Randi Song at Hooulu Aina bundling pili grass, which will be used to thatch a traditional hale on the Kalihi Valley site. Photo: Courtesy Sharlynn Paet

Pathway to Service

January, 2015

Randi Song had just begun working in the nonprofit world when she started looking for ways to get more involved as a volunteer.

“I surfed the ’Net and landed on HIHO’s Facebook page,” she says. It was just what she was looking for.

Hands in Helping Out recruits and trains volunteers, matches them with appropriate service opportunities and helps nonprofits build their capacity for volunteers, explains Ryan Leong, HIHO’s executive director.

HIHO led Song to volunteer with several nonprofits, including the Kalihi Valley Nature Preserve, also known as Hooulu Aina, an environmental program of Kokua Kalihi Valley.

At a Hooulu Aina workday on Sept. 20, Song bundled pili grass, which will be used to thatch a traditional hale on the site.

The physical labor feels great, say Song, who works in community relations at Waimanalo Health Center.

Song volunteered at her first HIHO event in May 2010. “Since then, they’ve never gotten rid of me,” she says, laughing.

That is what HIHO leadership hopes will happen. Incorporated in 2009, HIHO’s mission is “sustainable volunteerism through human connection.” Sustainability is cultivated by carefully recruiting and training volunteers, acknowledging their service, and giving them opportunities that match their interests, Leong explains.

The approach works. The organization says it has maintained an 85 percent volunteer retention rate for five years. HIHO’s 72 volunteers have contributed more than 6,000 hours of service to 17 nonprofit partners.

www.facebook.com/HIHOVolunteer/info

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