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May 13, 2020

Talofa lava,
My name is Pelesa. I am 24 years old and I am currently a student at Honolulu Community College. I am going for AA degree in Liberal Arts and this is my first year in college.
Before the pandemic of COVID-19, I was working at Robert’s School Bus Hawaii and attending school every day. At first, my main concern was paying for school and balancing my schedule at work. When the COVID-19 hit, I remember that I was worried about money because I was out of work. I kept asking myself, how would I survive during this time of crisis. How would I be able to pay for my phone bills, groceries, rent, and on top of that, how can I pay for school?
I applied for Unemployment Insurance benefit, but I wasn’t qualified. I was under a lot stress and my emotions kept building up. One time, I literally broke down in tears because I felt the feeling of giving up. Thankfully, I talked to my sister on Facebook to help me to sort out some of the situation. She reminded me not to give up and just keep going for the sake of my family back home in American Samoa.
When I received an email from the school about student urgency relief fund, I didn’t know what it was. I called Jan (one of my advisor from C.A.R.E program) to understand more of this relief fund and she helped me step by step. A week later, I received an email from UH, and I was overjoyed because I got $500 from the urgent student relief fund. When the money arrived, I was really happy. Then, I realized that there is hope!
I am the first generation of my family to go to college and I have the dream of walking down the aisle holding my degree in my hands.
I want to say thank you to the donors who helped me to ease the stress and the burdens that was weighing on my shoulders. Without you guys and your assistance through this time of crisis, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I was able to pay for my phone bills, groceries, and rent. Now, I am looking forward to continuing with my school and achieving my goals in the future. Also, I am feeling confident that I’m heading on to the right path of my career.
Thank you for your support and your assistance.


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.

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