Cyndi Osajima was named executive director of Project Dana, a volunteer caregiving project for the frail elderly and disabled in Hawai‘i. Her appointment was effective Oct. 1. Osajima succeeds Rose Nakamura, Project Dana’s founding project administrator, who led the organization from its inception in 1989.
Osajima is no stranger to Project Dana — she worked with Nakamura for the past 25 years and served as volunteer project coordinator for 24 of those years. For the past year, she has also been Project Dana’s operations manager. Osajima has been responsible for recruiting and training the volunteers and for matching them with people in need of Project Dana’s assistance. She earned her bachelor’s in sociology from California State University, Los Angeles, and her master’s degree in public health, specializing in gerontology, from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa.
Osajima’s passion for serving the elderly and disabled and providing them with the support services that will allow them to live independently and with dignity has been a hallmark of her tenure with Project Dana. Like Project Dana’s founder, the late Shimeji Kanazawa, and Rose Nakamura, Osajima is committed to continuing the legacy of “Dana,” or “selfless giving without expectation for recognition or reward.”
“Cyndi Osajima knows Project Dana in its many dimensions — its history, its service mission, its volunteers, the recipients of its services and its partners. No one could be better suited or better prepared to follow in the footsteps of Rose Nakamura . . .” stated Martha Samson, chair of Project Dana’s advisory council and a member of the search committee. Fellow search committee member Nancy Shimamoto, who is the president of the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission, Project Dana’s administrative home, added, “Cyndi Osajima’s professional skills, coupled with her commitment to serving Hawai‘i’s kupuna (elders) with sensitivity and compassion, made her an ideal candidate for this position of great and growing importance to our community.”
Project Dana is an interfaith volunteer caregiving project that is focused on meeting the needs of Hawai‘i’s frail elderly and disabled. Project Dana’s nearly 1,000 volunteers statewide currently provide services to more than 1,200 elders and disabled clients in Hawai‘i.