Booths were set up at the Aloha Center on Jan. 25 for the BYU–Hawaii Service Fair, showcasing displays of information regarding the purpose and goals of the service partners available at the event. One booth had a mini wheel-of-fortune where people could spin and win prizes such as a free day pass to Waimea Valley, T-shirts, keychains, and school supplies.
The two service partners featured during the event were Waimea Valley and the Bobby Benson Center.
Amelia Kekauoha, a freshman from Texas with an undeclared major, said she liked the opportunities offered after learning more about the service partners in the fair.
She said, “Both people gave really good information about what they do and how they do things, and if we do volunteer, to make sure that we give a part of ourselves.”
According to Killian Grawe, a freshman from Texas studying political science, serving others is essential. “We’re commanded to love our neighbor and lift the hands that hang down. If you are busy doing something else, you always have time to serve. It doesn’t matter if it’s something small or something big, you should always look for ways to help those around you.”
Waimea Valley is located on the North Shore of Oahu near Haleiwa. According to one of its pamphlets, it has a botanical garden, various cultural and historical sites such as the “Hale O Lono Heiau” and agricultural terraced walls.
The Volunteer Coordinator for Waimea Valley, Melani Spielman, said the valley has several opportunities for volunteers. Volunteers can work with maintenance and help with the gardens by weeding, planting and cleaning the surroundings.
Other opportunities for volunteers involved fewer physical activities, said Spielman.
She said, “We have our greeter positions and our docents, who are volunteers introducing the valley to visitors. The greeter hangs out at our front desk and tells people what they’ll find in the valley or helping them to the ticket booth. The docents are in the valley pointing out the highlights.”
The valley also has conservation days for the volunteers, which are held four times a month. “We’re either doing invasive species removal or [volunteers] work with our conservation team in the forest reserve area where they help us to rebuild the native forest,” shared Spielman.
Bobby Benson Center
The Bobby Benson Center is a residential program in Kahuku dedicated to serving people from ages 13-17 who have gone through substance abuse, according to its website. The center aims to help the youth of Hawaii recover from their reliance on alcohol and drugs and help them develop skills to remain substance-free and become successful in their endeavors in the future, it says.
The Bobby Benson Center has volunteer and internship programs, available for students and members of the community. Volunteers can help provide a safe environment for those in the center.
As an incentive for those who attended the fair, the campus Service Center gave away $2 vouchers attendees could use for the Farmer’s Market if they completed the questionnaires about the event.
Ei Ei Phyu, a freshman from Myanmar studying finance, said the Service Fair was for people to get to “know more about our partners and how many service projects we are doing. We have 34 partners in different locations, and all the students can go to those places and do service projects.”
Phyu, who also works for the Service Center at BYUH, shared, “Doing service is a good thing, and they will get to know more people. It’s an excellent opportunity for everyone to network. There’s no limit.”
For more information on the different service opportunities in the Bobby Benson Center, you can visit its website at bobbybenson.org.