featured_resource_icon Featured Volunteers

This page features our volunteers! To learn more about volunteering with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, visit our Volunteer Page.

Dori Sparlin

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Dori, a parent at Mililani Uka Elementary School began volunteering with ʻĀINA In Schools in 2018 as a Kindergarten Garden Docent. Dori explains that she grew up in a family of gardeners, “...flowers were my Mom’s specialty and vegetables and fruits were my Dad’s. I love feeling connected with nature and the sense of accomplishment in successfully growing something.” Dori is also a Registered Nurse with the Department of Health and finds supporting the ʻĀINA In Schools program at her child’s school such a valuable learning experience that serves as a foundation for healthy living and healthy environments. “I'm so lucky to be able to witness the students’ enthusiasm, wonderment, and curiosity during our lessons.”

Jodi Fallas

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Hi! My name is Jodi and I’ve been volunteering with Plastic Free Hawaiʻi since the summer of 2019. I often help out with outreach events and beach cleanups to help spread Plastic Free Hawaiʻi’s message of reducing the consumer intake and disposal of single use plastics. Here in Hawaiʻi, efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and plastics are finally reaching a bigger platform and audience, but still remain underground to the majority. Working with the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, more specifically Plastic Free Hawaiʻi, I have had the chance to work with knowledgeable volunteers and staff while learning about how changing habits can result in a significant lifestyle transformation. Educating the keiki and adults of our little island is a humbling experience as I get to witness firsthand the lack of understanding on this topic. I am learning myself while teaching others and it is something that brings an immense smile to my face. The saying “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i na ʻōpio” (the life of the land is perpetuated by the youth) was a motto that resonated within me and still inspires me to take action in challenging the consequences of unmanageable energy consumption and waste. I am also a part of the Eco Club at my highschool and joining the club gives me the opportunity to learn about indigenious conservation and sustainable living. We often work with Plastic Free Hawaiʻi to collaborate ideas while helping our small club grow. I was born and raised in a small community on the North Shore of Oʻahu and my environment is definitely something that affects my actions and thinking. Out of love for my home, I volunteer to protect it. Since I started volunteering with Plastic Free Hawaiʻi, I have seen small changes in my everyday life; from picking up trash on a casual beach trip to carrying utensils with me everywhere I go, my perspectives have been widened significantly. I am optimistic when thinking about how a seemingly minor individual effort can result in major changes.

Alish Roarty

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Alish, a parent at Sunset Beach Elementary School, began volunteering for ʻĀINA in 2008. Alish says she volunteers with ʻĀINA because, “I’m a lover of learning! The ʻĀINA curriculum is well developed and super easy and fun to teach. The kids are really inspired by the lessons, especially when they’re in the kitchen or garden. I think the docents feel a certain “buzz” after being with the kids and the lessons, I sure do!” Alish explains, “As a new parent, my intention was to get some exposure to interacting with children again. I’d spent years teaching adults in organizations and I truly enjoyed the kids’ curiosity and presence when learning. I wanted to participate by providing a fun and encouraging environment. I also wanted to hold myself accountable, as a parent, for making healthy close to source choices. Since those first lessons, the children have really changed. They know so much more than before and sometimes THEY teach US! It’s powerful.”

Louis Jeffers-Fabro

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Louis Jeffers-Fabro, a junior at Waialua High School and part of the WHIS Eco Club, started volunteering for Plastic Free Hawaiʻi during the summer of 2019. Louis has especially enjoyed helping assemble the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi water stations, manning the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi outreach tables, and selling Plastic Free Hawaiʻi merchandise. Louis says he enjoys Plastic Free Hawaiʻi outreach tabling because, “I have the opportunity to educate individuals about issues concerning the use of non-reusable plastic products, and about how we as locals can help to preserve our beautiful island. It also brings me joy to see people learn something new about where they live, and hopefully put what they have learned into action!” Louis explains that there are many reasons he chooses to volunteer for the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, “the main one is because I love to engage with our community, and help as much as I can with providing awareness about the issues of single-use plastics, and non-reusable waste in general. Another reason why I love to volunteer, is because I enjoy working with my mom, Lisa Jeffers-Fabro, who is the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Program Manager. I've enjoyed volunteering multiple times throughout my life, and will continue to for the rest of my life. I grew up in Waialua, on the North Shore of Oʻahu. Growing up here has given me many opportunities to learn about the unique and diverse ecosystem of Oʻahu. Through this knowledge I've gained about our island, I have come to learn that these issues we face surrounding single-use plastics, pollution, and emissions, affect us much more than they would anywhere else, since Oʻahu is so small and in the middle of the ocean.This also helped me realize that we can solve these issues if we, as a whole, worked on changing our bad habits as humans.” Louis shares that he hopes that after reading why he loves to volunteer, individuals feel the urge to go outside and volunteer, “because I've learned that it's the best way to have fun, while making a positive impact at the same time.”

Lindsay Liniger

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Lindsay Liniger began volunteering with ʻĀINA In Schools in 2015 as a 1st grade Garden Docent. She has since been an ʻĀINA Docent for 2nd grade Nutrition, hosted a 3rd grade Vermicomposting Garden Club, and assisted with a 4th grade Garden Club. As her child grows from grade to grade, superstar volunteer Lindsay does too - she will be a 5th grade Garden Docent this year! Lindsay’s love for gardening is what motivated her to become an ʻĀINA In Schools docent. A lifelong learner, she describes herself as “super fascinated with pollinators!” She also recognizes the importance of garden lessons, saying, “With today’s youth, not many know where their food comes from or how it is grown. Gardening is something that I fear could be lost and I want to do my part to help the kids find love for plants, bugs, and the soil. I find gardening to be a great stress reliever.” Lindsay led a bee-removal effort on her home campus of Ahuimanu last school year! Concerned parents asked the school to allot some of their ‘ĀINA funds to safely relocate a beehive from the campus to a new home in Waimānalo! Lindsay grew up in Colorado where she says her great love for the outdoors and gardening first took root.

