|Hands on Maui Volunteer Expo Flyer recently spotted at the Habitat For Humanity Restore|
Years ago, when I was fresh out of college, I worked for Philadelphia Cares, now called Greater Philadelphia Cares, a nonprofit organization that promoted innovative and easily ways to volunteer. Philadelphia Cares was part of the larger Hands On Network, a group of organizations across the country and the world, which promotes volunteer opportunities on a one-time or multiple basis, without the hassle of long-term time commitments or the necessity of intensive training. We published a monthly calendar of volunteer opportunities, some as short as 1 or 2 hours so that people could dive right in, after a one-time orientation and minimal paperwork, and volunteer at places as diverse as the Food Bank, homeless shelters, schools, reading clinics, libraries, senior centers, and hospitals. We always provided supervision at each project, and it didn't require a lot of effort for the participating organizations. Volunteering without the hassle is a very beautiful concept.
For a while I thought about founding a similar nonprofit in Hawaii, but the work to create a nonprofit is tremendous and expensive, and truth be told, I didn't want it badly enough.
So, I'm really pleased to see that someone else wanted a Hands on Maui badly enough to create it. The surprise is that Hands on Maui was created under the County government. I realize I'm just biased because I worked for a very charismatic executive director who left the business world, and the entire feeling of that Philadelphia workplace reflected the driving energy of a start-up business rather than a typical grant-funded nonprofit. The structure of the Hands On Maui website is also different, since the site doesn't showcase a monthly calendar of volunteer opportunities, but instead lists each participating organization. So what? Hands on Maui is young and still developing its own style. I'm pleased to see my tax dollars going to something worthwhile.
Today (Saturday), October 29th, from 11 am to 1 pm, Hands on Maui is hosting a volunteer expo at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. It's a good start for this new organization, and Maui can use the help!