30 Volunteer Ideas in Hawaii
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Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful
This Maui-based nonprofit is an affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful organization. It encourages the preservation of all Hawaiian Islands through litter control, beautification, waste reduction and recycling. Last year alone, KHIB removed 341,909 pounds of litter and cleaned 489 miles of Hawaii coastline. Through community support, education and individual responsibility, this all-volunteer group intends to keep Hawaii beautiful for generations to come.
How to Help: Volunteer to help plant native Hawaiian plants, work on a recycling project, or even help with administrative duties, such as working on a social media campaign.
How to Give: All donations go towards the many initiatives of KHIB, including promoting an educational curriculum for fourth and fifth grade students. Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, P.O. Box 2610, Wailuku, HI 96793. 579-9308, khib.org.
Honolulu Zoological Society
The Honolulu Zoological Society operates within the Honolulu Zoo to educate the public about conservation, biological study and environmental issues in Hawaii and beyond. With over 200 volunteers, the Honolulu Zoo Society helps with virtually all aspects of zoo operations, from animal caretaking to grounds beautification.
How to Help: Every week, the Honolulu Zoo Society hosts Walk-in Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., which allows potential volunteers to meet volunteer director Barb Thacker and to discuss your interests.
Volunteer requirements: All volunteers must be at least 16 years old, and should aim to make at least a 3-month commitment.
How to Give: Money from donations generally go to specific projects, such as the 2007 Sumatran Tiger exhibit. This larger enclosure encouraged the endangered male and female tigers to have three cubs in 2008. If you’d like to make an in-kind donation, some items on the zoo’s wish list include peanut butter, coconuts, jello, kiddie pools, laser pointers, nature CDs and binoculars. See the full list here. Honolulu Zoo Society, 151 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. 926-3191, honoluluzoo.org.
Kupu Hawaii’s purpose is to provide life skills to youth and young adults, such as team building, responsibility and job training, while learning about land conservation and caring for the environment.
Help Out: Kupu Hawaii is always looking for volunteers for its Hawaii Youth Conversation Corps, Urban Corps and Rewarding Internships for Sustainable Employment programs. They also host a few service learning projects throughout the year, with more than 100 volunteers helping to plant taro, maintain a stream and build a loi on the Windward side of Oahu.
Write a Check: This organization has generated a nearly threefold return to surrounding communities for every dollar donated. Its job training and educational programs are directly funded through donations. Kupu, 4211 Waialae Ave., Suite 1020, Honolulu, HI 96816, 735-1221, kupuhawaii.org.
Since 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium has worked hard to educate, protect and promote understanding for Pacific marine life through its aquarium exhibits and educational classes.
How to Help: The Waikiki Aquarium needs educational volunteers for both visitors and keiki grades K through 6. Volunteers provide information about Hawaii’s marine environment, including both reef systems and wildlife, and lead discovery tours. All candidates must attend an 8-day training session, make a 6-month commitment and pass a criminal background check.
How to Give: Become a member ($25 or more) and your contribution supports the aquarium’s mission, helps maintain the facilities and promotes further conservation of our oceans through rigorous education. 2777 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. 923-9741, waquarium.org.