If anyone deserves the heart of gold award, Heather Faustin would win the title with no doubt.
Always holding a desire to give back, Heather began her dedication to servicing the community by volunteering at a young age. “It never felt like a chore, it was something I enjoyed.” As soon as she graduated from Chaminade University, the local philanthropist reached out to the Waikiki Beach Outreach Ministry to offer her volunteering services. Inspired by another person’s story of feeding the homeless with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Heather made it a priority to make 150 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every Wednesday to feed the homeless. She would travel to different parks around the island with her family and friends to deliver the sandwiches.
“My mission to myself is to do simple yet powerful things, and I want it to last a long time.”
To solidify her passion for community service, Heather created her own nonprofit organization called Difference Makers of Hawaii. “Its mission is to recognize people in the community who use their gifts and passion to give back to the community.” She shares that people have a variety of places that have opportunities to volunteer at but do not provide real connection to them. “My mission was to find people who create their own ways to give back.”
Difference Makers of Hawaii actually began right after Heather’s first dreamboarding session in November of 2015. “Tiare is someone I’ve always seen and looked up to.” A few years back, Tiare became sponsored by Pualani Hawaii for surfing and growing up, Heather competed in surf competitions and saw her in magazines. Eventually, she too became sponsored by Pualani Hawaii and the photographer introduced her to the founder of Aloha Dreamboard. The two of them kept in touch and Heather began to follow her on social media. This became fate as she entered into an Instagram contest and won a free dreamboard workshop for two.
“I took my sister and found that Aloha Dreamboard is so in line with what I do. What you want to do; your values, how do you want to live your life, and does your life remind you of your values, so I love the whole concept of it, being intentional and providing that space to think about it.”
Before her first Aloha Dreamboard encounter, Heather’s life was all over the place. She envisioned all these great ideas including the aspiration to become a therapist but also wanted to visit Bali to bring back items to sell. While she visited Bali, Heather found herself becoming involved with mission work and when she returned home, she became more involved in doing volunteer work on the island. Her heart could not decide which path to take and people would tell her to pick one: school or Bali. Realistically, Heather understood where their advice came from but her heart reminded her that everything will connect as time passes by.
And it did.
“I asked myself, how do I give back to places like Bali, and my home in Hawaii? How can I do that and survive and get paid for it? That’s where everything started to connect.”
Using her school counseling psychology degree, Heather created a private practice where she made enough money to fund her nonprofit organization.
“I want to build my nonprofit to give individuals the opportunity to come to me for resources. Whether it’s just to talk it out to make their event come true or whatever they need to make their events or service better. I want to be able to fund it, and help them, and take them away from that barrier of money, or from thinking that it’s a stupid idea. I want to be a mentor for other people.”
When she experienced her first dreamboard session, Heather felt disorganized but wanted things to connect. She wanted the same for her dreamboard and placed images of work, marriage and how she wanted to give back to the community. After the first session, she took a leap of faith and created the blog for Difference Makers of Hawaii. The organization helped connect what once felt unsettled. With this organization, Heather has the ability to use her skills as a therapist and skills of businesswoman to create Difference Makers of Hawaii and what it is meant to be.
“The dreamboard helps really put things into perspective. It wasn’t just, yeah that would be cool, it was intentional. This is what I would like, I have no idea how, but I’ll just put it up there and we’ll see.”
“If you’re in a place in your life where you feel stuck or where you feel like you have so many ideas and you just don’t know what to do with it, it’s a process that will help you lay it out on the table and you leave the workshop with the feeling of clarity.” Heather shares that this feeling of clarity could become a wake up call for anyone. You can find yourself saying, this is not the life I am living or values do not align with life and this could be a life changing moment.
“The process that Tiare leads you through, it gives you direction. You could ask yourself the same questions and you can go on a tangent. With her, you go into a space of direction and you are led through that process and she helps along the way of your direction.”
Dreams Heather has manifested since she began her dreamboard sessions with Tiare:
1. A live work unit
“My husband and I had the opportunity of applying for a live work unit. We were planning for it and it’s really expensive. I didn't know how we were going to afford it. Long story short, it was a lottery and we got an alert that they’re releasing the homes tomorrow and was at Chinaman’s hat at the time of the news. After we were done with kayaking at Chinaman’s hat, we expected a long line for the unit but decided to drive past it anyways and found that no one was in line for the unit. We were the first people in line and waited in line until the next morning where we got to choose our first choice.”
2. $25,000 worth savings that she was able to buy a closet systems with
“We had to move back into Adam’s parents’ house for a little bit to save money and at the end, I checked my savings and noticed that I had a little over $25,000 just like what I put on my dreamboard. I even put the closet systems on my dreamboard and was able to buy that for myself.”
3. A group of girl friends
“That time was a weird transition with friends. Life just happened I no longer were close with my friends, and desired girl friends that I could travel together with. There was a picture of two girls jumping off a cliff into the ocean on my dreamboard. It wasn’t until a year later when I connected with a group of girls and took a random trip to Big Island and jumped off the cliff into the ocean.”
4. Trip to Bali
“I didn’t know whether I should go back to Bali since I have already been there five times. But after my second dreamboard session, I manifested an opportunity to go back to Bali that July.”
“There were all these things that I had put on the dreamboard that I put out there and they were happening. I made an intention, this is what I want, and I was just working towards what I really wanted to manifest.”
Just this past year, Heather found the opportunity to make her organization an official domestic nonprofit in Hawaii. “Now is when everything is coming together and coming into fruition.” While she works for the Department of Education now and does counseling for special needs, Heather also plans to turn her nonprofit organization into an official 501(c) (3) organization. She wants to eventually create a private practice for counseling through Difference Makers of Hawaii, calling it Make a Difference counseling services.
“The idea with that is to connect the two. The private practice is doing therapy and bill through insurance. The mission behind that is, before you can give back and make a difference in the community, you first have to make a difference within yourself, so once you make those changes in yourself, then you can really plug into your gifts and passions to give back to the community and that is where difference makers connect with my private practice.”
Now that you know Heather’s story of using her special talents to make this world a better place, how will you use yours?
- Personal - @heatherfaustin
- Difference Makers of Hawaii - @difference.makers.hawaii