30 Volunteer Ideas in Hawaii

Editor’s Note: To see an updated list, please click here


‘Tis the season to give. Why not give your time and volunteer at one of Hawaii’s many nonprofits? For each cause in the state, there’s a local nonprofit striving to make a difference in the community. You’re bound to find something that suits your interest and fits your schedule, whether it’s helping low-income children, cleaning up a beach or assisting in an opera theater’s upcoming production.


Helping Hands

These social service nonprofits need your help in teaching children to read, delivering meals to senior citizens and assisting patients during their hospital stays.

Photo: Courtesy Lanakila Meals on Wheels

Lanakila Meals on Wheels

Part of social services nonprofit Lanakila Pacific, the organization’s meals on wheels program provides 4,000 hot and prepared meals every week to senior citizens all across Oahu. A registered dietician oversees the program’s daily menu, and although there is currently a waiting list for Meals on Wheels, no one is turned away.


How to Help: “The biggest need is for volunteer delivery drivers on the weekdays and on Sundays,” says volunteer coordinator Randi Jeung. Driver volunteers pick up meals at the organization’s satellite sites and deliver them to seniors. Drivers can request routes—the average route has 10 stops—and delivery times that work with their schedule and are reimbursed for gas mileage. Meal packaging volunteers are also needed at Lanakila’s main location in Liliha.


Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers must go through a background check and attend a 1-½ hour volunteer orientation.


How to Give: Financial donations go toward providing frozen and hot meals to Oahu’s seniors at no cost. With the troubled economy, Jeung said that Lanakila has seen an increase in the number of seniors needing the nonprofit’s meal services. The organization also accepts brown rice donations. Lanakila Pacific, 1809 Bachelot St., Honolulu, 96817, 531-0555, lanakilapacific.org.


Hawaii Pacific Health

This nonprofit health care system is Hawaii’s largest health care provider. The Hawaii Pacific Health umbrella includes Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Clinic and Hospital and Wilcox Health on Kauai. The hospitals serve hundreds of thousands of patients each year, thanks to the help of the more than 1,300 physicians and the nursing and support staff. Join more than 700 volunteers to make patients’ time in the hospital more comfortable.

How to Help: Each hospital needs volunteer ambassadors to answer questions and provide information to patients and their family and friends in the surgical waiting areas as well as the patient waiting areas. The Kapiolani Medical Center needs volunteers to help out in the patient playrooms to do crafts and activities and read and play with the children. The center also needs volunteers for the Art For Life art therapy projects for children. Pali Momi and Straub Clinic need volunteers for room-to-room services, such as assisting them with their meal trays and the book cart, which provides books and magazines to patients.

Volunteer Requirements: Hawaii Pacific Health is looking for adult volunteers with a four-to-six-month commitment, and a three-month commitment for high school students ages 16 to 18. Applicants must have current TB shots and measles, mumps, chicken pox and rubella vaccinations and will be subject to a background check.

How to Give:  In September Kapiolani Medical Center kicked off a capital campaign to renovate part of the hospital, including the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units. Donations to Pali Momi go toward its expanding Women’s Center. Straub Clinic is always in need of donations to support its medical programs, such as the orthopedic and cardiology services. Hawaii Pacific Health Corporate, 55 Merchant St., Honolulu, 535-7401, www.hawaiipacifichealth.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond


NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



Photo: Courtesy Legal Aid Society of Hawaii

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii

This public interest, nonprofit law firm provides legal advocacy, outreach and education to low-income families throughout the state. The society focuses on the areas of family law, consumer law, fair housing, health care, tax issues and state benefits and has 10 offices statewide. Attorneys and paralegals respond to legal inquiries from 20,000 residents annually, providing counsel or full representation to 9,500 of those individuals.

How to Help: The Honolulu office needs administration volunteers to help out with clerical work and data reporting, as well as legal volunteers to assist paralegals and attorneys with case work, including organizing client files and making calls. The society also needs volunteers for its Fair Housing Enforcement Program to investigate discriminatory housing practices. Volunteers gather data, and receive a stipend and gas mileage reimbursement.

Volunteer Requirements: Fair Housing volunteers must be at least 18 years old and cannot be employed in the real estate industry or have family members who are. Volunteers go through a background check and must complete a three-hour training session.

How to Give: Donations help legal aid recipients: $50 helps a disabled person apply for public benefits; $75 helps an elderly person prepare an advanced health care directive or will; $100 helps a person file for bankruptcy on their own; $250 helps prevent wrongful eviction of a family from their home; $500 helps a domestic violence victim obtain a restraining order against their abuser.  Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, 96813. 536-4302, legalaidhawaii.org.


