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Hawaii's Top Employers 2013: Hawaii Families As Allies (HFAA)

Hawaii Families as Allies, as the focal point of a dynamic ‘ohana network, promotes equal partnerships between families who have children with emotional, behavioral and/or mental health challenges, providers, and policy makers by training, informing, and supporting self-advocacy and system transformation throughout all cultures within the State.

Steve Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world.” And we all know that our children are the future of our world. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why the staff of Hawaii Families as Allies (HFAA) has grown so passionate about helping Hawaii’s children and youth.

“We were founded by a couple of parents who recognized the need for an organization that provided real help to families who were trying to navigate their children through the system of care,” says executive director Linda Machado. “We are recognized in Hawaii and nationally as a voice on behalf of families of children and youth with emotional and/or behavioral challenges.”

The non-profit organization’s 20 staff members, one of whom has been with the company for more than 19 years, have each been a parent, caregiver, foster parent or family member of a child or young adult with social, emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges.

Linda Machado, Executive Director.

“Our sense of camaraderie is strong,” Machado says. “We are constantly sharing and brainstorming ideas on how to help families.” 

Part of that help includes recognizing that sustainable assistance comes from empowerment.

“Our culture is simple: We help families help themselves,” Machado says. “We do this because we are invested in their success.”

Employees of HFAA love their jobs because they find them rewarding. They have experienced the challenges of caring for troubled youth, yet they also realize their potential.

“We have a wealth of knowledge between our staff, and people genuinely want to help,” Machado says.

She believes these traits are at the root of the organization’s strength. With staff statewide and the limited funding of a non-profit structure, it can be challenging to bring everyone together. But in some ways, this brings them even closer. For times when they do get together, they take full advantage of it.

“We always include team-building, fun, hands-on activities and make the most of our face-to-face time together as a team,” Machado says. “We also recognize top performers with small gifts and appreciation, and typically reward outstanding employees with travel to workshops, support groups or conferences held off island or out of state.”

The team enjoys such benefits as fully paid medical and dental plans as well as a generous retirement plan, but what they’ve really grown fond of is the fulfillment they get from making a difference.

“The best thing about working for HFAA is the sense of ohana,” Machado says. “We prioritize family values and a real sense of working together.”  


99-209 Moanalua Road, Suite 305
Aiea, Hawaii 96701

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