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June 1, 2023
  • students with umbrellas in front of UH Hilo sign

Angela Garramone, a UH Hilo student in communication and psychology, is a licensed massage therapist whose income was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. She says, “I have been involved in a contentious divorce and custody case, and I am one hundred percent responsible for our two children.”

The stress of schoolwork, single parenthood, and representing herself in divorce proceedings affected her health and her ability to take care of her family. A concerned English professor requested emergency financial aid on Angela’s behalf. “She spotted me as needing special assistance,” says Angela. “UH Hilo helped me pay my bills and always just at the right time. It has kept me afloat.”

When personal setbacks away from the classroom disrupt their efforts in the classroom, students may have difficulty bouncing back. The UH Hilo Student Crisis Fund assists students who find themselves suddenly in crisis because of car trouble, lost jobs, or unexpected personal expense. The fund helps students stay on the pathway to success at UH Hilo and in their post-college lives.

More than financial assistance

Student emergency needs take many forms, such as rent payments, car repairs, medical bills, and basic needs like food and clothing.

“The good news is that not only can we help students with immediate needs through this fund, but we can use it as a vehicle to connect students to other supportive resources, such as counseling, shelters and food pantries,” says Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Chris Holland. “This allows students to get immediate help with a true emergency, then to get back on track with good planning and a professional support resource on campus.”

He says, “The ability to help students is central to everything we do at the university. Students are very appreciative of the process, knowing we are taking a holistic approach to assisting them—obviously, the money is needed for the emergency, but the wraparound services are ultimately what keeps students engaged in their own life planning.”

“When I needed it most”

Without this assistance, many students must make difficult choices affecting their ability to be successful in school—skipping meals, finding themselves homeless or putting themselves in dire situations.

Angela says, “Dr. Holland reached out to me personally to discuss my unique situation, asking how UH could best support me. He was very kind and non-judgmental, offering insight, information, and resources to support me.”

As she continues her studies, Angela believes the aid from donors is an investment in her. She plans to complete her educational goals as a foundation for helping the Hawai‘i Island community as a counseling therapist focusing on familial communication, dynamic roles, and troubled youth.

“I would like to send a very warm aloha to people donating to this fund,” she says. “It came through for me when I needed it most, and it helped carry me through my studies. Thank you for investing in me—I promise to do likewise, investing my time and energy into our local community for us all.”

Will you make a gift in support of the UH Hilo Student Crisis Fund?

Sometimes what seems like a small life crisis can disrupt a student's education, and sometimes they have trouble bouncing back. This fund helps us lend a hand to our students, keeping them on the pathway to success.

Just a little help can make all the difference. Thank you for your gifts of any amount!

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.