Hawaii Literacy Inc.

Hawaii Literacy staff members teach children and adults to read and write through its family and adult literacy program, tutoring services and family libraries. The organization serves 2,100 people each year, says executive director Suzanne Skjold.

How to Help: Volunteers are needed once a week for two hours to assist with the nonprofit’s bookmobile that visits nine locations along the Waianae coast lending books to families. Volunteers can also go through a 16-hour training to become a one-on-one literacy tutor, or help children read, write and do homework after school at the family literacy library at Mayor Wright Homes, and, in January, at Kuhio Park Terrace, the state’s two largest public housing complexes.

Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers must have a background check and need to have a high-school diploma.

How to Give: The literacy nonprofit needs funding to rebuild its library at the newly renovated Kuhio Park Terrace. Money will help buy books, book bins, shelving and other materials. Hawaii Literacy Inc., 200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Suite 320, Honolulu, HI 96817, hawaiiliteracy.org.


Waikiki Health Center

The Waikiki Health Center is a federally qualified community center that provides various medical and social services. “We help the homeless, the noninsured, the underinsured and everyone else,” says Adrianna O’Donnell, the Waikiki Health Center marketing and development officer.

photo: courtesy waikiki health center

How to Help: The health center needs volunteers for its Friendly Neighbors program. Volunteers assist senior citizens in the Waikiki area, including taking them to doctor’s appointments, picking up prescriptions or just visiting with them in their homes. The health center recently took over managing the Next Step homeless shelter in Kakaako and needs volunteers to help provide services to its clients, many of whom are families.

Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers must have a background check.

How to Give: O’Donnell says the health center is always in need of financial contributions, which allows it to provide health services for keiki to seniors. Waikiki Health Center, 277 Ohua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815, waikikihc.org.


Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond


NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link


Honolulu Habitat for Humanity

This nonprofit helps to eliminate poverty and homelessness by building low-income families simple and affordable places to live. Families pay low, no-interest monthly mortgage payments toward the full ownership of their homes, and must be willing to work hard to build not only their own home, but also for homes for their neighbors.

How to Help: Volunteers are needed to build homes, help out at special events with tasks like gift-wrapping, work in the organization’s offices, or join one of Habitat for Humanity’s committees. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old in order to help on the work site. Houses are built on Saturdays, from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How to Give: Donations go directly towards constructing low-income homes. A simple four-bedroom home takes between six to eight months and $130,000 to build. Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, 1136 Union Plaza, Suite. 510, Honolulu, HI 96813, 538-7070, honoluluhabitat.org.


photo: affordable housing and homeless alliance

Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance

This local organization works to place the homeless in housing with the proper skills to stay there. It currently teaches workshop classes, provides donations to the needy and aids potential renters in entering into contracts. In the future, it plans on launching the “My Hale” program, which will help subsidize housing for up to one year and provide a case manager to new renters.

How to Help: AHHA is looking for volunteers to teach workshop classes, such as resume writing, women’s empowerment, financial planning and how to be a good renter. They also need administrative support in their offices. Volunteers willing to commit for six months to one year can work as client advocates to help the needy find housing or resources.

How to Give: The organization accepts monetary donations, which go towards staff and volunteer salaries, or towards resources the clients may need, like ID cards if they have lost their identification. Donations of clothing, food and hygiene items are also accepted.  AHHA, 46-217 Kahuhipa St., Suite 3, Kaneohe, HI 96744-3901, 845-4565, hawaiihomeless.org.



Hawaii P.A.R.E.N.T.S. (Providing Awareness Referrals Education Nurturing Therapy Support) works to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect by providing services to at-risk families and advocating child protection in public policy. The organization teaches educational classes and treats abuse victims.

photo: courtesy P.A.R.E.N.T.S.

How to Help: P.A.R.E.N.T.S. is looking for volunteers to help with fundraising projects, such as next March’s kickball tournament. Helping hands are needed to set up, take down, referee and sell food and beverages. The organization also accepts long-term volunteers to help in the office or serve as board members.

How to Give: Donations go directly towards helping to prevent child abuse and neglect. Funds are used to teach parenting education classes in the community and circulate flyers, as well as cover treatment costs. PARENTS Inc., 45-955 Kamehameha Hwy, Ste. 403, Kaneohe, 235-0255, hawaiiparents.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



Family Promise of Hawaii

This organization helps motivated families with children settle into homes. Families are provided assistance in escaping homelessness and given household items they might need once they have a place to live, such as beds, kitchenware and bathroom items.

How to Help: Family Promise of Hawaii is open 365 days a year, so on-call volunteers are needed to help out with office tasks. Volunteers should be good with people and enjoy spending time around children.

