Our Volunteer Board


Pualani Akaka, MA


Pualani is a retired teacher of 27 years. She cares for her mo’opuna and volunteers in her church community. She is the daughter of the highly respected late Kahu and Mrs. Abraham Akaka and oversees the archival work of the Rev. Abraham Akaka Foundation.


April Kealoha.


April retired after many years with the Legal Aid Society She is a renown Kumu Hula (director and choreographer of a large Hula Halau).


Uluwehi Sai


Uluwehi retired after many years as an account. She continues as a tax preparer on Moloka’i.



Mary recently retired after more than 18 years of diverse experiences, especially as a Nurse Practitioner servicing the people on Moloka’i.

Our Dedicated Staff


Shari Lynn (M.Ed.)

Executive Director/ Clinical Supervisor

Shari is in long-term recovery (1987) and has been serving KHP since its inception in 1996. She holds a Master’s Degree (M.Ed.) from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, a secondary education license, is an internationally and locally Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC/ICDAC), Certified Prevention Specialist ( CPS), Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS), Certified Transition planning Specialist (CTS) Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJAP), and a Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrator. She has extensive training in her career as a psychotherapist in the areas of sexual abuse/assault/offense, family dynamics, reactive attachment disorder, and addictions. Since 1995, she serves as the local responder for suicide crisis intervention in Moloka’i.

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Nancy Poland (BSIS, MBA)

Chief Financial Officer/HR/ IT

Nancy has been serving KHP since 2009. She earned her BSIS and MBA from the University of Redlands while employed in a top IT position with a national aeronautical corporation for 23 years. She earned a High-Performance Management certificate from Northeastern University in 2007 and completed the LEAD Institute’s Program for High Potential Managers in 2002. She volunteers as Treasurer for the Aha’ Kukui Canoe Club on Moloka’i.

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Amy Alvarez (PUBA)

Admin Assistant/Case Manager.

Amy also provides support, education, transportation, and guidance for KHP’s pregnant and parenting women who are in treatment and works with the clients from Drug Court.


Wanette Lee (AA, AS)

CSAC Counselor.

Wanette provides both group and individual counseling for those with substance use disorders. She has a vast amount of clinical and cultural experience in the field. She has also worked assisting victims of domestic violence. She in long term recovery.


Teddy Gorospe

Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS)

Teddy is a state and nationally certified PRSS, who provides direct peer-to-peer mentorship for folks in recovery. He provides transportation for clients and manages KHP’s Sober House where he holds recovery support meetings. Teddy is in long-term recovery.


Dana Dudoit

Recovery Support

Dana provides direct peer-to-peer mentorship for folks in recovery. He provides transportation for clients and manages KHP’s Sober House where he holds recovery support meetings. Dana is in long-term recovery.

Founder Varna

Our Founder
Ms. Varna Nakihei

Ka Hale Pomaika’i- The Blessed House was founded by Ms. Varna Nakihei who once struggled with substance misuse herself. After treatment she returned to Molokai and open a sober house so others would not have to leave the island for treatment. After 30 years, Ms. Nakihei is still active in her recovery journey which has taken her to Maui to reside.

Although They Have Passed, Our Kupuna's Guidance Lives On


Our senior Kupuna of Ka Hale Pomaika’i, Luana Hamakua devoted much of her life to the Hawaiian practice of conflict resolution called Ho’opono’pono. Aunty Luana was a Kupuna for the clients and staff of Ka Hale Pomaika’i. She was a skilled Native Hawaiian healer referred to as a La’au Lapa’au. She used many native traditional plants and methods for medicine.


Our Local Mana’e Kupuna was Uncle Damien Place was a practitioners of La’au Lapa’au. He provided invaluable help with all KHP activities as they resided right across the street!


Aunty Marie Place was very skilled in the Hawaiian art and spiritual practice of La’au Lapa’au native healing. She was the Po’okela for Kukui Kalani ‘o’ Lani’kaula, an ancient 800-year-old Kukui grove.