Francesca Diaz

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Francesca Diaz, a mother from Makakilo, joined the ʻĀINA In Schools ‘ohana as a UH West Oʻahu Sustainable Communities Food Systems intern, and is now a proud graduate. Francesca participated in all aspects of the ʻĀINA program and especially enjoyed supporting the ʻĀINA Teams at partner ʻĀINA schools around Oʻahu with their garden, nutrition, and compost lessons. Francesca said she chose to intern with the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation because she knew KHF was doing good work in the community, and other students in her program recommend the ʻĀINA In Schools internship. She was drawn to the program after realizing the ‘ĀINA In Schools mission is closely aligned with her interests and educational background. Francesca says, “I really appreciate the staff; they are hard-working and care for their community.” Francesca is a talented floral designer and lei maker and even provided all the ti lei for the 2019 KHF Volunteer Appreciation! Francesca enjoys all forms of art, on-going learning, spending time with her daughter, and encourages living in the present moment.

Assaf Asouri

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Assaf started volunteering with ʻĀINA In Schools in 2017 when his son began kindergarten. When he is not volunteering at Waialae PCS as an ʻĀINA Garden Docent, Assaf is a physical oceanographer, working as a researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “I study ocean waves, currents, and the dynamics of these in coastal regions around the Hawaiian Islands.” He says he was motivated to volunteer because he felt it was a wonderful way to be involved in his son’s classroom teaching students valuable skills he believes it is important for all children to grow up knowing. “I arrived in Hawaiʻi from Israel 14 years ago and realized that Hawaiʻi was the perfect place for me to call home. When he isn’t volunteering, Assaf enjoys surfing, skateboarding and playing music with his family. “My favorite experience while volunteering in the program was seeing the kid’s expressions while trying a new fruit or vegetable during snack time,” Assaf says. “I am looking forward to next year as my younger son will start kindergarten at Waialae PCS, so I am excited to volunteer in both my kids’ classes as an ʻĀINA Docent!”

Keala Patterson

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Keala Patterson began volunteering with ʻĀINA In Schools in 2011 as a Nutrition Docent, on the heels of graduating high school, the U.H. Health Science major explains, “When I first started pursuing my degree in health sciences, I wanted to get more involved in health programs in the communities. I found ʻĀINA and I loved the work it was doing. I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of. I’ve always wanted to help improve the health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities and my work as a nutrition docent allowed me to make steps towards that. I return each year because the aloha spirit that I see in the children, teachers, and other volunteers. I volunteer because I wish I had ʻĀINA in my school when I was growing up!” Keala graduated in May with a Masters Degree in Public Health.

Jodi Domina

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Jodi Domina is a parent at Waikīkī Elementary who started volunteering as an ʻĀINA Docent in 2015 when her younger son was in Kindergarten. She also takes a leadership role in support of her grade level docent team. Jodi is an ʻĀINA Docent because she enjoys helping at her kids’ school and ʻĀINA is a great way to do this. “I also love what ʻĀINA is teaching the children and the message ʻĀINA is instilling in the children for the future. I feel very fortunate that Waikīkī Elementary is part of ʻĀINA In schools program.” Jodi is passionate about health and fitness and says she loves how these can help people become healthier and happier mentally as well as physically.

Sean Congdon

ʻĀINA Chef

Chef Sean Congdon of Cut Cuisine first visited an ʻĀINA Chef Classroom Visit in 2013, and has been a regular ʻĀINA classroom and Family Night Chef at ʻĀINA Schools ever since. He’s generously provided ʻĀINA Chef Visits to 12 schools on Oʻahu, introducing students in every grade from K-6 to healthy, close to the source cooking. Sean says that he really enjoys watching the students be hesitant about ingredients they may be unfamiliar with, then watch their excitement to try it after they’ve had a hand in making it.Sean says he volunteers as an ʻĀINA Chef because, “In today's world of fast food, I think it is important to help connect these kids with some easy to prepare dishes that are also really tasty and nutritious.” Every October (Farm to School Month) and April (Earth Month), Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation connects teachers at schools participating in the ‘ĀINA In Schools program to ‘ĀINA Chefs or Farmers. Students get to meet farmers and cooks in the community to learn about career pathways and try the food the guests are involved in producing. Mahalo to Sean and all our ʻĀINA Classroom Chefs for sharing your passion for healthy cooking with students!

Kate Coleman

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Kate is a Co-ʻĀINA Team Coordinator at Kainalu Elementary this school year. Over the years Kate has been an ʻĀINA Garden Docent for grades K, 4, and 5 and has three children attending the school. Kate says, “I have strong beliefs towards green issues and the environment our children will inherit from us. It is also an incredible feeling to be part of something greater than myself and truly feel like I am making a difference in the lives of others.” Kate grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains and graduated from San Jose State University where she met her husband. Her family has had the fortunate experience of living in California, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada and now Hawaiʻi.

