Nolan “Alika” K Kaahanui

Posted on Mar 21, 2016 in Alumni, Success Stories


Nolan “Alika” K KaahanuiNolan “Alika” K Kaahanui was an average kid, playing sports and hanging out with friends, but his family was financially challenged and they were constantly forced to move. When his parents divorced, everything took a turn for the worse. He was 12-years-old when he began getting into trouble and becoming a rebel. He mastered cutting school, body surfing, partying, fighting and rebelling against his parents, school officials and anyone of authority. The back seat of police vehicles, court rooms, community service centers and alternative programs had become his source of education.

Shortly after his 16h birthday, he found a Youth Challenge Academy brochure at a convenience store in Aiea while ditching High School. Realizing his life was pretty reckless, with little hope of graduating, he took the brochure to his school counselor who spoke with Nolan’s probation officer about the program.  The probation officer proposed YCA to the judge, who entertained the idea, offering to dismiss Nolan’s vandalism and truancy charges if he completed the program.

The first two weeks were the hardest of Nolan’s young life! No freedom, rights, free-time, phone, radio, television or electronics.  He was forced to live with constant supervision and yelling, numerous moms and dads, only 3 meals a day, timed showers and rules, rules, and more rules.  Not to mention about 75 other manipulative annoying teenagers just like him. Left with few options due to his court issues, Nolan did just enough to complete the program and graduate, not knowing how this experience would truly change the course of his life.

After graduation, Nolan returned to his old ways of partying and challenging authority. He attempted college but never finished. He waited tables, worked as a lei greeter at the Honolulu International Airport, was a barista and eventually joined the Hawaii Air National Guard. Combining his experience at YCA with his new life in the Air Guard, Nolan finally saw the light. Today Nolan is a husband, a proud father of four, a home owner and a Technical Sergeant with 17yrs of service as a Production Recruiter; he even volunteers work with numerous charities in the local community, truly embodying the mission statement of the Youth Challenge Academy by being a responsible and productive member of society.

In the future, Nolan plans to retire from the Hawaii Air National Guard, complete college and return to YCA as a member of the staff.