Imagine 10,000 people across Hawaii coming together to give back. That’s the Volunteer Week Hawaii’s goal. The event, which is organized by Kanu Hawaii, gives volunteers more than 200 opportunities to participate in activities like beach and park cleanups, loi restoration and malama aina stewardship, and supporting youth and seniors.
“We provide tools and opportunities for people to connect with each other and take action together to recover a compassionate, resilient, and thriving Hawaii,” says Breanna Rose, Kanu Hawaii’s board president. “Kanu Hawaii is a nonprofit that’s very close to my heart because it’s all about being the change you want to see in the world. We believe that change starts with an individual commitment to take action and that when a community takes action together, anything is possible.”
Next week, April 17-23, will be Volunteer Week Hawaii’s fifth year. The past two years have looked a bit different as many nonprofits pivoted to address urgent community needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, Kanu Hawaii supported frontline services and moved many volunteer opportunities online. But this year, volunteers will be able to give back in person with safety protocols in place.
“This marks an important moment to rebuild and reinvest in our community volunteer programs,” says Rose. “After two years, I think we are all eager for connection and to be able to get our hands dirty together doing work that benefits our community.”
Beyond the volunteer events, which will span the week and the islands, Kanu Hawaii will host an Earth Day oli, or chant, to welcome the sun on a new day and help bring the cultural context to the day. They’re also championing the Pledge to our Keiki, created by students across the state. Community members can sign the pledge to malama (care for) Hawaii on their website.
“Our goal is to build capacity for these important nonprofits to carry out their missions and programs, to increase volunteerism across Hawaii, and, ultimately, to foster connection with our neighbors and communities,” says Rose. “It’s about building relationships and sharing aloha with our neighbors, our communities, and the aina and places we love.”
Photos: Kanu Hawaii