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Our goal is to provide 3,000 additional children with compassionate mentors by 2025.

We are a small 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Hawai'i that facilitates partnerships between public schools, business, civic, and faith-based communities to provide mentors for highly vulnerable children. Since 2002, we have helped over 3,000 children. ​

Many of the children we work with are lacking stability in their lives. They may be experiencing homelessness, constant moving due to military placement, inadequate education, incarcerated family members, single-parent homes, drug/alcohol abuse, food insecurity, language barriers, cultural differences, discrimination, and few resources/assets. Some students we work with experience bullying or ostracization from peers. These students are referred to our program with the help of teachers and counselors, who believe the child could benefit from the personal attention from a mentor who truly cares for their well-being.  


The structure of our mentoring sessions is one-to-one. During the school year, mentors commit to meeting with a student for one hour, once a week at a designated location. 

We are supported by the state of Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent, and we received the Partnership in Education Award in 2007. 

Letter from the Executive Director

Recently, I was encouraged and blessed to spend a Sunday morning listening to Jay Jarman and Jia Jun Zhen, a 22 year-old former Common Grace mentee, at Salt and Light Church in Waikiki Elementary School.  Jia Jun spoke with confidence about a strong bond of friendship between him and his mentor, Pastor Jim Stern, who met with him at the the school’s cafeteria.  


In 2007, as a 2nd grader at Waikiki Elementary School, he was experiencing a challenging time at home. One day, his school counselor and his mom told him that he will be meeting once a week with a caring uncle named Jim Stern Pastor of  Kapahulu Bible through Common Grace.  At first, Jia Jun, did not understand why someone would come just to see him.  Pastor Jim was very attentive, kind, and encouraging.  Jia Jun realized how friendly and fun his new mentor was.  The friendship grew stronger.  Jia Jun appreciated the time Pastor Jim spent with him.  His mentor’s dedication and love helped create a strong root and foundation at a time when he needed it the most.


God’s goodness poured as living water on Jia Jun and nurtured him to be a strong and caring person himself.  Currently, he helps with the Youth Ministry at Kapahalu Bible Church and works at Best Buy as a Sales Associate.  The strong roots created good fruits in Jia Jun’s life.

I witnessed how a child can be saved by God’s Grace through Pastor Jim Stern’s faith and love to him. Even Ryan Kusuda, the current Principal at Waikiki Elementary, attended and heard his sharing! 


According to a Civil Beat article written last August, there were more than 2,200 children in Hawaii struggling with anxiety and depression in 2020 – a 23% increase compared with 2016.   I believe that some of these mental health issues can be eased by someone with compassion who listens and encourages them regularly. Yes, children absolutely need academic help but they also need to know someone cares for them.


Please partner with us so even more children can benefit from positive friendships through mentoring. Of course, this requires careful preparation and qualified mentors who are vetted, trained, and matched by Common Grace. Your monthly donation of $50 or more will help us nurture a child just like Jia Jun. Such a special young man! He’s bearing fruit by donating his time to youth ministry. (Thank you, Jia Jun for being the man that God is growing you to be.)

Best Wishes this Spring Season,

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Aries Jackson  |  Executive Director

Our Team


Aries Jackson

Executive Director

"God is calling me to serve Common Grace to rescue children through loving them as He loves me." Matthew 22:39  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’


Sofia Matias

Program Coordinator

"I've been a part of the Common Grace Ohana since high school and I met Jesus through our program. It changed my life and I believe that it can give hope and guidance to others, just like it has for me."

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Chelsie Ahue

Administrative/Program Assistant

"Seeing kids feel loved & have a sense of belonging is like nothing else. In Psalms 127:3, it says 'children are a gift from the Lord.' I'm so honored to be a part of a growing organization that helps youth feel heard, known & understood."

Our Board of Directors


Jay Jarman

Founder & Board Member

"'I see Him in every vulnerable child.' Matthew 25:35-36, 40 (NIV) God wants our lives to overflow with mercy, love, and compassion — the marks of His kingdom. As followers of Jesus, we have a choice: respond to unsettling realities in fear and withdraw, or follow Him in responding to the greatest needs of our day with love and hope."


Lisa Herring

Board Member

"I am excited to be a part of the Common Grace Ohana! I believe our mission changes lives by positvely impacting the growth and development of our future leaders. "


Larry Takumi

Board Member

"I have seen how Common Grace's mentorship program works and how it can provide a meaningful impact on the lives of young children, as well as the mentors themselves. I fully support Common Grace 's emboldening the breadth of God's love through these mentoring relationships, and I want to help this program grow."


Vehia Goo

Chairman of the Board

"Every time a mentor meets with their mentee they both become that much more able to imagine a better life for themselves. Every time they meet our future gets a little brighter."


Joshua Ching

Board Member

"The service provided through Common Grace meets a crucial need to develop and encourage our young people here in Hawai'i. Every student impacted leads to a brighter future for our keiki and community. I am excited and honored to serve in this important mission."


Dennis Trotter

Board Member

"As a person who experienced both the mentee and mentor sides of Common Grace, I can say that I truly believe in the mission of the program. They have had an influential part of my growth from my years as an elementary student, and as a high school student. This program gave me a healthier perspective on socializing and connecting with others. I am sure this program can continue to provide support, guidance, and C.A.K.E to the keiki who need it, while also providing high school and college students an opportunity to lead this effort."


Sally Manglicmot


"I simply asked the Lord to use me.  I look forward to giving back to children by lifting them up as I was lifted up [informally] by a mentor when in the sixth grade, and that relationship has impacted my life in multiple ways since then."


Max Fowler

Board Member

"Common Grace reaches Hawaii's students who need the most help. As a mentor for some years, it has been a blessing to see a life changed, one keiki at a time!"

Joe Passantino

Board Member

“I am motivated to serve through Common Grace / Malama Mentors because they are passionate about serving students in the community. Our goal is to change the trajectory of students' lives and to help them on their path to be contributing members of society. The earlier we can intervene the better our chances are to help create success in their lives. "

Brady Giusta

Board Member

"I believe in the mission.  Lonely kids need friends."

Board of Directors Emeritus

Ron Arnold

John Nelson

Ray Sugai

Tom Stirling

Susanne Millard

Jane Toyama

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