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MidWeek Staff

Bringing A Range Of Services Together

By Judy Lind, executive director, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Kukui Center

The Kukui Center was opened in 2009 by the Kukui Children’s Foundation, which aims to help abused children. It provides services for our most vulnerable children: those who are abused, in foster care, in violent families, are homeless, have disabilities or are poor. Although help is available through many social service agencies, there was an urgent need for user-friendly services available in one place.

The Kukui Center is an innovative and creative model of social services that avoids duplication, builds new partnerships and leads to new programs in a centrally located facility. The Kukui Center is unique in our three C’s: Collaboration, Cooperation and Co-location.

Nearly 5,000 people visited this year, and an additional 15,000 statewide were provided an array of services from our tenants that include Family Promise of Hawaii, Kids Hurt Too, Hawaii Foster Youth Coalition, Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii, Hale Kipa, Mediation Center of the Pacific, Joyful Heart Foundation and Hawaii Literacy.

We see the advantages of co-location on a daily basis. For example, a former foster child who recently lost her home can get help with finding housing, securing scholarships and get counseling from a range of programs – all while staying within the Kukui Center. And we know she gets there because someone is accompanying her and supporting her in her quest for help.

Responding to the tough economy for nonprofits in recent years, Kukui Center programs have pioneered ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Whether it is sharing business equipment, vans, contract services, space, students and volunteers, the areas of cooperation have grown each year. We have collaborative board and staff training, newsletters, a brochure and website, wellness days, strategic planning retreats and potlucks.

One of our most important innovations is responding to offers of help from the community. Leveraging co-location and avoiding duplication led to the creation of the Community Partners Program (CPP) which brings more than 40 schools, businesses, service clubs and individuals together to meet our growing need for community support and volunteers. We always are seeking new partners. Call Lorraine Gershun at 387-9284 to discuss your interest. To learn more, visit kukuicenter.org., or contact us at kukuichildrensfoun@hawaii.rr.com.

Hawaii charitable organizations may send requests for space in either Proof Positive or the free advertisement below to dchapman@midweek.com.

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