Hands In For Volunteering
Wednesday - March 30, 2011 Share
By Melissa Kim, Volunteer
Hands In Helping Out (HIHO)
Volunteering is an instance when I can offer myself unconditionally to the community using my own personal strengths. It was important for me to find an organization that felt the same way as I did. As it turned out, Hands In Helping Out (HIHO) found me instead.
I was planting trees in Kalihi Valley under the Ho’oulu ‘Aina Program. There I met Cheri Kishimoto, Shar Leong and Ryan Leong, three of HIHO’s founding members. There was an innate unity about them that I learned was held together by their shared love of volunteering.
Instead of keeping that spirit privatized, in 2009 they used that drive to create a nonprofit organization that encourages, prepares and assists individuals and groups in serving their community through volunteer opportunities that match their lifestyle, abilities and personal interests. Its 125 volunteers have collectively volunteered for more than 2,600 hours, serving a little more than 20 agencies and partnering with seven others such as Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Hawaii Literacy and Lanakila Pacific.
Some might say HIHO acts as a link, connecting people to volunteer opportunities that put their abilities toward the best use for the benefit of the community. Yet I like to look at HIHO as a circle made of links, continually expanding to create sustainable volunteerism through the bonds already existing in the community.
The HIHO logo always reminds me of my first experience in Kalihi Valley. The arrow pointing down, which is inlaid in the arrow pointing up, implies that what a volunteer gets out of the experience is what she or he puts into it. I started out that morning with the intention of building a forest, and what I ended up doing was building a friendship.
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