Malia is a touchstone of compassion and grace. She has the courage not only to lead, but to lead by example which she does with love and a generosity of spirit that is unparalleled. Her work with families comes from the heart. When you are welcomed into Malia's home, you come as a friend and leave as family.
Naomi B. Knoble, M.Ed. Marriage and Family Therapist
Before Malia came into my life I was an angry girl, who trusted no one, not even myself. I had a world of hurt and pain that I could not face; I was unmotivated and on a path that was getting me nowhere. Malia changed my life and enhanced the person inside that I now reveal to all. When all I saw was darkness Malia showed me the light. She was there in time of need and still held me accountable, helping me face my fears along the way. Malia inspired me from deep within to be motivated. She showed me how to become an honest, trustworthy, and powerful woman. For all that I am today and all that I will be forever, it is and will be because Malia is in my life.
I have worked in the past with Malia Mullahey with adolescents and families in crisis. Malia is a mentor who is willing to take on the most difficult situation with a young person and create positive changes. Malia has a knack for counseling young women, who, in particular suffer with severe eating disorders, substance abuse, and bi-polar disorders. The greatest testimony is not my own, but the many, many young lives she has helped shape and transform over her 20 years of service to others. Malia is a creative soul, who is always looking for the best way to deliver. She is intuitive, honest, compassionate, and loving, so her approach is gentle yet straight forward.
Malia utilizes her own background and years of experience and acquired skills to help young people overcome past traumas that traditional therapy has failed to do. Malia is an "out of the box" thinker. She has the wisdom and insight to really see the problem, and then create scenarios for successful change. She is loved by the young lives she touches, she is unafraid of doing the work so many others only can label, diagnose, or treat with medications. If you are looking for someone who is uniquely gifted in spiritually-healing yourself or your young adult, you have found your woman.
Mount Bachelor Academy
I had been to several unsuccessful programs before I crossed paths with Malia Mullahey. Being in the presence of this energetically powerful and dynamic teacher was like taking a deep breath. She made it safe to finally let my guard down. Malia was real, compassionate and no-nonsense. She knew the skills to teach me to shed my prior skin and grow into the strong, capable woman I am today.
In the three years that I had attempted treatment for my intense cutting, drug abuse, and physiological issues, Malia was the first person who broke through my barrier. She possessed the unconditional patience, stamina, consistency, and immeasurable intelligence needed to break through my rough exterior. She helped me recognize for myself how to change and be true to my heart. She instilled in me tools in which to communicate, to be accountable, to freely love myself, and to strongly walk through my world with radiating self confidence and joy.
Malia led me to awareness of my embedded destructive patterns and helped me break free. She showed me the fulfillment that comes from working hard, pursuing purpose, and simply enjoying the pleasures of being alive. I am unable to return to the lifestyle I was living before meeting this incredible healer because of the extraordinary levels of understanding I came to about myself and others around me.
When introduced to her, our mutual friend joked, "When there's no hope, just go to Malia." That statement has rang true for many situations and for many different people. When i first met Malia, I believed that I was able to extensively benefit from working with her through the deep connection we shared. Though true, over the years of witnessing her work with others, I realize that her talent lies in the fact that she can create a true bond with everyone she meets. Her incredible intuition and perception allows her to see right to the heart of anyone who comes to her for guidance and to pinpoint exactly what that individual needs in order to grow. Her practice is immeasurable due to the fact that each person she works with is different and Malia is able to constantly adapt to them personally.
After my work with Malia, she had me read an anonymous quote which still rings true in my heart, "I have changed, I can not change back, I have come this far forever." I am now able to own my talents, diligently pursue my passions, and participate in healthy relationships. I have the confidence to stand up for justice, use my voice, and take care of myself.
Without Malia, I would not be the person I am today. However, she has always made it clear that it was I who did the work and I who formed my impermeable sense of self. Today, I am in my fourth year of college, pursuing a career in photo journalism. I surround myself with good friends, and am in a wonderful relationship. I happily discover new experiences and adventures every day. I know I would have never been able to recognize and accept them as well as I do if I had not met my constant friend and mentor, Malia Mullahey.
