HONOLULU (KHON2) — Although there are many incredible young boys and girls in our community, sadly there are many who struggle.
Warren Lilo knows that because he used to be one of them. So he’s giving back through his organization that is changing countless lives for the better.
Every Friday and Sunday, something highly improbable and almost magical happens at Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was just a bunch of kids playing ball. But many of these kids you see coming together on the court are sworn rivals off of it.
Warren Lilo, founder of Life 360 Network, said, “A lot of our kids have peer pressure. And the territorial stuff has been there for a long time sometimes my kids got to wear the clothes they got a put the rag back on just to get home to feel safe if not people going to call him out but we let them know you’re not gonna walk you this by yourself.”
Myron Phillip, a mentor at Life 360 Network said, “I grew up at KPT in the housing all I saw was violence anger selfishness and all of that growing up. Uncle Warren taught me how to change my perspective.”
Phillip is one of hundreds of children who chose to be part of the organization called the life 360 network. He is now a mentor.
Phillip said, “He taught me how to live for more than just myself. How to be a giver of my time my talents my church.”
That sense of self worth and ability to give back is what Uncle Warren strives to instill in every child who comes into his reach.
In the Life 360 Network there is no judgement, only acceptance. And an understanding that in serving others, you will find a greater purpose.
Lilo understands the challenges and fears these children face, because he’s walked in their shoes. His own life took a dramatic turn in fourth grade. He was caught stealing candy and arrested.
Lilo said, “My cousin Jimmy said you go steal or I’m gonna beat you up so I went to go steal stuff at the store. They called the police we got caught. Her husband came and arrested us and today they’re still part of my life I never forgot.”
He says the biggest turning point is when the officer, turned father figure, took him to fly model planes. He says it didn’t take long before he crashed it.
“When I crash the plane I was on my knees and he was walking toward me I was thinking to myself he’s got the gun he’s going to shoot me for breaking the plane. Get up. I said I just crash a plane he said it’s ok. We can always build another plane and that’s the principle for me now in life. You mess up it’s ok. Get up we could always build another plane,” said Lilo.
Building on his own life lessons, Lilo has become much more than a basketball coach. He’s become a life coach. Working to build up self esteem, while at the same time, breaking down barriers.
Despite his best intentions, Lilo knows he can’t turn every life around. But even if he could change one life, he says it’s all worth it.
Lilo said, “If I could hold them just long enough they could dream. I can just hold on long enough to guide you and direct you…It’s not just turning her life around here at the gym or wherever we are at, it’s about turning your life around for good.”