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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Giving Back and Receiving More in Return – Hawaii Community Service


Another update from Hawaii Community Service:

Aloha fellow citizens of this beautiful world,

It’s amazing how much we can accomplish when all our strengths are bonded together. Our Hawaii trip has found that out time and again and the more time we spend together, the more we want to help each other and everyone around us.  Charity in every form is a beautiful thing. But, there’s just something about giving back and seeing your effort and work in use immediately. There’s unexplainable gratification in shaking the hands of the people who will directly benefit from your efforts.

We got to our Habitat for Humanity worksite early on Saturday and it was spitting rain (as it usually does on a typical Honolulu morning). Even with that, not a single complaint came from our amazing group. We met the homeowners, Bernie and Joe, and began working right away. Mike and Patrick jumped right in without hesitation digging a trench for copper water-piping. We soon realized the task at hand was a big one and began working in groups.  Allie, Gabby, Nature G (Grant) and Mike worked as a killer combo where the hole for the pipe began. Mei and Katja took the next quarter of the digging. Illiana, Rebecca, Caroline and Patrick took the middle and Jenna, Erica, Sophie and Marissa had the tail end of the trench. Teamwork was in full bloom in those 6 hours of work.  Ryan and Jonathan started the morning off clearing huge masses of plants for the new house expansion but came over to help with the trench when they were done.  A lot of sweat and hard work went into that digging and we know Bernie and Joe appreciated every bit of it. When lunch rolled around, 18 hungry teenagers came storming the food table. We took time to eat and reflect on the first half of the day and even got to hear Jackee play the ukulele while Gabby sang along! Joe even played his hand-made guitar forus – we always manage to get locals to join in our crazy fun!

In the second half of the day, the plumber had to put in the pipe and we had to refill the trench. Nina did so well helping the plumber, he wanted to hire her as his assistant. Unbelievable how dedicated to community work she is! We played a game called Word Assassin where each person is given someone else’s name and a word. The objective is to get that person to say the word in conversation. It was hilarious and we realized we have some crafty kids on this trip!

When it was time to go, Bernie and Joe had some very kind and inspiring words for our group. Like any wonderful people we meet, we were sure to give our best goodbyes and of course, include them in our “move”; they were happy to dance along.  Just like that, 18 teenagers walked into the lives of this elderly couple, gave them all their effort and time and walked right back out but left a mark that would last a lifetime. We’d like to think that it was Bernie and Joe who walked into our lives and gave us a little dose of humility and gratitude. We all left content and satisfied with our contribution that day. Even if for one day, we gave 110 per cent and our efforts were rewarded in smiles and hugs.

Our second day of Habitat work was at their “ReStore”. We all pitched in with everything from painting to restoring old furniture. Our team banded together as usual and got the work done with high spirits and energy.  Yes, we’ve built quite the Ohana here in Hawaii. We’ve become so close and reflecting on all the hard work we put into every day, we can proudly call one another family. From our family to yours, keep your smiles big and your hearts even bigger.

Love and well wishes,

The Westcoast Blogger