Words of Wisdom from our Everyday Heroes

Joy, Vince and Gabriela

“It is the most rewarding work I have ever done, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.” – Joy

“I have to find my way to their hearts. How do you do that? With respect”. – Gabriela

I feel really lucky to have found something that fulfills me” – Vince

Conversations with Full Life Direct Support workers are heartwarming and inspiring. It is work driven by love and the same kind of passion demonstrated by the founding family.

Joy McCroskey is new to Full Life and has already demonstrated a remarkable level of commitment and passion. Joy shared that the most rewarding aspect of her work is “watching the people I support grow and see how they are able to live more full and fulfilled lives as a result of the relationship. I love that Full Life is called what it is, because that is the point of what we do. To be honest, the individuals I support have helped me as much as I have helped them. I just found that the way I have been able to develop my skill set over the years, such as being a patient person or a caring person are not developed until they are tested. The more I am challenged the more I grow. I am able to help them, only when they challenge and inspire me.” Joy also shared that she likes working for Full Life because the mission is “so much about the participants and not about money and power. Everything we learned in orientation is so spot on about always putting the individual first and treating each person we support with respect and dignity.”

Vince Zamora has been a Direct Support Worker for over five years. “It turns out that I am really good at being a Direct Support Worker and I really like it, he says. I spend time hanging out with one of my friends, doing what he wants and needs to do. I feel really blessed to have Daylan in my life.” This work is very rewarding, Vince added. We are bringing attention to a community that didn’t get attention in the past. Now, services are community-based. I am so happy that things for folks with developmental disabilities are progressing. Full Life is proud to have Vince as part of the ’ohana and the feeling is mutual. Full Life is really person-centered, Vince stated. “It is about what each individuals strengths and abilities are and helping each person reach their dreams, which is really exciting. I mean how often do you get to do that?”

The skills and talents that Gabriela brings to her work are based on treating the people she supports like family. To Gabriela that means that she is fully engaged with them.   That kind of engagement builds trust, she says, and with trust, the growth and learning begin to happen. Gabriela says that “love opens all doors. I have to find my way to their heart. I try to be patient because I can see their struggles and challenges.”   “The work is not about me, she adds. I stand back a little and observe before I react. I try many various approaches.”

Mahalo to Vince, Joy, Gabriela and all of Full Life’s Direct Support Workers in our island communities creating small miracles every day! ~~





It’s a Kakou Thing!

In celebration of Full Life’s Fifteenth Anniversary…. An Interview with the Founding Family.

Full Life was founded on faith and a belief that “a miracle would happen” for Thelma and Curt Tyler’s son Charlie.   The Tylers were very concerned about what would happen to their son when they were gone. In a recent interview Elizabeth Rice and Curtis Tyler, sister and brother of Charlie, shared that that miracle did happen along with a commitment from the family to promote the idea of self-determination for individuals with developmental disabilities on Hawai’i Island.

The Tyler family had opened a home in Kona to address the needs and desires of families and their loved ones with developmental disabilities. Larry Casper and Deann Canuteson came to the Big Island to run that home and support the individuals there, including Charlie. The home worked wonderfully well according to Curtis. The State of Hawaii was very encouraging, but payments from the state were often late and the mainland agency that employed Larry and Deann eventually withdrew. Curt Tyler asked Deann to stay. Her goal was to make sure Charlie would always have someone to care for him and she was the miracle that the family needed. Deann knew about “Waiver Services” the state program that allowed individuals with developmental disabilities to waive institutionalization in favor of services in their own homes and communities. Deann and Larry spent countless days, weeks and months with the Tyler family putting together the plans, permits and contracts for an agency that would assure that Charlie always had care. Finally, the time came to find a name for the new agency. Curt Tyler suggested Full Life, as that is what they all wanted for Charlie and others in the community. “He was very humble”, says Elizabeth of their father. “And very community minded”, added Curtis. It was always about the individuals and the concept of self-determination. “It was very synchronistic.” Curtis added, “The state, the family, Deann and Larry were all in sync.”   Deann was a ‘major bright light’ in Charlie’s life and the first President/CEO of Full Life. Larry became the first President of the Board of Directors.

Curt Senior had a strong belief that Charlie , who was born in Kona, and a member of the Kona community, would always be a visible member of the community. He frequently took Charlie with him when he was in the community. “They were best buddies”, added Curtis. Through Full Life, Charlie has been able to live as full a life as the family hoped for and remain connected to the Kona Community.

