Anashe Brooks’s survived a complex and traumatic childhood growing up in Maui. “My father had 10 wives… and I had 24 brothers and sisters. He was a drug addicted alcoholic, and he was abusing all of us. When I was 13 we were all taken away by CPS and sent to live in foster homes. I started smoking weed at 13, maybe earlier, and then I started dealing.”
Anashe was able to return to live with her mother on the Big Island, but between the ages of 16 and 24 she gave birth to 5 children. Shortly after her last child was born, she began to abuse and then deal ice. She is now diagnosed with PTSD as a result of her childhood trauma, and is in therapy, but at the time, drugs were a way to mask the pain of her past. “My life was chaos, bad habits…no hope.” She was eventually busted for dealing drugs and incarcerated for three months, with all of her children being taken and placed in foster care.
“When I was in jail, I realized I was just over it, tired of it. I was finished with ice.” When Anashe was released, she entered into a six-month, residential Bisac program. “I loved and missed my children and we saw each other as much as we could”. Richard from BISAC’s “Mom’s and Babies” program advocated for Anashe and her two youngest sons, and they were accepted to live at HOPE Service’s Kihei Pua shelter. She attended and completed all her classes including HOPE’s Renter’s Education, Budgeting, Kuleana, and ERIP as well as keeping an exceptionally clean unit. She was motivated. As a result, she asked and was placed at HOPE’s Transitional Housing Program, Beyond Shelter, in order to be reunified with her oldest children while remaining under supervision. Two of her sons have special needs and she wanted to care for them as her partner is currently incarcerated.
The family has not just grown, but thrived at Beyond Shelter. “Today I have hope and I am in my third semester of community college. My life has structure, my children’s lives have structure. I want to go to school and to change my behavior because I don’t want my children to follow in my footsteps. I want to show them they don’t have to”. All of her children are performing well in school and participate in summer and extracurricular activities at the Boys and Girls club. At the time of this interview she had a neighbor visiting, as Anashe helped her fill out a college applications. When she left, the children surrounded their mom, and hugged her tight for the photos.