Helping Honolulu Families Thrive

Wednesday - October 26, 2011 Share

By Jean Evans, Executive Director,
Palama Settlement

For more than a century, Palama Settlement has been in the middle of urban Honolulu, where thousands of drivers on Vineyard and H1 pass by the historic white-column building and grounds daily. In 1900, when the Honolulu Fire Department set a fire in Chinatown to quell the outbreak of bubonic plague, the blaze grew out of control, leaving more than 4,000 residents homeless. Recognizing the need to assist the many sick and homeless as well new immigrants arriving in the Islands, Palama Settlement was established. Since then, Palama has developed many innovative programs and provides a safe, nurturing environment. Annually, more than 900 children, adults and families engage in educational, athletic, recreational, physical and cultural programs, services and activities to enhance their well-being.

In these challenging economic times, we have seen significant decreases in our sources of funding from grants, foundations, Aloha United Way, contracts and donations. At the same time, we are serving more families with fewer and fewer resources because the need is so great.

Kids work with members of the Hawaii Potters’ Guild to design an ocean-themed mural. Photo by Marty Sellars

Our Lokahi Adopt A Family Program assisted a part-time maintenance worker to get back on her feet after losing both her husband and mother in the same year. Palama helped her with donations of household items, referrals, Food Pantry support, programs for her children and Palama-sponsored food bank distributions.

Palama’s many children’s activities include ceramics classes offered in partnership with the Hawaii Potters’ Guild. Community children are creating an ocean-themed ceramic mural to be hung permanently on an outside wall near the swimming pool. Neighborhood children, who don’t often get a chance to participate in art activities, love working with clay and are incredibly creative.

On Nov. 20 we are celebrating the centennial of our incorporation: Malama Palama: Festival of 100 Voices. It will be a day of free family-friendly events, entertainment and food booths. For a $5 ticket, you can enter our Malama Palama Store, which features hundreds of items at discounted retail prices.

For tickets or information, call 8483945 or visit

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