How to Give: Donations to the organization go towards purchasing necessities for living, like diapers, hygiene items and furniture, as well as the organization’s overhead. Household items can also be donated directly. Family Promise of Hawaii, 69 N. Kainalu Dr., Kailua, HI 96734, 261-7478, familypromisehawaii.org.


photo: courtesy alzheimer's associated aloha chapter

Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter

This organization provides support for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, through support groups and educational workshops. They also create awareness about the disease, advocate public policy and conduct research aimed to reduce the risk of dementia and eliminate Alzheimer’s.

How to Help: Volunteers are wanted for special events, fundraisers, health fairs and conferences. Dependable volunteers with computer experience are needed in the office, and those comfortable with public speaking may opt to give public presentations for the organization. Support group facilitators are also needed to help caregivers or family members cope with the effects of the disease.

How to Give: About 80 percent of all donations stay in the Aloha Chapter, funding support groups, workshops, events and the printing of brochures. The remainder is directed to the national Alzheimer’s Association, to conduct research on disease prevention and treatment. Alzheimer’s Association, Aloha Chapter, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite. 2610, Honolulu, HI 96814, 591-2271, alz.org/hawaii.


Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii

The coalition works to educate the people of Hawaii about the risks of tobacco and reduce usage through policy and advocacy. 

How to Help: Volunteers are needed to assist with educational activities and help with event preparation and execution. General office assistance is also wanted, including help with large mailings.

How to Give: Donations are used to support the coalition’s educational programs and help the group meet their mission of reducing the harm of tobacco use in Hawaii. Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, 302 Ward Ave., Suite 212, Honolulu, HI 96814, 591-6508, tobaccofreehawaii.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link


Cultural Endeavors

Whether you love the arts, culture or fashion, get involved with these nonprofits that work to better the local community.

photo: courtesy HISAM

Hawaii State Art Museum

This non-profit museum is free to the public. It perpetuates of culture and the arts through various programs, including Second Saturday, a family oriented crafts day and Art Lunch artist lectures.

How to Help: Volunteers are needed to work at the reception desk, as well as help out at events like Third Friday and Second Saturday. Tasks range from assisting with craft projects to escorting children or working as a tour guide. The museum can find a spot for volunteers of all ages.

How to Give: Although the museum is state-funded, additional donations are necessary to run the many programs that the museum offers. Donations go directly towards keeping these programs free. Hawaii State Art Museum, 250 S. Hotel, St., second floor, Honolulu, HI 96813, 536-0300, hawaii.gov/sfca.


Interisland Terminal

Supporting creative producers, such as artists, filmmakers, designers, architects, who promote innovation through creativity, is the mission of Interisland Terminal. They present programs year-round in contemporary art, design and film and most recently promote community through its R&D site—a bookstore and café meant to engage its users with each other.

How to Help: Volunteers are welcome to help staff its R&D bookshop and café in Kakaako. Or ask to help with setting up equipment, and performing small maintenance and improvements.

How to Give: $200 pays for a month’s utilities and wi-fi at R&D, or honorariums for speakers for a program. $500 would help purchase a small printer, scanner or copier that can be shared. $1,000 would allow Interisland Terminal to fund a speaker from outside Hawaii, help pay for framing artwork or fund a summer intern. Interisland Terminal, 691 Auahi St., Honolulu, HI 96813, interislandterminal.org.


View our Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond video here.

Paepae o Heeia

This group is dedicated to restoring and preserving an 800-year-old Hawaiian fishpond, located in Heeia. The fishpond also supports cultural, educational and aquaculture programs throughout the year. At one time, Hawaii had 350 fishponds, but now the Heeia fishpond is only one of 50 still useable today.

How to Help: Participate in community workdays on second Saturdays to help remove mangrove and invasive limu and help rebuild the wall via traditional Hawaiian methods.

How to Give: The fishpond appreciates all donations from money to fishing poles, gas lanterns, kayaks and flat bottom boats. Paepae o Heeia, P.O. Box 6355, Kaneohe, HI 96744, 236-6178, paepaeoheeia.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond


NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link


Hawaii Opera Theatre

The only opera company in Hawaii needs assistance year-round to produce its season performances, and to support its numerous education and outreach programs. Programs include helping schools to produce mini-operas, and bringing students to Hawaii Opera Theatre’s performances. HOT also nurtures young artists through master classes at the Mae Z Orvis Opera Studio.

How to Help: Most volunteer opportunities are associated with its opera season, which in 2012 runs from January through the end of February. HOT needs volunteers to sing chorus, be a supernumerary (non-singing onstage performance), help with wardrobe, take notes, help with special events and other various positions.

