Former 'ice' addict's foundation thrives
What ever happened to the Tayshea Aiwohi Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by Aiwohi after her son's drug-related death?
Answer: Tayshea Aiwohi was initially convicted of manslaughter in 2004 in the death of her 2-day-old son. She admitted using methamphetamine days before giving birth, and the boy died from poisoning.
However, in November 2005 the Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Even before the Supreme Court decision, Aiwohi and her husband, Kimo, were establishing a nonprofit organization that provides a safe and sober house for women.
Their plan met some resistance when they moved into a home on Mekia Street in Waimanalo. Nearby residents said the home they were renting was a known drug house, and complained to the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board.
Due to the concerns raised, the foundation moved out of the Mekia Street home last November and established another home on Inoaole Street.
The foundation also opened another home in Enchanted Lake two weeks ago.
Since its establishment the foundation has served 14 women, with about half of them becoming completely sober, employed and independent, Aiwohi said.
"For everyone that said we couldn't do it, we're still here and we're still helping women and children," she said. "We just needed to prove to society that our intent is what it is."
The foundation provides low-income housing for families, and acts as a conduit back to structured living.
"You can't move in unless you are seeking treatment," Treasurer Jessica Hauki said.
Aiwohi said the foundation still has funding problems and hopes to seek grants later this year.
But still, Aiwohi said, they are fulfilling their mission. One mother regained custody of her child after leaving the Aiwohi Foundation home, she said.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Gene Park.
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