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Spring cleaning


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POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bathrooms and carpets at Palama Settlement were scrubbed clean of decades of deeply embedded dirt in a makeover yesterday.

Team Clean Inc. president Brian Keala Benz said he brought 20 employees to help the Kalihi-Palama nonprofit because it is “;just a wonderful organization; it's a safe place for kids to be — that's powerful. And a lot of our employees live in the community.”;

“;We could all get caught up in the bad economy, the doom and gloom. But we're able- bodied, skilled professionals and can make a difference in our world. Our employees always have the spirit of giving,”; he said, adding, “;We need other businesses and people in general to step up and help out.”;

Benz said this is the company's first year-long community service project, and his employees will return to Palama every month. Paper Source Hawaii and JohnsonDiversey Inc. donated the cleaning supplies.

Cindy Price brought her young daughters, Linda and Jennifer, to help with the scrubbing.

“;I like to make people feel good,”; Cindy Price said. “;I love to help out. I want my kids to know what I do, to see if they like it or not. If they don't, I tell them they have to go school, get good grades if you don't want mommy's job. ... (But) they love it! They think it's fun.”;

Florence Ramiscal, with daughters Taylor and Marissa, “;didn't want to miss out (on volunteering). It's more than just the work, it's about the camaraderie, and the results we achieve.”;

Jan Harada, Palama Settlement executive director, peeked into a bathroom where tiles were formerly stained a dingy brown and exclaimed, “;Wow, the floor is white. It smells a lot better, too. It just feels a lot healthier.”;

Most of the work was in the main James Arthur Rath building, erected in 1920, where carpets probably hadn't been shampooed since they were installed in the '80s, Harada said. With the cleaning, they regained their original bright green color.

“;It really lightens up this room,”; Harada said. “;It's amazing, the difference!”;

The donation of labor and cleaning supplies is “;a huge value”; the organization would not have been able to afford, she said. Sometimes, Harada said, “;more charitable acts occur during bad times,”; because there are “;more opportunities for people to show how much they care for their community.”;