FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Imua Family Services Celebrates a History of Holiday Cheer in Maui County
Thursday, December 22, 2016: The Parents Auxiliary of the National Society for Crippled Children, now known as Imua Family Services, was founded in 1947 by concerned parents and community members to help children on Maui, then the Territory of Hawaii, with Polio and Cerebral Palsy. This holiday season, as it has for nearly 70 years, Imua Family Services continued the tradition that began with a group of caring people who partnered with several generous businesses and individuals from the community to make it possible for children and their families afflicted by Polio and Cerebral Palsy to have a wonderful Christmas party. This legacy of generosity and community engagement was captured in an article in what is now The Maui News in 1952, when it described the party which, “included a short Christmas play, songs, games and the appearance of Santa Claus who had gifts for all the children.”
That tradition continued last Thursday, December 15th at the Wailuku Community Center with Imua’s Annual Keiki Holiday Party. Unlike the party in 1952 with 75 attendees, Imua’s current holiday party hosted over 600 children, families and entertainers. However, some things have not changed – Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus were there to give a toy to every girl and boy with toys donated from today’s kind-hearted merchants of Maui including, TS Restaurants (Kimo’s, Lealani’s on the Beach, Dukes Beach House and Hula Grill), The Boeing Company, Maui United Way and from community members around the island. In addition, an army of volunteers from the Boeing Company, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Kamehameha Schools and Maui High School made the event possible. Each family could have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus which was donated by Epic Entertainment. There were activities for children, craft making and entertainment from Sing with Joy students who sang holiday songs and brought cheer to everyone who attended.
“It’s amazing to know that this annual holiday party continues a legacy that parents thought was so needed and important 70 years ago. It thrives today based on the same principle of the Maui community providing for families and children,” says Executive Director, Dean Wong.
In 2017, Imua Family Services celebrates 70 years of empowering children and their families to reach their full potential. Today the agency operates the Imua Early Childhood Development Center and an Inclusion Preschool in Kahului. In addition to an office on Molokai, providing services on Lanai, a new West Maui Imua Family Center in Lahaina will open in January 2017. In April, Imua will host its 70th Anniversary Platinum Jubilee featuring Adrienne Warren at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. The gala event will mark 70 years of service that began with a small group of caring parents and community members and evolved to be one of Maui’s, and the state of Hawaii’s premiere early childhood development organizations.