Kahara Hunafa – Prevention Outreach Specialist

Who I am: Kahara Hunafa – Prevention Outreach Specialist at the Young Women’s Resource Center

Why I chose this career path: This was the only subject in college (sociology/human services) where my heart felt that it would be fulfilled. I had a lot of great opportunities growing up where I was able to participate in programs that allowed me to travel, experience new things and meet some great people. If I wouldn’t have been involved in these programs, I wouldn’t have been able to do these things. It only made sense for me to be able to “give back” to youth who might not be able to experience some of the same things I had.

My adolescent years: I was very fortunate to have parents who always kept me involved and always made sure that I was being exposed to different cultures and always learning. That led me to have an amazing group of friends (which we actually call each other sisters) who I have grown with, both physically and mentally over the past 15 plus years. We have matured into respected, admired, loving, confident and beautiful (just to name a few qualities) women, and those are some of the same type of qualities that we at the YWRC try to instill in the young women that we serve; a bond of sisterhood!

How I got connected with the YWRC: I had been in a personally unfulfilling job for about 3 years and was completely burnt out! I was literally at my wits end and ready to give up finding a career path that made me truly happy. I saw there was an opening at the YWRC and after reading the job description I was overly excited to even apply! Once I did, it was a very long 2 or 3 weeks (waiting on pins and needles) before I got a call for an interview! It was the most relaxing and non intimidating interview I’ve ever had! Everyone was so nice and seemed really passionate about the work that is done here. I even got a tour of this amazing building that I would soon call my second home! Getting the call that I got the job was literally one of the happiest days of my life! I was finally not just “in a job”. I had a career where I would be putting my passion to work and would be truly enthralled in giving girls, in the same community where I grew up, a chance to discover that they really do deserve a life of possibilities (the YWRC motto).

Why I do what I do: Some people think that feminism is a thing of the past and needs to stay there. Some people think that young women/women’s rights are not being ignored anymore because we live in “modern day society”. Some people even think that it’s not fair that girls get “special treatment” or have “special groups” to talk about “girl’s issues”. In working for so many years with youth, especially girls in today’s society, there seems to be a lot more negative imagery as a whole, little focus on women’s issues, such as sexual assault and rape, and women still (even in 2014) get paid less than men for doing the same job! Imagine that! After all, it is 2014! This to me seems to discourage young women and prohibits them from thriving to their full potential. Even worse, the impact that society has on young girls and women to be “perfect” has caused them to bully others, feel inadequate and even commit suicide at an alarming rate! Here at the Young Women’s Resource Center we confront these issues head on while teaching our young women the importance of sisterhood and uplifting each other and most importantly believe in themselves. During this process I get the privilege of watching these young women blossom and discover who they truly are! I never would have imagined that I would actually find a job where I actually love what I do!

What I stand for: I stand for equality and justice for women and the oppressed. I stand for freedom to be whom or what you want to be without being discouraged or held back. I am also a firm believer in always continuing to ask questions! This means that you’re continuously learning, and learning gives you the freedom to think for yourself and discover your passions!

Words to live by:  “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”
― Maya Angelou