Service fair connects students with local organizations in need of volunteers

Written by: 
Emmalee Smith

The Service Center’s community partners met with BYU-Hawaii students on Nov. 1 at a service fair to familiarize students more with the organizations and their operations.


Abbie Greenwood, a senior from Washington studying marine biology, said the service fair had good information and “cool” volunteer opportunities to gain job experiences. “Through volunteer work, we can learn what takes place in the community and how to give back.”


Service partners consisted of five local organizations: Sacred Falls International Meditation Center, James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, Waimea Valley, Kahuku Medical Center and Blood Bank of Hawaii.


Sacred Falls International Meditation Center

Bhante Sumana, a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, said there is meditation, yoga, traditional therapy, organic farming, and medicinal gardening at this Buddhist temple located in Hauula. He said students can participate in these activities and encouraged community members to help build the farm and garden.


The plants in their garden are organic and are used to make food and tea, he added.


“We focus on the mind and body,” said Sumana. He explained because it is a non-profit organization, the workers will not get paid but still help better the community.


James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

Randi Riggs, a wildlife biologist at the refuge, said the refuge is located in Kahuku and is made up of almost 12 acres of land that is dedicated to wildlife restoration and conservation.


Volunteer opportunities at the refuge include a weekly beach clean-up, getting rid of invasive species, environmental research, helping in the plant gardens, and even a seabird translocation program from January to June.


Riggs said through their research, surveys, and maintaining of the environment, they help protect five endangered birds on the island. “We improve habitats for species and learn about species on the island.”


The seabird translocation helps protect and create a safe environment for birds called Albatrosses, which are threatened, she said. As for other services, they have public tours on Thursdays and Saturdays.


Waimea Valley

Melani Spielman, a volunteer coordinator at Waimea Valley, said service opportunities in the valley include maintaining their botanical garden, giving tours, and being a part of conservation work. She said students could volunteer whenever and as long as they want.


Waimea Valley has an event called Hānai ‘āina two to three times a month where individuals hike up to the Kalāhe’e Ridge and get rid of invasive species and plant native species, said Spielman. “It’s a really awesome day hike up the ridge where you practically rebuild the forest.”


Spielman said in order to enter Waimea Valley it normally costs an entrance fee, but if you work at the PCC or volunteer for a minimum of two hours, you can go in for free and even swim in a waterfall.


She said occasionally they also host cultural events to educate people about Hawaiian culture.


Kahuku Medical Center

Maka Kamakeeaina, the assistant to the CEO at the hospital, said they’re looking for volunteers and interns. The center offers internships related to the medical and physical therapy fields as well as a wound care program, which the center specializes in.


“We work with non-profits. We have long term, hospice or [care for life-limiting illnesses], short term, and offer services such as dietary, radiology, and ultrasound. So, even though we are small, we do offer a lot.”


She said they get about 20 emergencies a day.

Blood Bank of Hawaii

Lauren Lubick, a donor recruitment assistant, said they’re looking for volunteers to help spread the news about upcoming blood drives, and to help assist them for the event.


As for volunteers, she said the organization provides long-term care and takes patients on tours in the community and gardening. “We have two quadriplegics currently in our long-term facility. They both are artists and they both paint with their mouths.”


She said the next campus blood drive will be on Dec. 7 and 8 and encouraged students to come help out and donate.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017