Volunteer Requirements: Chorus volunteers must have singing expertise and pass an audition. Supernumerary volunteers must have acting ability. And, to volunteer for the wig and makeup department, volunteers must complete a series of three classes before they can volunteer.

How to Give: HOT offers many ways for you to donate to the organization’s expenses, which include orchestra, singers, artists, costumes, etc., at a price point that works for you. Donate what you can, become a member or be a corporate sponsor. Hawaii Opera Theatre, 848 S. Beretania St., Suite 301, Honolulu, HI 96813, hawaiiopera.org.


Hawaii Fashion Incubator

HIFI is an all-volunteer organization sponsored by national nonprofit Fractured Atlas. It hopes to bring Hawaii’s fashion community together to interact, collaborate and move the local fashion industry forward. Recently, it has opened a space at Ward Warehouse that members may use to work on projects, host meetings and use as needed.

How to Help: Volunteers are welcome to help with setting up, breaking down and decorating at its fashion and art events. HIFI also needs assistance with model casting, putting together newsletters and website and graphic design projects.

How to Give: Become a member or sponsor (from $50 to $500), while receiving open studio time, perks and invitations to events. If you’d like to write a larger check, $500 can help stock a library with fashion and sewing books, as well as magazine subscriptions. $1,500 helps to buy furniture and shelving for the Ward Warehouse location. HIFI also accepts in-kind donations of sewing equipment, furniture and building materials. Make a donation, or contact Toby at toby@hawaiifashion.org to volunteer. hawaiifashion.org.


Child-Sized Care

Volunteer at a museum, become a lifelong mentor and help with kids with their homework at these keiki-specific organizations.

photo: courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu

This nationwide agency places children in a one-on-one relationship with an adult mentor in hopes of creating lifelong friendships that will empower the youth to take on new adventures, develop resiliency and discover their potential. The average match length is just under two years, but many mentors keep in contact with their “littles” for a lifetime. Bigs Honolulu also runs more than 20 after-school programs at elementary and middle schools on Oahu and Kauai.

How to Help: The agency’s community-based program needs mentors, 18 and older, to be paired with a child in need. Mentors commit to take their little brother or sister on two to four outings a month for two to four hours each, for one year. Outings can include beach days, sports events or eating together; creativity is encouraged, and volunteers take on the cost of the outing.

How to Give: Money donated to the Honolulu chapter stays in Hawaii and goes towards supporting the child-mentor matches and case-management. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu, 418 Kuwili St., Suite 106, Honolulu, HI 96817. Jeff Mullis, community-based program coordinator, 695-4554, bigshonolulu.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



photo: courtesy after-school all-stars

After-School All-Stars

After-School All-Stars provides a safe and productive environment for middle-school at-risk youth. Free after-school programs at its seven Oahu sites include sports, dance and art classes. Nearly 2,000 students are currently registered with the organization.

How to Help: Volunteers are needed to assist teachers in a variety of courses, from hip-hop dance to cooking class. Volunteers are asked to help out three hours after school, for two or more days a week.

How to Give: Money donated supports the program’s initiatives, such as preparing youth for high school, career exploration and service learning. After-School All-Stars Hawaii, 4747 Kilauea Ave. #207, Honolulu, HI, 734-1314, kintera.org/site/c.nuIXL7MNJtE/b.5332073/k.BDCE/Home.htm


photo: courtesy seagull schools

Seagull Schools

This group of early education schools offers high-quality learning and childcare programs at affordable rates at various locations across Oahu. The non-profit offers classes for children ages 2 through 5, including an Adult Day Center that integrates young children and senior citizens in a safe environment.

How to Help: Seagull Schools is looking for classroom volunteers at least 16 years old, who are available between the times of 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

How to Give: Donations go towards supporting any one of the seven Seagull Schools programs, including purchasing school supplies and paying staff. Seagull Schools, 1300 Kailua Rd., Kailua, HI 96734, 261-8534, seagullschools.com.


photo: hawaii children's discovery center

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center

The Discovery Center provides an interactive learning environment for children to inspire creativity and discovery. The center’s exhibitions, such as “Your Rainbow World,” offer an introduction to various cultures from around the globe and are designed to promote self-esteem and offer growing minds a window to the world beyond their immediate surroundings.

How to Help: The center needs responsible gallery volunteers who enjoy working with children. Volunteers are asked to commit for a minimum of six months, and training is provided. Youth ages 15 to 17, college interns and community organizations are also welcome to apply.

