HUGS is an organization dedicated to providing support and enhancing the quality of life for Hawaii ‘s seriously ill children and their families. We accept our families exactly where they are, so to speak, at their present emotional, physical or spiritual level. Our non-judgmental approach quickly establishes rapport and increases the comfort level between the families and HUGS staff. If a particular need is outside the scope of our services, we aggressively network with those agencies that can fill the gaps. HUGS membership is non-disease specific and all of our services and programs are completely free of charge to families residing in Hawai'i who meet our eligibility criteria.
The foundation upon which all of our programs and services is built is also our mission statement, "Providing support, compassion and aloha to keep families with seriously ill children together." Our founders recognized that families with seriously ill children are burdened with so many challenges and stressors to overcome; the population as a whole is at extreme risk. Not only do these families experience unusually high divorce rates, but they are also constantly challenged financially, spiritually, emotionally and by a myriad of other issues related to their child's condition. Serious illnesses can impact each individual member of the family in very significant and often different ways. For this reason, HUGS' approach is holistic in nature. HUGS programs are designed to provide support to all family members. We strive to keep the family together in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Here at HUGS we do not use words like "terminal" or "hospice." Most of our children survive and stay with us for a period of several years while their family copes with diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Then, when the time is right the family moves on, but only when they feel ready. HUGS is not a bereavement group. HUGS is a joy centered place where there is always a lot of fun and family oriented activities going on.
Founded in 1982, HUGS was the concept of a small group of volunteers who recognized the many challenges and stressors that families with seriously ill children face. They dedicated themselves to establishing an agency that would provide support, compassion and aloha. Since its inception, HUGS has continued to grow in family numbers and services backed by a firm commitment that no family who qualifies will ever be turned away.
HUGS is an organization dedicated to providing support and enhancing the quality of life for Hawaii ‘s seriously ill children and their families. We accept our families exactly where they are, so to speak, at their present emotional, physical or spiritual level. Our non-judgmental approach quickly establishes rapport and increases the comfort level between the families and HUGS staff.
When a child is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, it impacts the entire family, from husband and wife to younger and older siblings.
HUGS provides services at no cost to qualified families
Monthly and Emergency Respite
HUGS provides parents and caregivers the opportunity for much needed personal time away from the intense demands of caring for a seriously ill child. Free childcare is offered in a safe and supportive environment so that parents have time away to do whatever they wish. HUGS also offers emergency respite assessed on a case-by-case basis according to need and staffing.
Monthly Family Events
Monthly dinners allow parents time to relax, share information and provide support and fellowship to one another in a non-threatening, caring environment.
Peer Support Groups
Peer support gatherings provide a non-judgmental environment for specific peer groups. These fun, focused activities allow participants to freely share feelings while supporting one another within a group that understands the experiences and challenges they all face.
HUGS staff and trained volunteers make regular visits to local hospitals to visit children and their families. As part of the outreach, HUGS offers:
- Silver Lining Toy Chest -- New toys and gift cards are given to children undergoing painful treatments such as a spinal tap or bone marrow aspirations.
- Laughter Wagon -- Trained volunteers engage children, teens and siblings with interactive games and activities that help to reduce stress and anxiety.
This fund allows eligible families an annual stipend in emergency airfare assistance in order to transport their child and other family members for treatment or procedures that are required on Oahu or the mainland. Eligibility is based on financial need.
Neighbor Island Outreach
HUGS provides neighbor island families with phone cards, taxi or rental car stipends, and airfare to Oahu.
Since 1985, HUGS has accessed the Hawaii Foodbank as well as solicited assistance with donations from the community in order to provide food to needy HUGS families.
The fund provides up to $1,000 to HUGS families to assist with funeral arrangements after the death of a beloved child. Eligibility is based on financial need.