by Daniel de Castro –
After 23 years of dedicated and distinguished service, Claire Woods has retired as executive director of the Family Treatment Services of The Salvation Army in Hawaii.
During a recent gathering honoring her retirement, she was surrounded with love by her loyal staff, professional colleagues and community leaders, family and friends, and most of all, by many women whose lives were changed because of her devotion and commitment to keeping families together.
Claire’s career with The Salvation Army started in 1982 at the Residential Treatment Services for Children and Youth (RTSCY) as academic supervisor at Kula Kokua, a day treatment program for abused and neglected young children. In 1986, she became the unit supervisor. She was later promoted to program services director for a group of programs on the Manoa campus. Following the closing of the RTSCY, The Salvation Army’s programs for women and children were reorganized and Claire became the director of programs for Women and Children in 1991.
In 1993, The Salvation Army Family Treatment Services (FTS) emerged from these programs and Claire was appointed executive director.
Under her leadership, the programs became nationally accredited. The FTS budget grew from $2.6 million annually to $4.6 million. Programs grew in keeping with community needs, finding new and creative ways to serve.
Claire has written many grants and proposals that have helped to bring The Salvation Army in the forefront of treatment programs. She has been a tireless advocate for women and families and young children, serving on a wide range of state task forces, testifying at the legislature, and chairing the Substance Abuse Providers’ Coalition. She has been a moving force in Hawai‘i in improving services for the most vulnerable women, children and families. Because of her love and dedication, The Salvation Army Family Treatment Services is one of the best facilities of its kind and has brought about positive change in the lives of many families.
“Among the many things I have appreciated about Claire is that her investment in Salvation Army services extended beyond Hawai‘i. She was a regular presenter and leader at both territorial and national conferences, and could be counted on to be willing, enthusiastic and effective,” says Gordon Bingham, territorial Social Services secretary.
At Claire’s retirement gathering, Major Dave Hudson, divisional commander, was touched and impressed by the clear and perceptible demonstration of people’s gratitude for her contribution in changing people’s lives. “It’s evident that Claire has been instrumental in rebuilding hundreds of lives, and for that, her legacy will continue to inspire us all in our work with The Salvation Army,” says Major Hudson. “She will be missed.”