I met Malia for the first time as a lost 14 year old. I was a scared little girl trapped in a body of a young woman, looking for a place where I felt I belonged, where I could be OK being myself. I found that place with her, in her. Imagine the biggest heart, the purest love, and the most innocent bond between a child and a grown woman.
Like most young adults, I shut out the two people that deep down I knew would unconditionally love me, my parents. Sometimes, were so blinded by our own anger and sadness, that we lose sight of whats most important, to what brings us back to who we are: Love. With Malia, that love is endless and always unconditional.
I was asked to write something so that people could better understand what Malia does. You could call her a therapist, a guidance counselor, but those words do her no justice. Malia is a mother, a mentor, and a friend. It may sound like I hold her on a pedestal, and in many ways I might, but I know in my heart that without her, I may no longer be here. She found her way into my heart and I found my way to hers. With that love she helped me grow.
No person can fix another. You cannot take away another persons pain or mistakes; you can only influence them, teach them, you can give them the choice: live or die. Malia reminded me that there is something better, something stronger. She has lived many lives, overcoming her own obstacles, taking a piece from all her triumphs and finding a way to filter them to help our youth, our women.
Im about to turn 23 years old and still have days where Im that 14 year old girl who wandered into Malias office. I went to hug her; from the moment she put her arms around me, I allowed myself to remember that "this too shall pass". She taught me that no matter how hard, how scared, how lost I feel that if I love and let others love me I will be OK. She has taught me to have compassion and live with forgiveness, to be honest with myself and others, and that its ok to make mistakes if I use them to better yourself. Like any relationship, we have our ups and downs, but I always find my way back to her, because I know her arms are always open.
Malia, speaking for many young girls around the world, thank you for being all that you are and for all that you teach.
My daughter got to Malia Mullahey after a long, complex, painful journey through two potentially life-threatening conditions bi-polar disorder and adolescence! The pain and turmoil we all went through was indescribable. We lived through medication changes, substance abuse, hospitalizations and the terror of not knowing whether the gifted, precious daughter we adored would be able to hang on through hideous biological depressions to get to a point to want to take care of herself adequately.
Years after the onset of her illness, she is flourishing in college and practicing self-care that would be the envy of many 40 year olds. She is a shining, young adult version of the wonderful child she was. Massive credit is due to my daughters own courage, her inner resources and the prayers of many friends. But a huge amount of this wonderful shift into maturity is due to Malia Mullahey.
Malia has a tenacious love for these amazing, difficult kids she deals with. I dont know anyone else who could do what she does - the work has agonizing moments. She has a massive backlog of experience with kids with all sorts of mental illnesses and drug and alcohol issues, both at the Mount Bachelor Academy and during the years she has had girls in her home. I have spent much of my life collecting elegant degrees from snappy universities. Malia hasnt. I wondered if it was safe to send my daughter to Bend since she didnt have the academic hardware. Within a month or two, I saw that she did brilliant work that was absolutely on target. Where the MDs, PhDs and MSWs had tried and succeeded only partially, Malia waded in, gave my daughter space and feedback, freedom and structure. It took a long time. It worked beautifully.
During the time my daughter was at Malias, my phone calls with Malia were wonderful. I felt in the loop and yet buffered from the emotional chaos of living with my daughter at that point. I was clear that there was no way that I could help my daughter by trying to bring her home and over-protecting her. She needed a loving, supportive, honest place where she could make the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back-four steps-forward moves of growing up with some intense challenges. Malia provided that for her.
Malia has an innate intuition for these young adults, in addition to her experience, dogged persistence and loving realism. Most of the kids keep in touch with her for years after. I know that my beloved daughter and I will love Malia and be grateful to her for the rest of our lives.
If you have a daughter who is going through anything similar and if I can be helpful to you in your thinking through options, please ask Malia to put you in contact with me.