He has received incredible love and care from his Direct Support Workers and the entire Full Life ‘ohana.   Elizabeth’s eyes fill with tears when she says, “Full Life has given Charlie a life. Our father’s vision has remained unchanged” Curtis added, “I know dad is watching down on this. Charlie, just like everyone has unique talents and gifts. Full Life is part of his family. It is not an institution. Stone, Deann, and the Board of Directors have enabled people to come into Charlie’s life who have become his extended family.”

Full Life holds a high standard of excellence, says Elizabeth, that comes from the Tyler family. “It’s about the people Full Life supports,” adds Curtis, “not the organization. Aloha is a big part of Full Life. There is a vision of what is possible for folks to live a full life. The leaders hold that vision. Full Life is pono and it will continue to rise up. The passion that started with Curt Tyler has never left. It is a ‘kakou thing’; it is inclusive.”

Elizabeth, Full Life Director, encourages everyone to come to the annual meeting. “It’s enjoyable; I get to see how dad’s vision in reflected in the passion and caring of the Direct Support Workers and how much they love working for Full Life. “ ~~


Why I Am a Part of Full Life – Pauline Aughe, Director

Full Life distinguishes itself from other agencies by it’s approach. Full Life embraces each participant as a whole person and together with the person, pursues the path of highest good.

As a person with a disability, I understand what it is to be told what you can and cannot do, with the bar of possibility usually set so low. Full Life allows each individual to explore their fullest potential and discover what he/she can achieve.  Participants are not just looked at for who they are. They are looked at for whom they can become.

By being a part of Full Life, we are declaring that we are in agreement with the foundation upon which our country was founded on. The Declaration of Independence states,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Day in and day out, Full Life upholds and lives these truths in the ways they interact and treat each other as staff, board members and participants. With Full Life we get to be a part of something great, something worthy.  We get to treat others the way we’d want to be treated, with love, acceptance and respect.  Full Life is not just an agency; it’s a way of life and one I’m honored to be a part of.

Learn more about Pauline here.


Join Full Life on May 10th for fun, food, and charity!

Full Life is walking in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk- join us!

Seagull School at Mauna Lani Resort & The Shops at Mauna Lani

5:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. for Walk

Walkers start at 7:00 a.m.

3.5 miles

Gives everyone a chance to raise money for Hawaii’s charities (INCLUDING FULL LIFE!). Walk with the Hawai’i Lodging & Tourism Association and their allied members to help build a better, healthier Hawaii, for all of us.

The Visitor Industry CHARITY WALK is Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Mauna Lani Resort

In 1974 the Hawai’i Lodging& Tourism Association sponsored a charitable “Superwalk”to benefit one major charitable organization. In 1979, the Hawai’i Lodging & Tourism Association members voted to extend the reach of support offered by the Walk’s fund-raising capability.
The Visitor Industry CHARITY WALK is the result of this decision. All Hawaii non-profit charities are eligible to benefit. Walkers are treated to ono food, drink and first-aid at checkpoints along the walk route. All checkpoints are operated and supplied with refreshments and helpers by Hawaii hotels and allied organizations. Entertainment may also be provided at many checkpoints and at the end of the walk.

Walkers can pay their own $35.00 minimum walk fee, or they can obtain at least $35.00 in pledges before the day of the walk.

Email Barbara Hoist for more information, a walk form or to pledge for another walker.

2014 Day at the Capitol

The 2014 Day at the Capitol is Thursday, March 13th from 9:00AM to 3:00PM at the State Capitol Auditorium.  Registration forms and air fare scholarship requests are available here in PDF and Word

Traditionally, approximately 500 self-advocates, family members, service providers, and advocate
are  attend this special event to build awareness of the abilities and strengths of
individuals with developmental disabilities.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Hawai’i is part of a nation-wide campaign to raise
public awareness and build understanding.

Notes from Full Life’s Annual Meeting

Full Life’s Annual Meeting was held on January 26th in Waimea. Over 50 members of the Full Life ‘ohana were there including participants, family members, direct support workers, office staff and all of our Board Members.

Glennon Gingo, Board Chair welcomed everyone and presented the Full Life 2012 Corporate Sponsor Award to Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers for their continued support of Full Life.

Christie Crawford presented a financial report. Full Life’s Annual Report 2012 was distributed to all attendees.

After a delicious lunch, our outstanding volunteers and employees were recognized with Full Life 2012 Hanohano Award Certificates, lei and small gifts.

Mahalo to everyone who attended!