June 26th, 2013 12:55 PM by Scott Sakata
Real estate agent donates bed for every house he sells
By Michael Tsai - POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 25, 2013 – Honolulu Star-Advertiser
When Scott Sakata climbs into bed each night, he lays head to pillow with the peace of knowing his efforts have allowed less fortunate people do the same.
A successful Realtor, Sakata exercises his lifelong commitment to community service by donating a bed to the Weinberg Village Waimanalo transitional housing facility every time he makes a sale.
"It's just my way of giving something back," Sakata says matter-of-factly.
Sakata, 50, grew up in Kaneohe and attended Castle High School. After graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in marketing, he decided that he would enhance his career opportunities by studying Japanese.
Never one to do things halfheartedly, Sakata moved to Japan to immerse himself in the language and culture. He earned money for his formal Japanese lessons by teaching English. "It was one of the best things I ever did," he says.
Sakata returned to Hawaii three years later. His language skills did indeed lead to worthy job prospects in the visitor industry, but Sakata found the corporate experience unfulfilling. After stints at a hotel and a visitor retail establishment, he set his sights on a career in real estate.
"I believe in homeownership," he says. "I enjoy working with young couples who are buying their first home. I like helping people invest in their futures. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to help people move forward in their lives."
The same motivation spurred Sakata to begin his "Beds for the Children" program. www.BedsForTheChildren.com
Sakata researched several charitable organizations and was impressed by the work of Holomua Na Ohana, the organization that operates Weinberg Village Waimanalo and another transitional housing project, Onemalu, in Kalaeloa.
The Waimanalo facility provides housing for up to two years for families trying to get out of homelessness. Clients, most of whom work or go to school, pay a nominal fee to establish the habit of budgeting for rent. They receive counseling and education in budgeting, debt reduction, health and nutrition, and other areas that promote long-term self-sufficiency.
Most of the families that come to the facility arrive with few, if any, possessions. Many sleep on the floor.
For Sakata a gift of a bed is especially meaningful. A bed offers comfort, rest and renewal. It implies stability and permanence. It speaks of home.
People who learn of Sakata's donations are often inspired to join in. Sakata gently encourages them to look elsewhere. "There is so much need in this community," he says, "and there are tons of shelters and charities that need help."