Our History

Prior to 1962, no program existed on the Kona Coast to provide care, training, or even concern for children and adults with significant disabilities. Institutionalization was routinely recommended and it was not uncommon for those who remained at home to be kept hidden and not discussed outside the family.

In 1962, a group of local residents, led by Dr. Kid “Doc” McCoy held a meeting to focus on the need for a locally operated program to serve the disabled. The Kona Chapter of the Big Island Association to Help Retarded Citizens (BIAHRC) was formed with Doc McCoy as its President. Assisting Doc, was Mark Sutherland. Four months later, the first classes were held at Christ Church’s Wallace Hall. A rehabilitation workshop and a sheltered workshop were added in 1965.

In 1966, the Kona Chapter of BIAHRC formally adopted the name of Kona Krafts for its workshop and management board. Yash Deguchi was hired as its Executive Director, a position he held for over 20 years. The Kona Center for Retarded Children moved to the upstairs room of the old Kona Fire Station, and Kona Krafts established itself on the ground floor.

Ground was broken for our present facility in 1969 and was completed in 1970. In November 1984, our Group Home in Captain Cook was blessed and dedicated. In 2005, we added another dba: The Arc of Kona.

The Arc of Kona has grown and changed over the years, but our main goal for the future is to accelerate the shift in emphasis from a sheltered workshop to a competitive employment center. We strive to educate and support families in their efforts to advocate for the integration of their children or siblings into the mainstream of our society.

Today, the Arc of Kona is an accredited rehabilitation facility providing assurance of the highest quality care.


The Arc of Kona * P O Box 127 * Kealakekua, Hawaii 96750
Phone (808) 323-2626 * Fax (808) 323-9444 * TDD (808) 323-2889
Copyright The Arc of Kona © 2016. All rights reserved.