Madi Masek

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Madi is a junior at HPU and a dedicated volunteer with Plastic Free Hawaiʻi. Madi studies Environmental Studies with minors in Political Science and International Studies. I love nature and spending my time outside. She started volunteering with us in March of 2018 with tabling, beach cleanups and community outreach. Madi shares, “I love volunteering at KHF events! Everyone is super friendly and I've met some great people while volunteering.”

Nicole Tomasa and Mollie Ferguson

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

University of Hawaiʻi Food Science and Human Nutrition Dietetics Student Team Mollie and Nicole are friends, Dietetics Major Classmates, and the Grade 6 ʻĀINA Nutrition Docent team at Ahuimanu Elementary! Mollie chose to volunteer for ʻĀINA In Schools because she truly believes in the values the program embodies. Mollie believes that “educating children about nutrition from a young age sets the foundation for a healthier adult lifestyle and aids in the prevention of chronic disease” She says, “It’s an honor for me to be able to take part in such a wonderful program with the goal of creating a healthier Hawaiʻi.” Mollie’s goal is to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Her dream is to open her own preventative health clinic that serves as a community center which focuses on holistic health and supporting living a long and active life. Mollie is very passionate about inspiring people to live life to the fullest. She loves to create new friendships, travel, and give back to my community. Mollie shares, “having a strong community, staying active, and eating nutritious foods are the three most important factors to create a healthy life.” Nicole is inspired by her memories of her school garden. She says, “Because it was so hands-on and engaging, it made learning about plants into an experience.” Nicole says she was extremely happy to learn about the opportunity to volunteer as a nutrition docent with ‘ĀINA In Schools because, “they take learning to a whole new level! They provide students with hands-on learning activities in a fun and fresh way that students will remember for the rest of their lives.” Nicole’s dream job would be to open up a meal delivery business with a sustainable business mindset, that features and incorporates local ingredients in a unique and healthy way! Nicole has a passion for cooking. “For me, food is not only nourishing but it can also be comforting! I find it fascinating how food can be used to connect us to our ancestors and different cultures.”

Jo Ann Moe

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Retired Punahou School teacher and grandparent of four at Liholiho Elementary, Jo Ann has been assisting teach the ʻĀINA Nutrition Lessons since 2016. “It is a wonderful learning experience for all of us. Some children have told us it’s their favorite class, and some parents have said they are serving their children healthier meals and snacks,” Jo Ann shares, “It’s fun teaching the children which foods will keep them healthy and strong.”

Flori Padua

ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer

Flori Padua is a founding member of the ‘ĀINA in Schools program at Kahuku Elementary. A crossing-guard, recess monitor, and lunch monitor, Flori is also a skilled gardener who manages the school gardens around campus. A Kahuku graduate herself, Flori is dedicated to helping students to fall in love with gardening and healthy food. As garden manager, Flori can be found maintaining the vegetable beds, planting surprise flowers for the students, or creating elaborate scarecrows to scare off the pests (human or otherwise).

Marissa Miller

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Marissa is a Punahou alum and a current undergraduate at Cal Poly University. She dedicated her time to volunteer with our Plastic Free Hawaiʻi and ʻĀINA in Schools programs this summer. She knew about and supported KHF’s work since she was in second grade! “I volunteer for KHF because I love its mission and commitment to fostering a sustainable community here in Hawaiʻi. I wanted to dedicate my time to supporting this organization because KHF and Jack Johnson were my first influences in developing my passion for sustainability and protecting the environment! I also volunteer for KHF because I love the people and the community surrounding the organization. The connections I have made through my volunteer work with them have been incredible and I'm so grateful to have those people in my life!” Marissa is passionate about spreading environmental awareness and stewardship, but her biggest passion in life is surfing, which is what inspires her and motivates her every day to give back and protect the places that she loves. This summer, as she dedicated time to volunteer with KHF and related organizations, she completed a 100-day surf streak. “Spending time outdoors is incredibly important for all of us to do so I was really stoked that this summer I dedicated myself to doing that and also to protecting and preserving these places and spreading environmental stewardship and appreciation so that future generations can experience this beautiful world in the same way that I have been so fortunate to do.”

Tania Rodwell

ʻĀINA In Schools Docent

Tania has been an ʻĀINA Kindergarten Docent and an ʻĀINA Nutrition Docent for four years. Tania supports Waiʻalae PCS’s ʻĀINA Program by participating in as many ʻĀINA Garden Parties and Docent Trainings as possible. One of her favorite events was having an ʻĀINA ‘Close to the Source’ Food Booth at their annual Winter Social. Tania says she loves ʻĀINA In Schools because “the program really teaches the kids about where our food comes from, and how their choices not only affect our ʻĀINA but their bodies and minds. The program is the best balance of fun and education I've ever experienced and the kids love it!” Tania first learned about ʻĀINA In Schools when her son was in pre-school from a mom who had older kids talking about their ʻĀINA lessons. “I'll never forget the lesson about Close to the Source foods, and the delicious poi smoothie snack! I work in the natural foods industry and love what the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation has been doing for our kids and the community!”

Terra Pracht

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Terra Pracht started volunteering this year with KHF’s Plastic Free Hawaiʻi program. Terra loves being involved with good people doing good work. She finds that KHF aligns with her values and she is impressed by KHF’s reputation and reach in the community. Terra spent nine years in East Hawaiʻi developing a wellness retreat center and an educational non-profit from the ground up. She’s most passionate about helping grow a health-conscious community, eating the best foods ever, and mindfully living the Spirit of Aloha. The Plastic Free Hawaiʻi team is fueling her Oʻahu inspiration as she integrates on island and actively seeks new ways to contribute.

