AlohaCare, one of Hawaii’s largest health insurance plans, has awarded $5,000 to Malama Family Recovery Center through its annual AlohaCare Community Conscience Award. AlohaCare provided six grants totaling $30,000 to organizations with programs focusing on the prevention and/or treatment of common health issues affecting Hawaii’s general population; projects addressing the needs of Hawaii’s elderly and disabled populations; and initiatives to improve access to preventive health care services.
Malama Family Recovery Center, dba Malama Na Makua A Keiki, Inc, provides comprehensive substance abuse services for women and children through education, prevention, treatment and referral in a safe environment. Malama is the only agency on Maui that provides gender specific substance abuse treatment services, with priority given to pregnant and parenting women. Each year, the organization serves between 50 and 60 women.
The AlohaCare grant will be used to support Baby SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) Prevention Program in Maui County, a statewide funded program that was developed in 1992 and at its peak, served approximately 600 women per year. In 2009, the program was eliminated due to budget cuts. In 2012, Malama revived the program for Maui County with funding from HMSA Foundation. The AlohaCare grant will supplement these funds, extending the program through 2013.
“Funds from this grant will directly allow BabySAFE Program staff member, Megan Morrow, to continue physically going out into the community and talking to pregnant women and new moms,” said Lisa Ponichtera, Clinical Director for Malama Family Recovery Center. “This outreach does much more than educate about the effects of substance abuse during pregnancy and treatment options available. By meeting with women face-to-face, Morrow provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who feel that they do not have anyone to turn to.”
“The BabySAFE Program allows me to ‘talk story’ with these women and build a rapport with them so that they can feel comfortable opening up to me and expressing their concerns and feelings,” added Morrow. “This truly is the first step to recovery because without these one-on-one interactions, many women in the community would not know that
The AlohaCare Community Conscience Award was established in 2002 and was originally called the AlohaCare Neighbors Grant. In 2008, the award program was renamed as a tribute to the late Reverend Frank Chong, a life-long community advocate and founding board member of AlohaCare. Up until his death on March 8, 2008, Chong served as AlohaCare’s Manager of Government and Community Relations. To date, AlohaCare has provided $270,000 in grant funding to various non-profits throughout the state.
“AlohaCare’s Community Conscience Award is designed to provide much needed funding to Hawaii’s non-profits for programs that are important to Hawaii, yet may not have the funding to support it,” said John McComas, Chief Executive Officer of AlohaCare.
In addition to Malama Family Recovery Center, other award recipients included Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance; Laie Elementary School; Hawaii Island Adult Care, Inc.; Hilo Medical Center; and Hospice of Hilo.
AlohaCare is a non-profit health plan founded in 1994 by Hawaii’s community health centers to serve some of Hawaii’s most vulnerable populations. With $200 million in annual revenue and nearly 200 employees located at offices on Oahu and the Big Island, AlohaCare is the 30th largest business in the state, providing health care coverage to nearly 75,000 members statewide. For more information on AlohaCare, go to www.AlohaCare.org.