There was a time when getting to really know the true essence of a destination was limited to visiting museums, guided tours, and small talk with locals in a neighborhood restaurant. That’s certainly not the case today as more and more Hawaii visitors are rolling up their sleeves, putting on their worst clothes they don’t mind getting dirty, and working alongside the locals to clean a fishpond, pull weeds at a local vegetable farm, or helping to build and maintain the loi (taro patches)…all while on vacation.
Why? Not only does it give them a sense of giving back to the communities they are visiting, it also enables them to truly engage with the local Hawaii residents in meaningful ways where values are shared, stories exchanged, and friendships made in the most authentic ways possible. Not to mention, these volunteer opportunities usually take you to “off-the-beaten-path” locations and to some of the most beautiful places around the islands. So are you ready to get your hands dirty? Great! Here’s a few resources to get started:
Preserve Hawaii – www.preservehawaii.org – provides a comprehensive listing of close to 100 volunteer opportunities across the state.
Malama Hawaii – www.malamahawaii.org – a network of more than 70 organizations, this organization posts volunteer and internship opportunities on a regular basis.
Volunteer Hawaii – www.volunteerhawaii.org – a service provided by the United Ways in Hawaii, another comprehensive database of opportunities throughout the Aloha State searchable by interest.
Hawaii Ecotourism Association – www.hawaiiecotourism.org – many of this organization’s 100 members offer opportunities for volunteering and education throughout the year.