My blog took a break from Ireland this week to celebrate Malama Palama’s 4th annual Gala, which this year honored the Rath family and the family of Bill and Harriett Gee.
As you may know, Palama Settlement was founded by my grandparents, James Arthur and Ragna Helsher Rath. They were recruited as social workers in 1905 to come to Honolulu to help the island’s most needy neighborhood, Palama. They were true visionaries and their legacy lives on, as Palama Settlement celebrates its 120th year.
My parents spent their lives volunteering for Palama. My father, Bobby Rath, tirelessly raised money and served on the board and coached swimming and had a Boys’ Club at the Settlement. My mother, Jacky Rath, dedicated nearly 15 years to creating an amazing historical archive. In the 1940’s and ’50s, she also had a girls’ club called the “Flashy Froshes.” If you’re a Rath, or married to a Rath, ya gotta get involved.
Lots of family members came to Malama Palama, with my nephew, Rob Rath, flying in from Hong Kong and my nieces Heather Rath from South Carolina and Tiare Rath from California. My sister-in-law, Ginger Waters, who has always volunteered for Malama Palama, came from Whidbey Island, Washington, to help out. And of course, my lovely sister, Roberta Cullen, took time out from travel to volunteer and enjoy the family honors.
I have served on the Palama board for many years and now am an emeritus board member. I also serve on the Scholarship, Fund Development, Malama Palama and Marketing committees. I organized Palama’s Centennial in 1996 and the Centennial of its Incorporation in 2011, and started Malama Palama as a fundraiser four years ago. My husband, Jerry Mayfield, started the watercolor classes, now sponsored by the Hawaii Watercolor Society, about four years ago. Ginger funded the supplies to get the classes started.
Palama is all in the family! If you would like to learn more about Palama Settlement, or would enjoy having a private tour of our campus and Archives, please let me know. I would love to take you around.
Here’s a video about the Raths at Palama Settlement that is well worth a few minutes of your time. Enjoy!
– Paula Rath