Dyana Tenberge

ʻĀINA In Schools Docent

Only a few days after arriving on the island, Kainalu Elementary ʻĀINA Docent Dyana Tenberge stopped by Kainalu Elementary to check out the back-to-school ʻĀINA Garden Party. “I had no idea what to expect but quickly found that I had walked into an incredibly warm and welcoming group of people. After hearing them talk so enthusiastically about the program, I was in!”
Over the last three years, Dyana has been an ʻĀINA docent for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th grades, as well as an ʻĀINA Garden Club helper.
Dyana says, “the smiling faces and excitement from our keiki are what keeps me coming back. That moment when they see how tall the sunflowers are or pull their first carrot from the ground makes it all worthwhile.”
Dyana shares that the ʻĀINA In Schools program was one of the first places her ʻohana truly felt at home here. “I've learned so much about Hawaiian culture, gardening, nutrition, waste reduction and perhaps more importantly, made lifelong friends. The program is designed to benefit the children but there's so much to be gained for everyone involved. I could not be more grateful to be part of such a special group.”

Sal Quezada

ʻĀINA In Schools Docent

Sal Quezada has been teaching ʻĀINA Garden Lessons for his granddaughter’s classes at Kahala Elementary for the last two years. Sal’s daughter is the ʻĀINA Team Coordinator and Enrichment Teacher at Kahala Elementary and encouraged Sal to volunteer. Sal’s initial motivation for volunteering for ʻĀINA was his daughter and granddaughter, but once he met the rest of the children and teachers he said he was hooked! “I enjoy interacting with the children and really saw all the lessons through their fresh eyes.” Sal was born in downtown Los Angeles, and grew up in East Los Angeles. Sal and his wife have three grown children, who all married people from Hawaiʻi! Sal will have seven grandchildren (7 years and younger) by this summer. In 2012, Sal retired after teaching high school mathematics in inner city schools, and spent one year teaching at UCLA.

Noriko Lassof

ʻĀINA In Schools Docent

Norkilo Lassoff who moved with her family from Japan is currently a parent at Waikiki Elementary School but started volunteering as an ʻĀINA Docent in 2015 when she was a Kindergarten parent at Kahala Elementary. Noriko said she enjoys being an ʻĀINA Docent for both her children’s grade levels each school year because she feels she is supporting the school’s ‘ĀINA Program, and loves watching the students learn in the school gardens. She also explains that volunteering with ʻĀINA at her children’s schools allows her to meet other parents and grow her knowledge about gardening and nutrition. Noriko loves being recognized on campus by the students when she is wearing her ʻĀINA t-shirt and appreciates the support she receives from the KHF staff with trainings and supplies in preparing for the ʻĀINA Lessons, and we appreciate Norikoʻs attention to detail and communication in working with her ʻĀINA Docent Team in preparing for their AINA Lessons!

Natalie Brown

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Natalie serves in the Navy and started volunteering for Plastic Free Hawaiʻi when she first arrived to Oʻahu in September 2016. Her first event was a beach cleanup at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge in Kahuku and she has been hooked ever since! “I volunteer with KHF because I believe there is no better way to spend my time than giving back to the community and the planet. Every time I leave a KHF event I feel so fulfilled and proud of the work that we accomplish together; it never gets old!”

Arnold Molina

ʻĀINA In Schools Compost Docent

Arnold is a community volunteer who began volunteering as a Grade 3 Compost Docent for ʻĀINA In Schools in August of 2016 at Waialua Elementary because he believes children need to have the important knowledge of taking care of the soil and growing local, healthy, all natural, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. Arnold believes youth are the hope for our future. Arnold explains that he is passionate about nature and service. In addition to working with the community through Rolfing and massage therapy, Arnold recently completed the GoFarm Hawaiʻi Program and formed ZeroPoint Farms CSA to help provide locally produced foods and to repair damaged agricultural lands. Arnold is originally from South Texas and grew a food forest on his suburban town lot after watching his hometown transition from the heavy conventional farming era. Arnold says, “Every opportunity to work with the eager, young third grade minds is a pleasure. I tell them every time that we are planting a seed of knowledge in their minds and look forward to when it sprouts and grows into a beautiful future. Thank you for providing this program for children. Thank you for allowing me to participate.”

Scott Kitamori

KHF Intern

Scott volunteered for his senior practicum internship for UHWO in the fall of 2017. As a KHF intern Scott worked on a variety of projects in the ʻĀINA In Schools program as well as assisted the KHF Grants Administrator with Farm Field Trip reservation tracking, booking, and communicating with teachers and farmers. “I love to see keiki captivated through ʻāina based learning...on one of the ʻĀINA Farm Field Trips, I overheard a student tell his teacher, 'this was the best field trip of the year!'", said Scott.

Kawehi Schaper

KHF Intern

Kawehi started volunteering with KHF in August 2017 to fulfill internship requirements at her high school. Kawhei enjoyed volunteering alongside the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation staff, when asked what she thought about the experience she said, “To say it was a fabulous experience would be an understatement.” I enjoyed working alongside the staff, and I learned to be patient with time consuming tasks like cutting headbands for ʻĀINA Lessons.” Kawehi learned that volunteering in a work environment is different than school because it can be a more flexible environment. Kewehi loves to contribute. Every year she travels to different states to volunteer for her favorite organization "Embracing the world". Her volunteer jobs with Embracing the world included, Dish washing, cooking, chopping vegetables, serving food for over 1,000 people at the programs they hold.