Parent of Former Student
I believe everything happens for a reason. People come into your life and no matter how much sorrow or joy they bring you, some may leave. In the end they were all part of the bigger picture, which is your life. I also believe that some people may have to be left behind in order for you to grow and continue on your path.
I believe in God, Mary, and the Angels who guide, protect and love us when we don't let others in. I believe they are always with me, healing me and keeping me safe, guiding me the whole way.
I believe in my family and the relationships that are growing everyday. I believe that family is not just blood but spirits that find each other along our life journey. I believe in the intimacy and true love between not only two lovers but between family members.
I believe in myself, my word and my ability to do amazing things. I believe that my power of words and my power as a woman can affect hundreds, but only if I keep my power and not let anybody bring me down, especially myself.
I call my friend Malia the kid whisperer. Where ever she goes, children, teenagers, and young adults are drawn to her. Whether in a restaurant, a grocery store, or walking down the street, I've see kids look at her with wonder and curiosity - they want to talk to her. I used to be amazed by this, but now I just expect this to happen anytime I meet Malia for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. It's beautiful to watch.
I was visiting Malia at the Ohana House when one of the girls jokingly asked her, "What are you Malia, a human lie detector?" It was great to see everyone laughing, as Malia had recently uncovered the truth about this particular young woman's recent shoplifting. Malia's laughter is infectious and she laughs often. She has an uncanny ability not just to know when a student isn't being honest, but also when they carry the burden of long-past events that they have never spoken to anyone. She compassionately leads her girls towards the truth and helps them find the self-worth at their core, and they willingly follow her, even when they don't fully believe they have anything of value to find. If a young woman has the tiniest spark of desire to change, Malia can see it, and can help the young woman fan it to an unstoppable flame.
In the eight years I have known Malia first as a coworker and now as a personal friend, I have witnessed her help young adults make changes that are nothing short of miraculous. If I had a child of my own who was struggling, Malia is the first person I would turn to for help.
Working with Malia has been the absolute best thing for my son. She is warm, kind and loving but straight forward and honest which is exactly what these kids need. I think because of it, what she says has more meaning - she is respected, loved and heard by the youth she works with. She really gets through to them!
As the parent of a child Malia works with, she is often a sounding board for me too. She really does understand because she has experienced exactly what we as parents have. It is really nice to feel someone truly does understand and cares about my mental well-being too.
Parent of Current Student
I met Malia when I enrolled at Mount Bachelor Academy in the spring of 2000.
The counselors at MBA were called 'mentors' according to the vernacular of the program. This was most true with Malia, and I could not have needed her more than the time that I was a student there.
My reasons for going to an emotional growth boarding school were as varied as they were many. Principally, and in retrospect, I feel that I've had to deal with some sort of depressive mood condition since Kindergarten and until late last year when things finally seemed to turn around.
My family life at age 16 was a battleground. My mother and I fought until the windows rattled. My sisters cried themselves to sleep. I sat alone through more darker nights than I care to remember. We had no more options, and we had no more time.
Malia scared me when I met her. She walks into a room with such a presence that conversation ceases. She is the single most powerful person I know. She is so finely in tune and has such a depth of wisdom about the emotional gauntlets we 'at-risk' kids are locked into, that she can tell who we are long before we can. She stayed by my side until I met myself, after six years.
She is no longer my counselor by title or contract, she no longer occupies any sort of authoritative position in my life. She is much less a mother than an aunt, a best friend. She trusts me and my decisions (whether she likes them or not) and she always returns my phone calls. I've made a conscious effort the last year or so to phone her when I've nothing negative to talk about. I love those calls.
I met her last summer at Laguna Beach with my best friend Danielle, also an MBA alum. As we sat on a bench watching for the green flare at the moment the sun set, we knew we'd arrived. I know how close I've come to giving up, how many times I have fallen down, and I know that when that part of my life was the most unbearable, Malia held me.
Danielle and I discovered that we were exactly who Malia always insisted we were.
