Gernani is a young man with a knack for inspirational leadership. He is an for other young people, currently working as a facilitator with EPIC ‘Ohana Inc., helping other’s living or aging out of foster care with their transitional goals.
Gernani’s four years in foster care included time in detention facilities and in group homes. That hasn’t stopped him from graduating from the University of Hawaii-West Oahu in May of 2013, receiving an academic distinction with his BA in public administration. His future educational goals include attending law school, practice family law, and become a family court judge.
Along with spending three years as the president of the Oahu HI H.O.P.E.S. youth leadership board, Gernani is an advocate for systems change in Hawaii. He has worked with the DHS director, family courts, and legislators in order to increase Hawaii’s allowable age for receiving higher education board payments to age 27. He has also helped to extend voluntary care to age 21, and Medicaid for aged out foster youth to age 26. Gernani has spoken about foster care issues on the morning news, public television, and local radio, and develops videos of social capital for transitioning youth.
Gernani is also a well accomplished public speaker, participating and presenting at a number of conferences and workshops, including the CASA convention in Anaheim, where he presented a panel workshop on social capital. He has emceed conferences about Oahu and Teen Day Family Court events. As a Young Fellow with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and has presented to their stakeholders in Florida.