Raquel Alfsen

ʻĀINA In Schools Nutrition Docent

Raquel started volunteering for ʻĀINA In Schools in 2009 when her husband read about the program at their children’s school Aikahi Elementary. Raquel’s background is in Exercise Science so she was excited to be an ʻĀINA Nutrition Docent at Aikahi Elementary for a few years until her family moved to Japan in 2012. After returning to Hawaiʻi in 2015, and now at partner ʻĀINA School Kāʻohao Public Charter School, she volunteered teaching grades 4 and 5 ʻĀINA Garden Lessons. This school year Raquel is teaching ʻĀINA Nutrition Lessons to the 6th graders, which has especially enjoyed. “I love seeing students excited about trying new, healthy foods - especially my kids!” Aside from being a military spouse and taking care of my family, Raquel has worked with children who have special needs, was a Head Start Health/Nutrition Specialist, and supervised and managed rehabilitation centers and fitness facilities. Raquel enjoys helping people and educating them on health and fitness. Raquel says, “ ʻĀINA not only allows me to teach the youth about respecting the land and what it has to offer, but it helps them learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and make better food choices! It's been a blessing to be a part of such a great program!”

Connie Carreras

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Haleʻiwa Elementary School's ʻĀINA In Schools Lead Docent for 2nd Grade Nutrition, Connie also supports Grade 1 Garden and Grade 3 Composting lessons. “I volunteer for ʻĀINA because I believe in its core message, to establish a connection with our food and environment. The kids are inspiring in how open and eager they are to learn and participate. Just yesterday afternoon, I overheard my son talking to our family friend about snack options. My son asked for some fresh avocado adding that 'it’s a brain food.' Our friend asked how he knew that, he answered 'Because we have ʻĀINA.' Makes my heart happy!”

Kim & Jim Slagel

Kōkua Festival Greening

The Kamehameha Schools’ Tree/Dog/CatHuggers are a community service organization formed at the insistence of some good-hearted, motivated kids in 1991 and advised by the Slagels. They are engaged in most prominently, environmental causes, including sustainability, recycling, and stewardship over neglected and abused animal populations. Since 2004 the club has volunteered and assisted with Zero Waste initiatives at ALL 6 Kōkua Festivals and both Jack Johnson shows at the Waikiki Shell.

Jessie Kaull

Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation

Jessie interned with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation this summer, assisting with the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi and ʻĀINA in Schools programs. Environmental education and caring for the natural world and its resources have been fundamental aspects of Jessie's schooling and upbringing. “For as long as I can remember, I have had a strong passion for surrounding myself in nature, and I am absolutely fascinated with the beauty of the ocean. As I begin my freshman year at Stanford University, I plan to continue my own environmental education, while still encouraging others to live plastic-free and mālama ka ʻāina.”

Stephanie Conching

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Stephanie began volunteering in 2014 doing Plastic Free Hawaiʻi outreach events and beach cleanups. She hosted the most recent Plastic Free Hawaiʻi volunteer training at Maryknoll School, where she teaches full time. She is inspired to volunteer because “the small can have large effects. My hope is that one action will increase tenfold in ways that I can’t even imagine.”

Arlete Byrne

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Arlete first volunteered for Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation at a Sunset Beach Elementary Garden Party in 2009. Inspired by the beautiful garden and KHF's mission, she began volunteering at Plastic Free Hawaiʻi beach cleanups. Proud parent of a Kahuku Elementary kindergartener, Arlete now volunteers as an ‘ĀINA In Schools Garden Docent. Reflecting on the experience, she says she is reminded of Brazil where her parents grow much of their own food and eat from the garden to stay healthy.

Nathan Hall

Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Nathan started volunteering in 2016 for the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi program. He volunteers because he support KHFs mission and believes that educating the younger generation is the most important responsibility we have. “With knowledge we learn compassion, and gain an understanding of how systems and people are interconnected, which is essential to making the world a better place, says Nathan” He hopes to lead by example. Nathan is a firm opponent of the idea that one person can't make a difference ”everyone who has ever lived, was just one person.” Nathan feels fortunate to have spent much of his youth outdoors, and to have inherited a deep appreciation for nature from his parents. His other passions include running, surfing, cooking, taking photographs, and guilt-tripping friends for buying plastic bottles and eating processed foods.

Ruhi Shah

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Ruhi has been an ʻĀINA In Schools Volunteer at Kahala Elementary for 2 years. She has been a Garden and Nutrition Docent and served as ʻĀINA Team Coordinator supporting the school’s parent and community docents, teachers, and administration in implementing the program. Ruhi shares that signing up to be the gardening docent was a BIG personal challenge. “I never had a green thumb. We had a small cactus a few years ago - and I couldn't even keep it alive--a cactus! So I knew when I signed up that I’d have to learn and work hard so I don’t let the kids down. What a relief when I saw our sunflowers had grown!”
Ruhi says she loves teaching kids. She was attracted to the idea of being able to engage students outdoors and teach them about nature. “Not only did they learn about plants/food but they learned about the importance of patience, responsibility, and showing kindness and love. It's exciting to see the fruits of your labor--and when their sunflowers and veggies grew and they were able to harvest them, you could see how proud of themselves they each were--that's great!” Ruhi owns a kids clothing company, RAMA. "I manufacture everything in Hawaiʻi. My way to give back to our local community by promoting local jobs and employment. Some of my fabrics come from India - they are hand block printed by local artisans. The local artisans (some of whom are quite senior) continue to carry out this age old technique." www.ramacollection.com Ruhi also manages a program called Keiki Collection. The program encourages children to be creative, offers them a platform to sell their handmade products, and learn about entrepreneurship. “I love seeing what these children come up with. Unlike most adults, they are completely uninhibited and as a result they come up with wonderful products, turning repurposed CapriSun packets into wallets, using vegetables and plants to create stamps, ink, stationary and spinning tops.” They learn to price their products, reconcile their own bills

