Monique R. Ibarra, Executive Director, since March 1, 2016. Mrs. Ibarra was born in Michigan but raised around the world as an Air Force dependent. In 1991, she moved to Maui after an active duty tour in the Air Force. Mrs. Ibarra has over 17 years of social service experience by working for agencies on Maui that dealt with domestic violence services, homelessness, anti-poverty services, child welfare services, and human resources. She has a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Hawaii -Manoa, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Hawaii – West Oahu, and an Associates of Science Degree in Human Services from the University of Hawaii – Maui College. If you ask her, she’d say her greatest accomplishments are her 3 adult children and grandchildren.
“I do this work because every person deserves a dignified and healthy quality of life. Poverty is cruel and no one should be without a home because of it. Helping our community to thrive and succeed is where my heart is at and motivates me to keep doing the work that we do.”
Thanaid Uralwong, Director of Finance, was born in Bangkok but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked in the environmental industry for 7 years as a chemist and technical services manager. After a career in the environmental industry, he has been working in accounting and finance in both the private and public sector for over 20 years. Prior to joining KHAKO in 2013, he worked at the County of Maui for 11 years as treasury accountant and interim treasurer. He has a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Seattle University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from San Jose State University.
“I do this work because there is no reason why everyone should be hungry or without a home. Food and Shelter for All – Article 25, The Declaration of Human Rights.”
Kurt Schmidt, Shelter Program Director, since August 9, 2021. Born and raised as a Cheesehead in Wisconsin. He became a resident of Maui in June 2021. He is a well-traveled social worker who has lived in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, California and Tennessee. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. As a professional social worker, he has focused on homeless services, foster care and adoption, mentoring, and other youth/family services. He is married with three children.
“I do this work because I believe in helping those most in need. Everyone deserves to have a place that they can call home.”
“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” – Nelson Mandela
Mary Nakooka, Housing Program Manager. Born and raised in Massachusetts, but as young adult travelled throughout the United States. In 1987, Mary arrived on Maui and immediately knew this was where she wanted to plant roots and raise her family. In the late 90’s, she found herself and family facing homelessness and entered Ka Hale A Ke Ola as a client. Mary was offered a hand-up from the agency, that’s when she realized what her life calling was. She pursued higher education with the help of programs offered at KHAKO. Mary earned an Associates in Social Science Degree in Human Services from UH Maui College (2012), Bachelors of Arts in Social Sciences from UH West Oahu (2016) and is currently a licensed Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in the state of Hawaii (2018). She has over 11 years of experience working with individuals and families in the community that are experiencing homelessness on Maui. Since 2018, Mary has been the Housing Program Manager with the responsibility for providing support and oversight for all the housing programs offered at Ka Hale A Ke Ola. In Mary’s free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and enjoying everything that Maui has to offer.
“I love doing what I do because I am able to give back to others what was once given to me, the courage, confidence and strength to continue on…”
Lee Thompson, Director of Operations. Mr. Thompson was born and raised on the island of Oahu and graduated from Aiea High School. In 2009 he moved to the island of Maui, and on December 7, 2010 started working for KHAKO as a Resource Worker until being promoted to the Director of Operations for the agency. Mr. Thompson has a background of over 25 years in construction work, specifically as a union Dry Wall Finisher. He’s worked in the Security field since 2005.
“I do this work because I believe everyone should have a home and be treated as the way you would like to be treated.”
Todd Andrew Aken Kanoa, Food Services Director. Born in Metairie, Louisiana then moved to Hawaii at the age of three. Mr. Kanoa was raised on the island of Oahu by his mother, Ret. CSM Virgine Kanoa and Aunty Marcia Alvior. A 1995 Graduate of Damien Memorial High, he has many years of experience in the foodservice industry. He has been with KHAKO since August 2017.
“I have a passion for cooking. I love putting together dishes that just make people happy. And in my eyes, everyone deserves to be happy whether homeless or not.”
Joelvonne K. Kamaka, Leasing Director for Hale Makana O Waiale. Mrs. Kamaka was born and raised on O’ahu and moved to Maui with her husband in 1994. She is a mother of 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls, and has 5 grandchildren and another on the way. Joelvonne has also worked in the health care field for 10 years, Joelvonne completed internships at Ka Hale A Ke Ola, where she had been offered a full-time position as a Case Manager. She has now been with Ka Hale A Ke Ola for over 13 years (6 years at Shelter as Emergency Case Manager and the 7 at Hale Makana O Waiale). She has an A.S. technical degree and is in the process of completing her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science degree. Joelvonne is the instructor trainer for CPR for all employees of Ka Hale A Ke Ola and has numerous certifications for affordable housing, such as Certified Occupancy Specialist a nationally recognized certification and is a C8P certified in tax credit properties.
I do this work “because the importance of being here on this earth, is to serve” and if you are able to make a difference in one person’s life, you have met your purpose.
Luis A. Diaz-Perez, Resident Manager/Maintenance Supervisor. Mr. Diaz-Perez was born in Mexico City, Mexico but was raised in Los Angeles, California (Go Dodger Blue!) Mr. Diaz-Perez has been in Maui since October of 2016 and with KHAKO since August of 2017. After 33 long years in Los Angeles, he and his wife concluded that Maui would be an awesome place to relocate to. The island has not disappointed! With 8+ plus years of property management/maintenance experience, Mr. Diaz is now working with KHAKO as the Resident Manager and Maintenance Supervisor. The goal and vision of the company are noble and deserving of praise. He considers it an honor to work for Hale Makana O Waiale.
Favorite quote: “Do or do not…there is no try”- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back