she founded (KOKA), a non-profit organization that supports the native Hawaiian community by offering culturally educational programs for free to those who would not normally be able to afford them. In the beginning, Akana used her food stamps to buy snacks for the center and considered her welfare check her paycheck for the services she was providing. Today, she acts as an advocate for struggling single moms by helping them better understand the welfare system and expose them to all available resources. She has also started a program to help Moms in prison receive parental training, counseling and job force training so that they can strengthen their relationships with their children and change their lives for the better upon their release.

For the past 11 years, until a month ago, the family was sharing their home with KOKA. The center operated out of the top floor of the house while Momi and her kids lived in the two-bedroom downstairs portion. After receiving a grant to purchase property up the street from her own home, KOKA moved out, leaving a lot of repairs to be made when they left. However, the property KOKA moved into is also in extremely poor condition, with extensive termite damage, roofs that aren’t even with the walls, severe flooding and leaking, bad electrical and virtually no security. As a non-profit, there is no money to fix the damage done to Momi’s home or to fix the structures that now house KOKA.

With the help of ABC’s Extreme Makeover:Home Edition and local builder Brookfield Homes Hawaii, they will help transform the life of this very special woman and her family by giving them not only a safe secure home in which to live but also give KOKA a safe secure home out of which to operate, allowing Akana the opportunity to continue making a difference in thousands of other lives for the better.

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION ADDS COMMUNITY CENTER IN KALIHI Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Brookfield Homes Hawai’i, and hundreds of workers from local building trade organizations have joining forces for the show’s largest project to date. All of their time, talents, and materials resources are being donated to help build both the Akana family’s new home and the new Keiki O Ka Aina Learning Center. During the build, the public can monitor progress 24-hours a day and obtain behind-the-scenes insights by visiting the home site as a spectator.