HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Atherton YMCA branch has been called the home-away-from-home for hundreds of young people since 1931. 

Starting in fall 2021, they will be starting a new chapter of their life as they will be relocating onto the University of Hawaii campus. 

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KHON2 met with the executive director of the Atherton YMCA branch, Cassidy Inamasu, to find out more.  What makes the Atherton YMCA unique when compared to the rest of the YMCA branches. 

“The uniqueness of Atherton is our focus,” says Inamasu.  “We really focus on the teens and college age students.  We don’t have the childcare programs, the gym, and the membership like others do.  But when we look at teens and supporting college age students, our three buckets of areas are workforce development, job skill development, service learning and access to higher education.  That’s what makes us unique.”

Where will the new UH Manoa campus branch be located?

“We will be right in the heart of the University at Manoa in the Queen Liliuokalani Center Student Services building,” says Inamasu.  “The expansion is going to be interesting because it’s going to be honing in on teens and college age students to really open the doors to the university to all of our YMCA youth.  We’ve expanded our internships and practicum sites.  This summer, we have close to 50 high school students across the islands doing internships.  So it’s really just developing that more in partnership with departments and offices on campus and getting out there to the students.”

What will be next for the original property?

“UH has plans to make this a ‘Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ where students can really work and live in this interdisciplinary approach,” says Inamasu.  “So, that will be very exciting to see as they stay in many ways true to Atherton and building friendships.”

Will there be any time of celebration as this page and chapter come to a close?

“Yes. Tomorrow, the 19th, and next Saturday, the 26th, we invite everyone to come down, take a photo in front of the YMCA,” says Inamasu. “And then when we open our offices this fall in August, we will be doing a larger celebration on campus to really solidify our presence there.”

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