Oahu man overcomes alcoholism, teaches himself to read and write

Local News

An Oahu man had a life or death decision. He chose life. Thanks in part to the YMCA, his future is now looking bright.

Fredrick Amina of Nanakuli strives to live a healthy and meaningful life. He regularly works out at the YMCA in Waipahu, and he is a motivational speaker.

“If you want to do great things, you got to get out of your comfort zone,” Amina said.

However, for Amina, getting to where he is at now in life was no easy feat.

“Growing up, I was illiterate. Growing up, I became addicted to alcohol at an early age,” he explained.

His addiction to alcohol followed him into his adult years. Amina said it nearly killed him.

“Five years ago, I almost died of pancreatitis, and as I looked out the window at Queen’s West, I saw my kids leaving,” Amina said about the moment his life changed.

“As I looked at them, they looked so sad, and that’s when I heard a little voice in my heart that said, ‘What do I choose? Life or death?’ and I never heard that before, and that’s when I said, ‘I choose life,'” Amina continued.

Amina’s doctor said he needed to start exercising more to save his life.

So he stumbled into the YMCA knowing he could not afford a membership.

“I came in and I was like, ‘I know I don’t have the money to come,’ but I should just ask,” he said.

His courage to ask changed his life. The YMCA connected him to its financial assistance program.

“He told me about the financial assistance program and eventually that’s what helped me get into the Y,” Amina explained.

The Y quickly became so much more than a place to workout.

“I met a lot of great people here that just keep encouraging me like, ‘Fred, come on! You can do this!'” Amina stated.

Through the connections he met at the YMCA, Amina started a new career, landing acting gigs in shows like Hawaii Five-0.

“From a guy who could barely read and write and spell, but the Y helped open those doors,” Amina said.

The encouragement from those at the YMCA gave him the determination to learn how to read and write, which was something he was too scared to ask for help with as a kid.

“I was shame to tell my teacher,” Amina explained about why he didn’t learn to read or write in school. “All the kids would be laughing around me.”

Despite his setbacks, Amina taught himself how to read and write. Even though he’s still working on his writing, he wrote a book.

“As I was writing the book, I’d be using my Samsung phone for the spell check,” he said about how he was able to publish a book.

Amina’s message to others is simple.

“Just keep pushing,” he said. “Never give up. Never give up.”

The YMCA recently launched its annual campaign to raise $1 million. The money raised will go towards programs that help others like Amina.

For more information on how you can help, click here.

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