Independent Living Program Director – Sam Nagasawa

Sam Nagasawa originally from Germany came to live in Hawaii in 1983 when she married a “local boy” from the Big Island. Her family settled in Pahoa in the Puna District. When her husband became disabled in a 1985 car accident she learned firsthand about the challenges of living with a disability. She became a skills trainer and worked with children with autism, along with behavioral challenged youth. After a few years she had the opportunity to work as an Independent Living Specialist.

She also took training and became the Elderly Blind Teacher for the agency she was working for. During that time she was a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Aging and involved in the planning of the Adult-Disability Resource Center now established in Hilo on the Big Island. After working in the Child Protective Service field for the last five years, she was excited about the opportunity to work for Aloha Independent Living Hawaii. Sam has been with AILH since February of 2011.

She works with many of our elderly consumers. Sam started a support for our elderly consumers with and without visual impairments. Her latest support group is comprised of young adults with various disabilities for recreational purposes.

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