Joan Powers

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Joan a parent at Ahuimanu Elementary became an ʻĀINA volunteer in 2013. She has been a Kindergarten,1st and 5th grade Garden Docent, and a 2nd grade Nutrition Docent at Ahuimanu Elementary. Joan is very supportive of the ʻĀINA Program at her children’s school and has also volunteered to lead ʻĀINA Garden Parties and run the ʻĀINA booth at the Spring Fun Fair. Joan volunteers for ʻĀINA In Schools because she believes in the KHF vision of sustainability and environmental awareness for kids. It makes her very happy to pass down this knowledge to bright young minds, and in the process she enjoys learning quite a bit herself. “One of my favorite experiences being a Docent was my first year teaching Kindergarten. We taught one of our last lessons outside next to our butterfly garden and soon noticed that butterflies were all around us. This was a beautiful real life experience for the students, that they wonʻt soon forget. A 1st degree black belt in Kajukenbo, Joan is a mother of 3, a member of the schoolʻs Student Community Council and a five year veteran on the Fun Fair committee. She regularly shops at Farmers Markets and eats organic food as much as possible. Joan says she encourages her own children to stay active and eat healthy.

Tim Tybuszewski

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Tim started volunteering in 2007 with KHF’s Plastic Free Hawaiʻi program and is currently in his second year as a parent ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent at Sunset Beach Elementary for his son’s grade. Tim enjoys volunteering with KHF because the focus is on topics that he feel are going to be or are critical issues that the next generation will be dealing with. Tim feels broad issues such as waste reduction (especially single-use plastics), environmental stewardship, and food related topics are very important and KHF creates a fun and educational environment for youth to engage in those issues. One of Tim’s most memorable experiences as a volunteer was as an ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent for his son’s kindergarten class. During the lesson the children had the opportunity to use their magnifying glasses in the school garden to look for insects and then draw what they observed. "The expressions of excitement and wonder on their faces as they peered into a new world was truly inspiring,” says Tim. Tim also partners with Sunset Beach Elementary School in their waste reduction efforts by collecting the cafeteria food waste for animal feed and hot composting on his farm. When not volunteering, Tim is Director of Conservation at the North Shore Community Land Trust leading community volunteer work days at the Pūpūkea-Paumalu Trail and Kahuku Point.

Leigh Bovaird

ʻĀINA In Schools ATC

Leigh is the ʻĀINA Team Coordinator and lead kindergarten Garden Docent at Waikiki School. She grew up on a cattle farm, 3D Valley Farms, in Southern Indiana, was very active in 4-H, FFA, and played several sports. She believes in the importance of agriculture education in our schools and feels that ʻĀINA In Schools gives kids the opportunity to lead, listen, and learn to be stewards of the land.

Hawaiʻi Navy Information Operations Command

Hawaiʻi Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) groups led by command volunteer coordinator CTIC Kari Albers have provided over 290 hours of volunteer service to KHF since 2014. Albers chose to work with the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation when looking for community service opportunities for her Command, “I thought this would be a perfect volunteer event for our small and large Navy groups, especially those with families, so they could do community service, not be away from the family all day, and pass on the idea of community to the kids all at the same time. And then I met Kelly, and the rest of the KHF staff and they are all SO awesome to work with. This makes a huge difference when things are organized and run smoothly, people want to return and WILL return.” Kelly Perry, ʻĀINA In Schools Program Manager shares, “NIOC has been so dependable and helpful with large volunteer projects even on short notice. We appreciate the efficiency, teamwork, and great attitudes the members of NIOC bring to these projects. Partnering with NIOC has been a wonderful and impactful way for the Navy and their families to volunteer along side civilian families, schools and the community on common environmental goals." PO3 Natalie Brown says, “I feel like my work is actually making a difference, I can see the progress and I take pride in what we did together" This partnership has been rewarding in other ways too. This year NIOC was awarded the 2016 Navy Community Service of the Year Award for Environmental Stewardship Flagship for Large Commands, and won all 5 categories at the Navy Region Hawaii level for their volunteerism at KHF Garden Parties and PFH Beach Cleanups. KHF is very grateful for our partnership with NIOC Hawaiʻi, as they truly represent the Navyʻs commitment to environmental community service and what can be accomplished when military and community partnerships are formed. A special Mahalo to the command volunteer coordinator CTIC Kari Albers for her professional

