Liva’s Story


My Name is Liva Fanaika and I am 17 years old.

I was born in Los Angeles and raised in San Francisco. I have been at Hanna for 1 year and 3 months.

My life before coming to Hanna was terrible. I moved around a lot because everywhere I went there was always violence.

In 7th grade I was locked up and sentenced to 1 year in juvenile hall. I spent 6 months there and served the rest of my sentence in the Log Cabin Ranch in San Mateo.

After I finished serving my time I told myself that I needed to change immediately, but I also realized that the process of changing couldn’t happen just overnight.

As an 8th grader I couldn’t get off probation unless I graduated from middle school which I believed was going to happen. Throughout my 8th grade year I was skipping class and always getting into trouble.

Later that year I got my act together and started to take it more seriously. I barely made it but I still graduated.

Freshmen year of high school I started to slip even more. I was on a roller-coaster because I had ups and down throughout the year. One day I was doing good, the next I wasn’t.

Sophomore year was interesting. I still skipped class, and still got into trouble.

Eventually I stopped going to school. I was out of school for 2 months and finally got transferred. At the new school I started to do a little better by maintaining a 2.0 gpa and started to go to class more but I still got into trouble.

One day, after school, my dad called me into the kitchen and told me about Hanna Boys Center. He wanted me to come here—I didn’t want to. But I realized that this would be a perfect opportunity to change my life around and to get better grades.

January 2014 was when I was officially enrolled into the Hanna program. I didn’t like it at first because I didn’t know anyone. It took me 3 months to adjust—but I did it.

Ever since I came to Hanna I have improved on becoming more responsible and more reliable.

After the 1st semester here at Hanna I received a 3.14 gpa and I was so proud of myself, I didn’t see myself accomplishing this. That week my dad called, I picked up the phone and we started talking about my accomplishments here at Hanna. Then he told me, “ Liva Oku mau fiefia atu kiate koe” which in the tongan language means, “ I am very proud of you, keep up the good work.” After I got off the phone with him I had tears of joy and a smile on my face because my dad had never told me those words until that day.

Now every time he drops me off at my Hanna after a home visit he tells me, “ Tokoanga kihe ako ofa lahi atu tau toki sio,” which means “Pay attention in school, I love you and see you soon.”

When I graduate Hanna next year I want to go Santa Rosa JC and transfer to a 4-year college to major in communications so I can be a star on the radio.

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