Known as the “neighborhood YMCA” the Fifita family has called Hawthorne home for over 17 years. And on Septem-ber 12, 2019, they were pleasantly surprised by over 200 family, friends and local volunteers as the HGTV Extreme Makeover Home Edition truck rolled up to their home.
Brian and Ansara Fifita have a family of seven but generously open their home to the youth of the Tongan community as a safe space for them to stay when facing challenges in their lives. The Fifita’s hand out pillows and blankets and the kids to sleep wherever they can find a space in the small home. It isn’t just their home but a home for all who need it.
That’s why their niece Kina Makalo sent in their names to HGTV’s reboot of the highly popular show that originally aired on ABC for nine seasons from 2003 to 2012.
“I’m so proud to be part of this effort along with all the Hawthorne residents who came out to help this deserving family,” said Councilmember Haidar Awad, Candidate for Mayor, “on behalf of the City of Hawthorne, I present you with the key to the city.”
The Fifita family live in an 887 square foot, 1941 home that desperately needed renovation to accommodate them and those they invite regularly into their home.
Not satisfied by just opening up their home, Brian created an open gym policy to make sure kids could get plenty of exercise in a supervised environment, creating stronger ties to their community at the same time.
The entire family serves the larger Tongan community in some way. Their three sons have all earned their Eagle Scout status through the Boys Scouts. Their four older children all served in church missions. For two years they left their lives behind and went all around the world to serve.
The Tongan Community honored and recognized Brian and Ansara with the “Parents of the Year” award. While the family has served as an anchor for their community for years, after the tragic loss of a family member three years ago, they increased their efforts to create a safe haven for Tongan youth.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition airs on Sundays in 2020 with the Fifita/Hawthorne episode coming soon. The series showcases great stories, inspired volunteers and mind-blowing home renovations for families who give back to their communities. The whole-home overhauls include interior, exterior and landscaping—all completed within seven days while the family is sent away for the week.
The new episodes are produced by Endemol Shine North America with Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre, Michael Heyerman, Brady Connell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson serving as executive producers. The company also produced the original version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for ABC.