Lillian Colton

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Lillian started volunteering in 2009 as an ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent while working as a curriculum writer at Halau Ku Mana Charter School. Lillian particularly enjoyed volunteering at Waikiki Elementary School because of the school’s commitment to the pedagogy of Habits of the Mind which provided her a personal learning opportunity to see how the school’s culture enhanced the academic and social possibilities of school gardens. During her three years as a Grade 1 ʻĀINA Garden Docent, Lillian enjoyed collaborating with the team of other ʻĀINA volunteers, teachers, school staff and parents. She appreciated growing with the docents in fine tuning the delivery of the lessons in an engaging way for the students, while being mindful of the garden agreements, and the teachers’ need to cover academic standards. Lillian explained that she observed the teachers appreciated how the fall Grade 1 Little Seeds, Big Plants Garden met all these goals--challenging students to measure the tallest and smallest plant and most exciting, comparing their height to a sunflower. Lillian was on the grant management team at the Hawaii Department of Education. Her graduate school and work experience with preschoolers proved helpful. Lillian loved being able to support the bewildered kindergarteners in September as they stepped into the world of public school and to see them flourish and become confident students and gardeners by Spring. This past school year Lillian had the opportunity to fill a Grade 4 Hawaiian Garden docent position, and to volunteer with Summer Maunakea, the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Educational Resource Specialist, and students who had transferred to Waikiki Elementary from a Hawaiian Immersion school. Their knowledge guided the docents and other students as they learned about the importance of food in the Hawaiian culture through planting, harvesting and cooking ulu, kalo and uala. Lillian says, “It has been a wonderful journey being an ʻĀINA Garden Docent”

Lisa Jeffers-Fabro

ʻĀINA In Schools Compost & Nutrition Docent, KHF Outreach Volunteer

Lisa began volunteering with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation in 2014. Lisa has volunteered for Hawaiʻi State Farm Fair and Haleʻiwa Arts Festival KHF outreach tables. Lisa has also been an ʻĀina In Schools Compost docent for grade 3 & Nutrition Docent for Grade 6 at Waialua Elementary School. Lisa considers herself a “life-long learner”. She volunteers for KHF because it allows her to share, learn, have fun, and meet lots of people who care about education and our island environment. Lisa says, “It feels good to help!” Lisa is a Hawaiʻi State Licensed Teacher with both a P.D. and M.Ed. in Elementary Education. She has been teaching on Oʻahu for over 20 years in both the public and private sectors. Lisa is impressed with the ʻĀINA curriculum, docent training program, and overall support received from the ʻĀINA staff. Lisa is passionate about teaching others to preserve and protect our unique island environment, care about our global home, and have our voices be heard. Through volunteerism, Lisa feels she can achieve these goals.

Aimee Tabilin

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden and Nutrition Docent

Aimee is an active parent volunteer at Waialae Public Charter School, and has been an ʻĀINA Garden and Nutrition Docent and ʻĀINA Chef Visit assistant for visiting ʻAINA Chef Ed Kenney who she works for at Mud Hen Water Restaurant when she is not volunteering for the school! Volunteering for AINA In Schools is rewarding for Amy and it supports her passions and professional work in cooking and eating “Close to the Source” foods and appreciating and supporting local farmers.

Nicholas Tras

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent

Nic started volunteering with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundationʻs ʻĀINA IN Schools program in the fall of 2014. Nic is a community ʻĀINA Docent at Kahala Elementary, who began as a compost docent in the 2014-15 school year and continued this school year as a Grade 5 ʻĀINA Garden Docent. Nic says he volunteers with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation because he believes that creating a sustainable food system is absolutely vital to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems including climate change, inequality, the development of a robust local economy and creating a population grounded in healthy eating. He believes that educating the next generation about the importance of organic farming practices is the best way to create a more sustainable world. Originally from New Mexico, Nic is a graduate of the Global Leadership and Sustainable Development Masterʻs program at HPU and has been involved in developing a local foodshed through his work at a thriving cooperative. Nic is Produce Team Leader for Whole Foods Market and is also the Responsibly Grown Sponsor for over 30 Hawaiʻi farms, assessing their ecological and social growing practices.

Hand in Helping Out (HiHO)

Hands In Helping Out (HIHO) has been volunteering with the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation since 2009 where they helped out their first ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Party at Waikiki Elementary. HIHO volunteers have supported KHF at ʻĀINA Garden Parties, Plastic Free Hawaiʻi outreach events, beach cleanups, and the Kōkua Festival as the Bike Valet Team and leading the merchandise sales tents. Initially the mission of KHF really spoke to HIHO. Knowing that the gardens the built would be utilized by the students really made them smile. The passion of the organization, and the relationship that we built with the staff won us over instantly and for good. KHF also does an amazing job of making us feel welcome and special with the volunteer recognition events and all of their warm personalities. HIHO is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is leading Hawaii’s volunteer community with its innovative volunteer program run entirely by volunteer staff. HIHO also works with individual volunteer managers and agencies to build skill in the field of volunteerism and volunteer management. Ryan Leong, the former HIHO Executive Director says, “We love what we do, play hard, work harder, and love to laugh with Kelly and Natalie.”

Alicia Hetherington

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden & Compost Docent

In 2013 Alicia was introduced to ʻĀINA In Schools by friend, fellow parent, and ʻĀINA Docent Helen Bryson who had been an ʻĀINA Docent at Kainalu Elementary for many years. Since then Alicia was a Grade 2 Nutrition Docent and Grade 3 Compost Docent. Alicia also accepted the lead role in extending the waste reduction program at Kainalu Elementary by facilitating the community partners, grade 3 teachers, school administration, and parent volunteers to build and install a large scale vermicomposting system for reducing cafeteria waste. Alicia says “I was attracted to the values that KHF instil in the children through the ʻĀINA In Schools program and the children's willingness to learn. I love the way the children interact and get involved in where their food comes from and looking after the ʻĀINA, and the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Volunteer Appreciation events are some of my favorite memories of Hawaiʻi!” Alicia worked in Forest Policy as well as field based Forest Management in Australia. As a result of her experiences with ʻĀINA In Schools she has enrolled to further her studies in the area of Nutritional Medicine. Aliciaʻs favourite experience as a Grade 3 Compost Docent was watching the children separate the vermicast from the worms and end up with a big ball of squirming worms. She loved seeing their smiling faces and watching their caring hearts and hands.

