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Opportunities for the Retarded, Inc. ORI was founded in 1980 by current President and Chief Executive Officer Susanna F. Cheung, along with a group of parents concerned for the futures of their adult sons and daughters with developmental disabilities. They envisioned a community, which would give their children a permanent, caring home, productive activity and encourage their maximum development as individuals. They also sought a method of financing which would be as free as possible from the ever-changing priorities and limited budgets of the traditional sources of support.

In April 1980, ORI was incorporated and has tenaciously held to its original dream of building a unique community of caring. ORI started with a day activity and pre-vocational training program service 30 clients in the Kahala area. By early 1982, ORI had leased a store space in Honolulu to incorporate retail training, and a 10-acre piece of land in Wahiawa to provide agricultural training.

However, the founders saw the need to continue to pursue their dream of providing a sheltered community where the developmentally disabled could live and work. After a great deal of planning and much hard work, the training facility called Helemano Plantation was completed in 1984 in Wahiawa, Central Oahu.

In May of 1984, the first increments of three semi-independent group residences were completed and housed 12 residents. The need was still great, therefore six more homes were built and completed in June 1988 to serve an additional 24 residents.

In August 1984, Helemano Plantation held dedication activities in the newly completed courtyard.

The Helemano Plantation Training Center provides several functions:

· A "real work environment" which allows participants to integrate fully with the community while at the same time receiving support from the Helemano staff, when needed.
· A source of income, which helps to support the training program.
· Semi-independence from traditional sources of funding.

In the meantime, Helemano Plantation continued to grow with an addition of a health room building in 1986. In 1988 the facility was improved to meet up-to-date needs of training and the community. 1989 marked the upgrading of the Gift Shop and development of "The Best of the best" collection of craft items made by the handicapped from around the world.

If Helemano Plantation is a success story, it is because of the clients, parents, staff, and the devoted, hard working Board of Directors. Their leader, Susanna F. Cheung, remains its driving force.


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