Susannah Wesley Community Center
As a private non-profit social service agency located in the heart of Kalihi, the Susannah Wesley Community Center (SWCC) has provided programs and services for youths and families, senior citizens, immigrants and the economically disadvantaged for over 100 years. The following timeline highlights key milestones in our organizational history as we have grown and changed to meet the diverse needs of our community throughout the years.
1899 A $500 appropriation from the Women’s Home Mission Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church sends Miss Holbrook, a missionary, into Waipahu to visit house to house with Japanese women on the plantation. She organizes English and sewing classes.
1903 Elizabeth J. Blois cares for unattended plantation children in a small rented cottage with a $500 appropriation from the Women’s Home Missionary Society. She names the cottage the “Susannah Wesley Home & Training School for Japanese and Korean Women & Children” in honor of the mother of John Wesley who founded the Methodist Movement.
1919 The Home moves to its present location on Kaili Street. It is renovated to accommodate 100 girls of diverse ages and ethnic backgrounds. Many old-timers in Hawaii still remember Susannah Wesley as this “home” for girls.
1956 Responding to a decreasing need for orphanages, the Home coverts to a treatment center for young children with serious emotional and behavioral problems. Difficulty with funding and finding qualified workers forces the treatment center to close in less than a year.
1957 Reorganized and refocused on community needs, SWCC starts a multi-service center with a nursery school, playground, after-school boys and girls clubs and adult English classes.
1960s An “Outreach Services” program is established to organize Head Start classes and study hall programs in public housing facilities and neighborhood schools. SWCC pioneers outreach services to new immigrants arriving from the Pacific Basin setting the groundwork for its future work with new arrivals in Hawaii. The present building is completed and dedicated. SWCC becomes incorporated on February 13, 1968 by the State of Hawaii Department of Regulatory Agencies.
1970s SWCC, in coordination with other agencies, initiates a demonstration project for the elderly. The Senior Citizens Meals Site Program still operates at SWCC today. Aloha United Way negotiates the merger of SWCC and the Pastoral Counseling Service at Kuhio Park Terrace creating Hui Kokua, an on-site agency program at Kuhio Park Terrace. SWCC initiates a collaborative effort to found the Interagency Council for Immigrant and Refugee Services, which assists immigrants throughout Oahu. The Youth Intake Center is established to provide youth and family counseling services in Kalihi-Palama. The Immigrant Service program is formally established to assist new arrivals to the state.
1980s SWCC establishes an “out-patient” treatment and educational prevention program to address the growing alcohol and substance abuse problems in the Kalihi-Palama Community. The Youth Intake Center and Immigrant Service Program establish office sites in Waipahu. SWCC implements prevention programs designed to deter youth from drug abuse, youth gangs and the juvenile justice system.
1990s The Kalihi-Palama Mental Health Center Project is established. The Kuhio Park Terrace Family Center, a collaborative effort of on-site agencies at Kuhio Park Terrace, begins operation.
1994 The Capitol Improvement Project to expand and renovate the Kalihi facility begins. The Youth Intake Center partners with Hale Kipa and KEY Project to form the Hui Malama Ohana, an outreach counseling program providing services to Honolulu, Leeward and Windward school districts.
1995 The Leeward Ohana Project, a new child and adolescent mental health program, is opened to serve Leeward children.
1997 “The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Youth Center” is opened. The Capitol Improvement Project of the Kalihi facility is completed.