Mary Jo Buell

ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Docent, Plastic Free Hawaiʻi and KHF Outreach

Mary Jo started volunteering regularly with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation after she retired, 6 years ago as the Kahuku High and Intermediate School Librarian for 25 years. Mary Jo has volunteered for Kōkua Festivals, Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Outreach, ʻĀINA In Schools supply prep and is a grade 5 docent teaching ʻĀINA Garden Lessons at Sunset Beach Elementary School. Mary Jo volunteers for Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation because she find it fulfilling to support the mission of a more aware and sustainable Hawaiʻi through the foods we eat, how we grow our foods, and a plastic free environment. Mary Jo also has several good friends to volunteer with at KHF which makes the time spent even more enjoyable! Originally from Southern California, Mary Jo moved to the North Shore of Oʻahu in 1971. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. Her current passions are her yard and garden, exercise of all types, grandkids and making driftwood, shell and beach debris wreaths which she calls Beach Wreaths.

Bernadette “Gigi” Miranda

‘ĀINA In Schools Nutrition and Garden Docent and an ‘ĀINA Chef

Gigi started volunteering with KHF in 2009 as an ‘ĀINA In Schools Nutrition and Garden Docent, and an ‘ĀINA Chef. Gigi believes in the philosophy and mission of KHF and the good work of bringing our keiki close to the ʻāina. Gigi was a video/film teacher for 12 years, and community service has always been where her heart is. She was raised traditionally by her elders in cultural food practices and felt what better way to share these practices, than by teaching the younger generations about our connections to food. Gigi enjoys being a docent at her nephewʻs school and teaching him and the other keiki the same love for the ʻāina that she was raised on.

Destiny Davis

‘ĀINA & Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Destiny volunteers for KHF because she believes in the mission and is very passionate about living in a clean environment, sustainability, and waste reduction. Destiny finds that volunteering allows her to pass on these values to the youth in her community. As a ʻĀINA In Schools Compost Docent, Destiny enjoys learning how to compost alongside the students, Destiny says, “It's something I have always wanted to do, but never actually did until I volunteered, having learned how simple it actually was.” Destiny enjoys listening to what the students say during lessons, and hopes she is inspiring them realize how much power they have to make the world a better place.

Betsy Hopewell

‘ĀINA & Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Volunteer

Betsey is a nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care and began volunteering for KHF in 2010. She has been an ‘ĀINA Garden Docent for Waikiki and Kainalu Elementary and a Plastic Free Hawaiʻi Outreach volunteer. Betsey volunteers for ʻĀINA In Schools with hopes to inspire the next generation of veggie eaters and growers to learn to be healthy. She enjoys teaching others the importance of reduction of single use plastics and recycling and hopes they teach others the same. She passionately believes we need to reduce, reuse, recycle, and make eco-friendly choices to leave this planet for future generations to enjoy. Betsy loves seeing the look on the faces of the keiki when they harvest the vegetables they grow. Betsey says, “I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful foundation, it fills my heart”.

Nadia Garcia

‘ĀINA Volunteer

Nadia has served as an ʻĀINA Nutrition Docent last school year, as an ʻĀINA Garden Docent this school year, and volunteered at several ʻĀINA In Schools Garden Parties. Her mother is a Kindergarten teacher at ʻEwa Elementary who has received multiple Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Mini Grants to implement a vermicomposting system for seven classrooms, host parent workshops, make (recycled) paper, and have a beautiful garden. Nadia wanted to show her support of KHF and, she says, “the staff and fellow volunteers are fun to work with, organized, and dedicated! My favorite volunteer experience was probably the first day in the classroom as a nutrition docent. Upon receiving their ʻĀINA In Schools workbooks, we agreed as a class it would be OK to have a superhero ʻĀINA alias to write as their name. They are so creative- there was Bok Choy, Mango Freeman, Coconut Hero, Pineapple Girl, and more!”

Jeff Wang

‘ĀINA Volunteer

Jeff enjoys volunteering as an ‘ĀINA nutrition docent because he loves working with his nutrition docent team to teach students the benefits of taking care of the ʻĀINA, their bodies, for their future.

Helen Bryson

‘ĀINA Volunteer

Helen has volunteered for Grade 2 Nutrition Lessons, Grade 3 Compost Lessons, and Grades 4 & 5 Garden Lessons. She also has helped in the care, maintenance and expansion of the Kainalu Elementary School Gardens, and has volunteered every year for the school’s Tasty Harvest ʻĀINA Family Night. Helen volunteers for KHF because the mission matches her beliefs and desires for educating our future generations to learn a sustainable lifestyle, gardening, and healthy living…. and the kids love digging in the dirt and trying new foods! A former elementary school teacher the ʻĀINA program allows her to be a part of her children's schooling experience and also a part of the classroom. Helen hopes that programs like ʻĀina In Schools become commonplace for every child. And she feels very fortunate to be a small part of it.