No one laughs like Malia. No one hugs like Malia. No one shouts like Malia. No one cries like Malia. Her arms are the safest place for a sad kid to be.
My parents most precious investment
She's smart with a heart
That's blessed with
Testaments of life's lessons absorbed
Within her presence
My life fell together like the pieces
In the game of Tetris
Possibly the best gift
My mentor and teacher
Beautiful woman with whom
I've formed the bond of endless friendship
A different system
Of ancient of the earth type wisdom
We've shared fun times
But always from the heart with your opinions
You always respected
I'm always receptive
Lotta memories and smiles curiously collected
Real advice I receive when my
Real life gets hectic
Turn to you
When I'm turning blue and I need help
Keep me believing
Cause you embody aspects and qualities
I want to have
So Senorita Malia Mullahey
Eternal gratitude for waking me up
When I daydream
You maybe saved me
And from my heart to yours
You get my highest rating
So I love you
Overwhelming gratefulness from the depth of my being
To find the real me comes reality
Loving kindness kind of lightness
Compassion is my action in all my dealings
So now gotta go
Cause to live is to give
Spread beauty like its contagious
Just wanted write you a lil note
So you know that you're the greatest!!!
Today it's not about how many friends I have
It's not about how many people like me
It's not about the party
Honesty is my specialty
It may be hard for you to understand
I can see the look in your eyes
I hit it where it hurts
I called you on your lies
Its not cuz I'm a heartless girl
That I call you on your shit
Its cuz I care enough to risk
You hating on my soul
Its cuz I care
Cuz if I didn't
Id nod at your manipulative talk
And turn and go the other way
Its cuz you matter to me
That I tell you
You can't keep that on you today.
I don't care what you think of me today
Tomorrow that may change
But for this awesome moment
Your opinion of me
Really; It's overrated
When I came to Malia's house, I was a liar without a conscience and a thief. I was angry, mean, and kept it all in. I thought I was better than everyone else but not deserving of life on this earth. I cut myself; I drank away my sorrows and put substances in my body. To the rest of the world, I put myself off as if I had my whole life figured out. But, I didn't trust a soul.
Not so with Malia. Being with Malia brings out this feeling of trust. Her honesty and unconditional love surpasses all obstacles. On my second day in Bend, I told Malia a secret I thought I would take to my grave and have never regretted that decision. She knows everything about me and loves me anyway. Malia is super compassionate and will not stand for bullshit. She loved and trusted in me until I could begin to love and trust myself.
Living at the Ohana House has literally taught me almost everything I know. Now, it bothers me when my room is messy or when I don't take a shower. Before, I was a bum. I have a career as a hairstylist; I am clean and sober and take care of myself. I still fall back into old behaviors, however now I take a look at them and work on myself. I am more receptive to feedback. I watch Malia and learn how to live a joyful life with good morals. I have learned to give to the homeless if I have some, to be kind to others and to not always think of myself first. I have learned that apologizing doesn't hold water if I don't change the behavior and that saying 'But, I'm trying' gives myself an excuse for not working my hardest.
I can say all I have been taught but I will be writing for a while. So, most importantly, I have a found a purpose in my life and a purpose for my soul. I have found my heart. Ohana House and Malia have helped me find myself. I can undoubtedly say this is the best roller coaster ride I have ever been on that I would never wish to take back.
This place is unlike any other experience or program you will ever encounter. It helped save my life, from the bondage of self and the addiction that ruled my life. Becoming a part of the family that is the basis of here will change everything, it not only involves those who suffer but their entire family, it's a growing experience that fully envelopes the whole picture beyond what may seem like the "symptom(s)" of the underlying problem. Not only is it a personal journey for those who come into the house but it is also their families, one part of the growth that happens here is through working with the family dynamic and adjusting areas to help with problem solving and productive ways in which to gain better relationships that can not only help everyone to flourish but to also learn what proper boundaries are necessary. The program is firstly based in a family style atmosphere, where fights and growth can happen and are encouraged, you won't be able to grow unless you can first learn what true friendship and a working home style dynamic is like.
