Our beloved founder and namesake, Harriet “Haku” Baldwin, was fiercely dedicated to helping improve the lives of adults and children with special needs and she continues to be the inspiration behind the work we do today.
The first riding sessions for children with special needs were conducted on our grounds in Makawao by Haku herself in 1973. Almost 20 years later, the Maui Animal Aloha Center (MAAC) was founded as a non-profit organization, giving the therapeutic riding program a permanent home. The curriculum was expanded to include a variety of therapeutic programs for people of all ages. After Haku’s passing in 2003, the MAAC was renamed in her honor as the Haku Baldwin Center.
We feel Haku’s presence with us as we continue her vision of providing and promoting human and animal interaction for therapeutic benefit in all of our programs. We are so blessed to have some of Haku’s thoughts in print so they can be shared with all of you …
Many years ago, I was inspired to start a Therapeutic Riding Program when I saw how much joy being on a horse brought a young disabled acquaintance of mine. It was from his insistence, enthusiasm and desire to ride, that I saw how much an opportunity to ride horses could mean to children like him. I hoped someday to be able to share this experience with other children.
… So, I would like to thank you for all of your support in making this dream a reality and for inspiring so many to continue to dream!
(With Warmest Aloha)
Harriet (Haku) D. Baldwin – President”
Published in the MAAC Newsletter, Summer 2001