PLEASE NOTE: We are not currently accepting volunteers due to COVID-19. We appreciate your interest and look forward to connecting with you when our campus reopens.
Established in 1896, Palama Settlement is a non-profit, community-based social service agency serving the Kalihi and Palama neighborhoods. We offer a wide range of educational, recreational, athletic, cultural, social, health, and community building programs and services for children, youth, adults, and senior citizens.
Our mission is to partner with those who have the greatest needs in our community, empowering them to enhance their well-being through education, health and recreation.
Fall 2021 Youth Technology Programs
Sign up today!
Coding in Scratch:
Click here to fill out a registration form.
Click here to fill out a registration form.
As Palama Settlement prepares to commemorate its 125th Anniversary, City Mill and the David C. Ai Charitable Trust present a large donation to
ensure Kalihi /Palama’s history will be preserved.
(HONOLULU) City Mill’s David C. Ai Charitable Trust presented the historic Palama Settlement with a generous donation to assist with a large-scale preservation and digitization project of photos, historic newspaper articles, annual reports, neighborhood surveys, oral histories and so much more.
“When we first opened the archives, Steven Ai was among the first to visit and was impressed with all the photos and documents that had been preserved for more than 100 years,” said Paula Rath, trustee emeritus for the Palama Settlement Board of Trustees. “Since City Mill has experienced three fires during their storied history, he expressed concern for the welfare of the archives and the importance of digitizing our thousands of photos and documents. At that moment, he promised that the David C. Ai Charitable Trust would help enable our digitization.”
“We are pleased to support this wonderful project which will help preserve the extraordinary collection of history and memories in the Kalihi-Palama area,” said Steven Ai, president and CEO of City Mill. “From its start 125 years ago, Palama Settlement has chronicled the people, culture and events that has exemplified the spirit and community of this area. This project will ensure that its photo and document collections will now be preserved digitally for current and future generations to see.”
“My late mother, Jacky Rath, a retired librarian, spent more than ten years converting random boxes of photos, newspaper articles, and historical documents into an organized Finding Aid,” said Rath. “This made our cataloging and digitization possible. She would be amazed at the current digitization process, as she created the Finding Aid entirely in pencil, without the aid of a computer.”
With the generous donation, Palama Settlement was recently able to properly outfit the Palama Archives and begin the process of digitization.
Established in 1896, Palama Settlement is a nonprofit, community-based social service agency serving the Kalihi and Palama neighborhoods. Palama offers a wide range of educational, recreational, athletic, cultural, social, health, and community building programs and services for children, youth, adults, and senior citizens. Palama Settlement’s mission is to partner with those who have the greatest needs in the community, empowering them to enhance their well-being through health, education, and recreation.
Digital Arts Academy
(Class is full)
June 10 – July 15, 2021
Tuesdays and Thursdays
Jasper Wong, founder and lead director of POW! WOW!, is teaching a new afternoon digital art program this summer at Palama Settlement!
The class is free and open to high school students.
Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of computer applications and drawing experience preferred.
For more information, please call at (808) 848-2517 or email email@example.com.
When Palama Settlement announced the start of virtual coding classes for youth in June of this year, Blaze did not want to join. He had no prior experience with coding and his parents had to bargain with him to enroll in the class. Fast forward four months and Blaze is now one of the most active and enthusiastic participants, coming to each session prepared with questions and ideas to share with his peers. “At first he didn’t want to join because he didn’t know what it was,” said his mother. “I had to bargain with him to try it out and now he’s so grateful that I signed him up. He loves it!”
These virtual coding classes are an ongoing activity through Palama Settlement, taught by Anna Gustafson and Kasey Kawaguchi. The classes consist of prerecorded video lessons, which Anna films and Kasey then edits and uploads to Google Classroom so students can learn at their own pace. The youth then comes together twice a week for virtual “office hours” with Anna and Kasey, which began as a check in and chance for them to ask questions but quickly became a more collaborative, social space for students to help each other debug their projects and play together.
There are 18 youth registered in coding class at Palama, ranging from age 7 to 13 years. The self-paced curriculum allows Anna to juggle various learning levels, from beginner to advanced. For each level there is different curriculum, all developed by Anna. The beginner students work within Scratch, a block-based visual programming language, to make puzzle platform style games similar to Super Mario. The advanced students work in Unity, a real-time, 3D game creation software used by real world games like NASCAR Heat 5, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Wasteland 3.
Some students like to create marble-run games based around the mechanics of physics, while others prefer more combat-style scrolling games that make use of running and shooting actions. Anna challenges students to think creatively about how to use these actions within their games without making them violent. For instance, one student created a garden that is invaded by rabbits, but instead of chasing and shooting them, the player must feed them until they get very fat and then coax them out of the garden.
Palama’s coding class is unique in that the students guide their own learning experience. They watch the tutorials and develop their own games. Since the program is ongoing, they are able to tell Anna what they enjoy doing, what they’d like to learn next, and how they want to learn it so she can develop new curriculum tailored to their needs and interests. “Projects are not graded so there’s no pressure if students aren’t keeping up with the rest of the class,” explains Anna. “Participation is always voluntary, so it is up to the kids to decide whether they want to play in the space or not.” This level of autonomy has worked well for the class, with over half the students voluntarily attending check-in every single week and staying for the full hour, even asking that the time be extended by another hour.
The classes provide the students with much more than just coding lessons. The weekly check-ins are a chance for social interaction while school is remote and spending time together in person is impossible. One student, Kyle, told Anna he has not left his house – even for a walk – since March, but he doesn’t mind. He is the oldest and most advanced in the coding class but still attends each check-in and stays for the full session. As a teenager, Kyle is usually a little more reserved than the younger students but comes out of his shell when he is working with them to debug their games.
Coding has provided a fun and supportive space for all students, particularly during the transition of schools to distance learning. The students found the start of school in August to be overwhelming, with new demands and challenges and simply a lot of time in front of the computer. But the class is an activity they can choose for themselves, which offers an outlet for creativity, for fun, and for socialization.
If you would like to help support Palama’s coding program, your donation of $30 covers the cost of one two-hour class plus the week’s curriculum for one student. You can make your gift by visiting www.palamasettlement.org/donate or mailing a check to 810 N. Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96817. Please make a note with your online donation or on your check that your gift is for “Coding Classes”. Mahalo!
Palama Settlement has launched a new endeavor called the Xcel Program, to provide students with the resources they need to be successful in their distance learning. Many students are struggling to attend class and complete their work now that school has moved online, due to a number of factors which may include not having access to a computer, not having access to wifi, not having a quiet space at home to focus on the class, or not having a home environment that provides enough guidance and support. Palama is hoping to address these needs by opening up the Henry & Colene Wong Computer Center and the Cecilia Blackfield Academic Center for small groups of middle and high school students. Both spaces have all the equipment students might need for class and allow for social distancing of six feet or more.
The seven students currently participating in the Xcel Program attend McKinley and St. Theresa. They are also Pakolea Program football players with Palama. Five of the seven students do not have access to a computer and none of the students have access to wifi at home. All were recruited to participate in the program through outreach to their families after the Hawaii Department of Education made the announcement that public schools would move fully online through October 2.
The staff has been actively encouraging students to participate in class and ask questions, after it was made clear multiple students were struggling with their assignments. The students are often too embarrassed to ask questions or seek help because they see it as a sign of weakness instead of a sign of strength. It was only after the coaches sat down with the youth to talk to them about the importance of keeping up with their academics that they began to make an effort to complete make up work.
The Xcel Program will continue until schools can safely resume in person.