Upon moving in, I learned how to change things in my life and to better myself and to align myself with what my purpose for life on this earth to be. I came here with a serious heroin addiction, many family issues, excessive amounts of character defects and tons of experience with going through treatment centers and drug/alcohol rehab programs. The biggest issue at the time was the phenomenon of craving, the inability to understand or control my drinking and using, even the medical community does not fully understand this phenomena of craving. Things that I never thought could happen have happened, I honestly could never see myself living past the age of 21, as scary as that can sound, it was my truth.
Malia helps you learn how to live life on a higher plane of existence, to be a better human being. She helped me move through my desires to not be sober, to obtain a spiritual way of life, to repair and mend my family issues, and to grow-up and into a better person, son, and member of society. Although Malia is only a part of the recipe that goes into the Ohana House's philosophy, granted it is a large part of it. Without having the love and support of the others here, this place would not flourish as strongly as it does, the other girls who reside in the house are always present and a part of each other's lives in a way that can only be explained as being a part of a family, you never have to undertake anything alone. Being a part of the house, not only did I learn to better myself but to also help those around me and to take life as it comes our way. I have seen so much peace and happiness come from the house, I have seen extreme addicts and people who have been diagnosed with many forms of mental health ailments come into the house and be able to learn that life can continue and that through hard work and the proper support that anything is possible.
Now, with over four years sober, I have a life beyond my wildest dreams. I am on my way to graduating from college with a bachelors in biochemistry, and have a professional job as a massage therapist already. Anything is possible in life, as long as you are willing to let go of your own limitations.
I love you like family. You have been the most influential person in my recovery, and it is the values and lessons and insights you taught me that have stayed with me and shaped me into the person I am today. You helped me realize and bring back the light that I always had deep inside me somewhere, but was hidden and smothered by all those years in darkness. You taught me how to be accountable, how to apologize honestly and sincerely and what it means to be a true friend. You showed me what it is to be selfless, compassionate, and patient (by watching you).
You taught me about loss and grief and you were always there for me, emotionally, when no one else was. It was all those seeds of wisdom and insight that you planted in me that were buried somewhere deep in my brain, that I dug back up when I was ready to use and understand them. That saved my life and allowed me to live the life I have today and to be the best friend, daughter, sister and person that I can be today.
Whenever kids in your house lash out and say hurtful things to you, just know that they are still acting in their addictions/diseases and that they will thank you for it later. You are so wonderfully unique in your abilities to help troubled youth and I thank the Powers that be everyday for you and for having you in my life. You are truly my angel. I can't wait until we both live in Hawaii and we can go to the beach and go body-surfing together!! I love you so so much, with all my heart and it always makes me so happy and feel so happy and loved when you remember my exact clean time and call/text to congratulate me for whatever number of months I have in between my year anniversaries. You are amazing! Happy birthday!! All my love.
We tried therapists with impressive diplomas and recovery programs with highly credentialed staff. We tried a wilderness program, a therapeutic boarding school and a substance abuse facility. Sometimes there was progress but ultimately nothing seemed to work long-term.
Our educational consultant finally proposed Malia and Ohana House. Our only regret is that our family could have saved ourselves so much suffering if only we had found her sooner. Thanks to Malia, our daughter has not only been sober for years but has a fire in her belly to run a sober living home. Thanks to Malia, our daughter is alive!
And if you ask our daughter, she will quickly tell you that without Malia, she wouldn't have made it. And there are many other success stories like hers at Ohana.
So what is so unique about Ohana House? Instead of regular urine tests that detect drug use and scheduled therapy sessions by 9 to 5 staff, Malia conducts individual and group therapy sessions as needed, whether that is at 8am or 8pm or on at weekend. Malia knows if the young adults in her charge are straying because she lives with them 24/7.
At Ohana house, real healing takes place because Malia is not afraid to confront her kids with the ugly truth and consequences of their choices while, at the same time, providing a compelling vision of what their lives could be. At Ohana, there is a magical combination of love, mentoring and accountability.