HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since its inception in 1896 Palama Settlement has long been a safe haven for the youth of the Kalihi an Palama community.
For decades the private, non-profit, community-based social service agency has offered services both in academics and athletics to a host of local residents.
The safe confines of Palama have kept many kids off the street and in the classroom, while giving Hawaii Keiki a second chance at success.
14-year old basketball player Brandon Gaea is just one of many examples of children who benefit from the services offered by Palama Settlement.
“Palama is a great place it helps you stay out of trouble ," said Gaea. "It gives you a better education, they help you with everything with school work and sports.”
The are many benefits both educational an athletic that come along with being a part of the Palama Settlement 'Ohana, but the best part may be the price.
It is completely free for youth to participate in Palama programs through donors and private foundations.
Duval Dutro began working at Palama in 1968 as a game room attendant and now serves as the programs Support Services Director.
The 67-year-old has seen thousands of kids come and go from some of Kalihi’s toughest neighborhoods and has seen personally first hand the impact that Palama has had on kids lives.
“Palama is very special very unique," said Dutro. “When we first started the programs we saw the importance of education, helping kids connect to better schools is what is was about, athletics was the reward for the work in the classroom.”
Many of the kids who have come through Palama’s programs have gone on to achieve their professional dreams including former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Fuamatu Ma’afala and former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Tysan Alualu.
No matter what endeavors kids who leave Palama choose to undertake Dutro wants kids to always remember they’ll have a home.
“Palama will always be here,” said Dutro. “It will always.”
For more information on Palama Settlement or ways you can help this non profit click here.