Everyone deserves to enjoy the privileges and independence that come with competitive employment. That is the sentiment expressed by Hawaii Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Counselor, Debi Thompson, at a recent awards ceremony honoring Kauai Coffee Company and staff member Angenette (Angie) Molina for their advocacy and commitment to vocational rehabilitation.
Angie, a longtime advocate for deaf issues statewide and chairperson of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advocacy Board, was named the top Vocational Rehabilitant of the Year while Kauai Coffee Company was recognized as the Vocational Rehabilitation Employer of the Year.
State representative Jimmy Tokioka attended the awards ceremony held at The Kauai Coffee Company Estate in late October and praised Angie’s work not just at Kauai Coffee but as an American Sign Language educator for the deaf and hard of hearing community on Kauai. “I know Angie because my son Pono is deaf,” he said. “We got to know her because she was a big help to Pono and us.”
“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of Kauai Coffee Company,” Said General Manager, Fred Cowell, “We’re so proud of Angie’s accomplishments and all of our staff for their commitment to advocacy and support of persons with disabilities in our workplace,” he continued. Kauai Coffee is proud to partner with DVR and support persons with disabilities with on-the-job-training and employment opportunities for clients including those who have specific learning disabilities, physical impairments, deafness and mental illness.
Learn more about the Hawaii Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on their website. Original reporting and photography of this story by Dennis Fujimoto appeared in The Garden Island Newspaper on Sunday, October 28, 2018.