Honolulu, September 16, 2011 – HOPE Services Hawaii, the Diocese of Honolulu’s newest nonprofit organization helping the homeless, has launched an expansive website, rich with stories, pictures, videos, program descriptions, news and information.

The purpose of the site, said HOPE Services chief executive officer Brandee Menino, is “to tell our story.” She said she hopes visitors who go to the site – www.hopeserviceshawaii.org – will be inspired by the “stories of people’s lives we have impacted,” and that those in need of help can find the information they need. The site also offers many ways for people to volunteer.

Formerly the Care-A-Van Program of the Office for Social Ministry, HOPE Services Hawaii was created last October to offer shelter and housing programs for the homeless on the Big Island where its offices are, and eventually throughout the state.

The site portrays an organization that is news media friendly, providing a detailed 12-page “press kit,” interview contact information for the chief executive officer Brandee Menino, and photos. Besides the standard listings offering a description of the organization and contact information, the website also provides ways to donate and volunteer, either individually or as a group.Donations ($10 minimum) are easy with just a new mouse clicks. Wish list items are also accepted. The site thoughtfully lists a dozen ways donations have helped families and individuals.

HOPE Services Hawaii also offers internships which the site describes as “a fantastic training opportunity for students working in the fields of health (especially mental health), social work, and non-profit management, including human resources, communications and development.” The site also shows a visitor how to apply for a job with the agency.

Under the “news and events” tab, the website offers inspiring profiles of lives turned around by the organization and links to newspaper stories and news releases, Facebook and the agency’s blog. The “programs and services” button connects those in need of the agency’s outreach programs, one-stop centers, housing programs, homeless prevention services, prison re-entry services, and a list of partner agencies.

It’s a clean, well organized and friendly site with color themes in hopeful green and island-style graphics. Smiling photos of the mostly female staff accompany contact information which offers direct phone numbers and e-mail address links.

The website was about eight months in the making using Big Island talent and businesses. According to Menino, Sally Lundburg of Mahiai Creative built a collection of photographic and story content which was then developed by the local internet company Gum Design. The total cost was about $10,000, Menino said, which included everything from research and brainstorming to design, writing and photography.

The same creative team created the diocese’s Office for Social Ministry website, which was launched earlier this year. The “two sites were designed to have a ‘sister-website’ feel,” Menino said, “with a similar layout and navigation.” Lundburg manages the site for now, but it is designed to be easily managed by a trained staff member. The agency plans to upload new content weekly. That would include news releases, blog entries by employees and HOPE Services board members, and photos by Lundburg.

“I hope the website will … tell our story,” Menino said, “the lives we’ve impacted.” She said she wants it to be “a valuable resource and a tool to promote awareness, engender compassion and action to solve the problem of homelessness.”

Downs, Patrick “HOPE Services new website offers inspiring stories, a helping hand” Hawaii Catholic Herald, 16 September.2011. http://www.hawaiicatholicherald.org/Home/tabid/256/newsid884/3855/Default.aspx