Philanthropist, founder of Children’s Discovery Center Loretta Yajima dies at age 75

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Known for her dedication to the well being of children, the founder of the Children’s Discovery Center in Kakaako, Loretta Yajima, has died.

Yajima passed away on Nov. 8, and was known by many as a philanthropist for her tireless work with charities and various organizations.

Born and raised in Honolulu, she grew up in Manoa and later graduated from Punahou in 1964. She went on to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in education while studying at Skidmore College in New York. There, she also volunteered to work with children dealing with disabilities, and underserved communities, loved ones said.

When she moved back to Hawaii, she worked with the Head Start Program and earned a Master’s degree in early childhood education from UH.

A bountiful teaching career would soon follow for Yajima, who went on as an instructor at the University Lab School followed by a position with Hanahauoli School. Yajima even earned national recognition with the Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America award in 1973.

She would work her way up to Vice Principal and Administrative Director for Hanahauoli until her retirement in 1987.

Not long after that, she began the planning stages of the Hawaii Children’s Museum of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology — known today as the Children’s Discovery Center in Kakaako.

She assumed the role of President of the Board of Directors, and dedicated years to expanding their mission internationally.

“Although she is best known for her work at the Children’s Discovery Center, her life’s mission was to inspire peace beginning with children by building bridges between Hawaii and the world,” her obituary in the newspaper read.

Yajima earned many acclaims and recognitions for her life’s work and dedication to bettering the lives of children.

Loved ones say private services will be held, and donations can be made to the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center in her honor.

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