Along with helping the homeless, responsible land management and conservation are important practices to the residents of Oahu. When living on an isolated archipelago, every square mile counts! Therefore, when HYC Hawaii volunteers work the land, not only do endangered plants and animals benefit, but community members, who rely on the land, are positively impacted as well. HYC Hawaii provides conservation projects the physical labor necessary to carry out tasks (that usually take months) in just a day's work! This year, HYC Hawaii will return to the sacred Waimea Valley: the only preserved and fully-functioning valley ecosystem that remains on Oahu. In the valley, participants will do important work restoring habitats for endangered plant and animal species that are endemic, meaning they are found no where else in the world.
A new project that 2016 HYC Hawaii participants experienced was a day at Pohai Nani, a Christian Nursing Home for the elderly run by a disciple of the Oahu Church of Christ. Many of the residents at the assisted living facility are widowed and/or in need of extra help as their bodies age. Last year, participants had a blast getting to know the residents, listening to their stories, playing bingo, laughing and singing songs together. This year, volunteers will also get the chance to bring hope and encouragement to the elderly who always appreciate the infectious energy provided by young people.
Although practicing community service is the prevailing purpose of HYC Hawaii, participants will also have the chance to swim at famous beaches, snorkel with native marine life, visit tourist destinations, experience Native Hawaiian culture and enjoy breath-taking views. More importantly, participants will be able to experience Hawaii with their new HYC ohana (family) as they build spiritual, deep and lifelong relationships by serving together. But most importantly, participants will have the amazing opportunity to grow closer to God and build stronger convictions about serving others and enriching their own communities back home.