Curtis Kropar has brought hope to many of those less fortunate in the islands. The hope of gaining knowledge, empowerment and ultimately, a better life.
Through his nonprofit, Hawaiian Hope, founded in 2006, the 46-year-old executive director and as many as 30 volunteers have refurbished nearly 1,000 donated computers for low-income families and individuals, homeless shelters, clean-and-sober houses, prisoner re-entry programs, and schools in need of high technology.
"Mr. Kropar has spearheaded the initiative to place a computer in as many homes and hands as possible," said
The information technology expert, who himself was homeless for nearly a decade in the 1990s, is driven by a desire to give people a chance to gain necessary skills for today's work environment.
Hawaiian Hope, which operates on a
"I'm a firm believer of everything happens for a reason. It sometimes may take you years to figure out the why between certain things and events, but in retrospect you can connect these dissociated things that didn't make sense that all of a sudden became crystal clear," said Kropar, who moved to
Kropar says people nowadays must know how to use a computer just to apply for certain jobs.
"You've got a continuous flow of people who become homeless every year for various reasons," he said. "Part of why we're doing this is that if we can expose the community overall to computers and technology, it opens the doors for a lot of people. IT and technology is one of the few careers where you don't need a college degree. If they've got a background in computers and a better understanding of technology, they stand a better chance of getting and keeping better jobs."
Kropar said his nonprofit has about 600 computers in stock at self-storage facilities on
The group is working out of storage facilities, which "drastically complicates our mission and objectives," and Kropar has an office in a homeless shelter in
The organization doesn't have a vehicle to transport the computers and is in desperate need of a single, large facility to house increasing donations, he said.
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Credit: Kristen Consillio
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