How to Give: Donations pay for the maintenance of exhibits and educational programs, as well as books for the library and art supplies. Contributions also subsidize school field trips—more than 10,000 school children visit the center each year, and a $100 donation lowers the admission cost dramatically for a class of 20 children. Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, 111 Ohe St., Honolulu, HI 96813, 524-5437, discoverycenterhawaii.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



Outdoor Undertakings

Help out with the environmental nonprofits and you can plant Hawaiian flora, fight against plastic bag use and keep Oahu’s beaches clean.

photo: courtesy earthtrust


EarthTrust, a nonprofit that began in Kailua in 1976, has survived on the idea that local people can solve impossible international issues with good research, intelligent planning and significant audacity. The organization deals with everything from whale protection to cognitive dolphin research, and mobilizes anywhere in the world as needed for each project.

How to Help: Volunteer needs fluctuate per project, but the organization is currently researching species and fishery depletion. The small EarthTrust staff also needs assistance with fundraising, web design and social media.

How to Give: Donations can go towards an existing project or even fund a whole new initiative. Contact EarthTrust for more information. 1118 Maunawili Rd., Kailua, HI 96734, earthtrust.org.


Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation began in California more than 25 years ago. Today, it’s an international nonprofit, with local chapters, such as the Oahu one, which strive for better water quality, beach and reef protection and the ecological maintenance of the Island’s coastal areas.

How to Help: Currently, the foundation is looking for volunteers to help with a number of projects including the Turtle Bay expansion, Laie Gunstock Ranch development, Single-Use Plastic Reduction Legislation, monthly beach cleanups and others.

How to Give: Donations to the Oahu Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation go directly to funding its various campaigns, including the ones listed above. Tim Tybuszewski. 230-3820. Donate online: surfrider.org/oahu.


Outdoor Circle

The Outdoor Circle was founded in Hawaii in 1912, and next year marks its centennial year. Best known for fighting for Hawaii’s billboard ban in 1926, the Outdoor Circle continues to protect beautiful views, plant trees and promote overall beautification of the Islands.

How to Help: The organization needs assistance with administrative duties, but will have more opportunities as the centennial approaches. Check with Taylor Boyd, director of development, for more information.

How to Give: A number of initiatives, including annual tree planting on Arbor Day and educating keiki about the importance of trees, can be directly funded through donations. The Outdoor Circle, 1314 S. King St., Suite 306, Honolulu, HI 96814, 593-0300, outdoorcircle.org.


KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

The alliance is an organization that strives to protect all things that are Hawaii: the land, the ocean, the culture and the way of life. They aim to engage the local community on issues that exist throughout Hawaii, such as fighting attempts to industrialize 96 acres of farmland in Lualualei Valley on leeward Oahu.

How to Help: KAHEA needs volunteers to help in the office for event planning, collecting petitions and Hawaiian language translation. There is also a need for writers, photographers and web specialists.

How to Give: Donations range from $35 to print 700 pieces of public testimony or petition pages, through $18,000 for one community organizer. Kahea, 1149 Bethel St., Suite 415, Honolulu, HI 96813, 524-8220. kahea.org.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



photo: matt bickel – keep the hawaiian islands beautiful

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

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.


Waikiki Aquarium

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.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link



photo: courtesy the nature conservancy

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is an international organization, with an affiliate in Hawaii that strives to conserve everything from the land to the ocean. It has protected nearly 200,000 acres throughout the state. On Oahu, its Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership gives refuge to 133 billion gallons of fresh water per year.

How to Help: Volunteering for the Nature Conservancy is often organized through its many partner organizations, including such activities as removing weeds from native forest or removing alien algae.

How to Give: The Nature Conservancy allows donations to area-specific affiliates around the world to further the cause in those individual areas. They also release a quarterly magazine to its members. Donate online: support.nature.org/Hawaii. 923 Nuuanu Ave., 537-4508. Visit  nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/hawaii/ for more information


National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The foundation protects both humpback whales and their habitat around the main Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii is one of the most important sanctuaries in the world for these endangered mammals. This private sector, non-profit organization operates a yearly program that allows volunteers to monitor whale numbers and behavioral patterns on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

How to Help: NMSF is currently looking for volunteers for the 2012 Sanctuary Ocean Count during the peak season for humpback whales in Hawaiian waters, which will be on the last Saturday of January, February and March.

How to Give: Money donated to the Kohola Campaign helps supplement the costs for education, rescue and research. NMSF Donations c/o HIHWNMS, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, # 301, Honolulu, HI 96825, 397-2651, hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

Related links:
Doing Good: Our Guide to Giving Back
Service Learning at Heeia Fishpond

NOTE: To see an updated list please click on this link