April 1, 2015
Imua Family Services’ rich 68-year history began with its founding by Margaret Cameron in 1947 when it opened its doors as the Maui Branch of the Hawaii Chapter of the National Society of Crippled Children and Adults. The agency’s original services, which were provided out of a cottage behind the old Kaunoa School in Spreckelsville, included the provision of physical therapy to children and adults with Polio. In 1973, the agency relocated to the J. Walter Cameron Center and began providing comprehensive infant development services in cooperation with the State of Hawaii Department of Health – a program which continues to this day.
Three years after moving into its new facility, Penny Elkins and agency volunteers initiated Camp Imua – a one-week-long overnight recreational camp for children with special needs. This year, Camp Imua celebrates its 39th year of operation. The year 1979 brought another milestone to the agency marking its first year as a member of the Maui United Way and a name change to The Society for Crippled Children and Adults of Maui County. The name changed again to Imua Rehab in 1991, and in 1993 Imua began providing its Newborn Hearing Screening Program in cooperation with Maui Memorial Medical Center and the Department of Health.
In 1996, Imua expanded its programming to include children over three and started providing Speech-Language Pathology evaluations & therapy to children who did not qualify for services through the Department of Education. This was the early beginnings of what would eventually become Imua’s Early Childhood Development Program which currently provides services to children from the ages of to six who fall through gaps in services. It was in 2003 that the agency updated its name to the current form – Imua Family Services – which reflects the evolution of the agency and the services it provides in the community.
In 2012, Imua Family Services’ Executive Director Dean Wong announced a partnership with Easter Seals Hawaii and embarked on its first capital campaign to renovate the old Maui Land & Pine office building on Wakea Avenue. A short two years later in 2014, Wong announced the completion of the $1.9M capital campaign and the commencement of building. This year, on Friday April 3, 2015, Wong will take the stage at Fantasia Ball, Imua’s 68th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser – the very same stage where he initially announced the project – and announce the completion of Imua Family Services’ Center for Childhood Development. Boasting 10,500 square feet, the center will introduce the community to Imua Family Services’ newest program: Imua Family Services Inclusion Preschool. This one-of-a-kind preschool will be the first private inclusion preschool in the state of Hawaii.
“The right place can give an organization a new sense of identity, a new sense of ambition. In the past, we performed our services from an office space, and though it wasn’t an ideal space for what we had grown into, we made it work for us. With the future in mind, we worked to build a space that not only had the room to house our staff, but included spaces that were specific to our work with children,” says Wong.
The Grand Opening Celebration is set for Friday, April 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM and everyone is welcome. At the blessing, Executive Director, Dean Wong will announce a new chapter in future development of Imua Family Services as they expand their services to include the island of Molokaʻi, making Imua Family Services a county-wide organization for the first time in its 68-year history.
“We have been providing services on Maui and Lanaʻi for many years and have always wished to include services on Molokaʻi. However, we were very cognizant of not trying to force our way in. We were blessed this past year to receive a very specific invitation from the island community, and we are humbled and honored to accept and embrace the Molokaʻi community.” Says Wong.
Please join us on Friday, April 17 at 10:30 am for the blessing and opening of this very special Imua Family Services Center for Childhood Development at 161 South Wakea Ave. in Kahului – next to the Easter Seals Maui campus.
Note: Please Park at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center parking lot – by the 3-story parking structure near the Oneheʻe entrance (opposite side of the structure from the bus terminal).
About Imua Family Services
Since 1947, the nonprofit agency has been providing services to Maui’s keiki with special needs, concerns and developmental delays. Imua Family Services provides comprehensive therapeutic services to children and their families with the resources they need so they can reach their full potential in life. To learn more about Imua Family Services, visit www.imuafamilyservices.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube @imuafamily. 808-244-7467.