Community centers carry on despite budget cuts

Federal, state, and city governments are trying to cut as much fat from their budgets as they can. That can be troubling for community centers all across the state trying to help those in need.

Cookie man Wally Amos has long been known for volunteering.

“We always could use volunteers. We run much of our center through volunteer labor. We have over 300 volunteers who volunteer on a regular basis,” Waikiki Community Center executive director Caroline Hayashi said.

On this day, Wally volunteers to read to hundreds of kids at the community center.

Waikiki is often known as the Mecca of tourism in the islands. But there is more here than fancy hotels and high-end shops.

“The people who actually live in Waikiki, the poverty rate is double what it is in Honolulu County and in the state,” Hayashi said.

And with shrinking government, funding centers like this, and the low-income clients they serve, have been hit.

“You know, hit like a lot of other preschools. Several years back the state cut funding for low-income families to be able to attend preschool,” Hayashi said.

But the community center marches on, trying to help make the community it serves a better one. They’re also looking for anyone or any business to help.

“We also could use some in kind donations, our computers are very decrepit. So if anyone out there has some decent computers that they could donate to us,” Hayashi said.

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