When one thinks of Hawai’i, sunshine, beaches, and fruity umbrella drinks almost immediately come to mind. Although they’re known as the definition of paradise, the Hawaiian Islands still have their fair share of social and environmental troubles like the rest of the United States.
Luckily, there are a number of dedicated organizations tirelessly working to preserve Hawaii’s natural beauty and to improve the lives of it’s citizens. Hawai’i isn’t just a vacation spot for tourists looking to get away for two weeks; it’s home to over 1.3 million men, women, and children, so it deserves to be taken care of. To say “mahalo” for their service, we’ve listed some of the best nonprofit organizations serving the citizens of Hawai’i. Here are NerdWallet’s top 4 Hawai’i nonprofits.
Hawai’i Wildlife Fund: For Protecting Hawaii’s Native Wildlife
Much of what makes Hawai’i so special is the diversity and absolute wonder of its beaches and wildlife. The Hawai’i Wildlife Fund works to preserve Hawaii’s native wildlife through research, education, and conservation. A skilled team of volunteers, educators, conservationists, and the like work to engage the community and create opportunities for citizens to play an active role in protecting some of Hawaii’s greatest treasures. The Hawai’i Wildlife Fund calls upon the community to learn more about the marine environment through snorkeling or even whale watching. Getting educated is one of the first, most crucial steps to successfully preserving the environment. The Hawai’i Wildlife Fund’s efforts are invaluable and instrumental in keeping Hawai’i the paradise we all know.
Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice: For providing legal services to the underrepresented
Law services and representation definitely do not come cheap. The Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice graciously provides a great service to low-income individuals and families by conducting research on important issues like housing, education, and disability rights. With this research, they engage in legislative advocacy to ensure that the appropriate measures are put into practice to better serve these issues. The LEJ also conducts seminars involving legal education, so that citizens may stay informed and active in their community. They work alongside other like-minded groups to reach out to a part of the community that is so often mistreated by the law. When absolutely necessary, the LEJ conducts large-scale litigation to defend the rights of Hawaii’s low-income community. Every citizen deserves his or her rights, and the LEJ is one of the leading protectors of the low-income community.
Parents and Children Together (PACT): For providing safe and enriching environments for children and families
Often times, the every day stresses of life can take it’s toll on a family, making it difficult to foster strong relationships and individual development. The Parents and Children Together organization works to provide a safe and enriching environment for individuals and families in which they can identify and utilize their strengths, and reach their full potential. PACT provides a number of services including early childhood education, child abuse and neglect treatment, domestic violence prevention, mental health support, community building and economic development, and specific island programs. This organization encourages families to realize and follow their dreams because everyone deserves their chance at happiness.
Hawai’i Literacy: For providing literacy and lifelong learning services
Hawai’i Literacy’s website tagline,“If you can read this, you can help,” just goes to show how many of us take literacy for granted. Being able to read and write may seem basic, but they are skills that many have not had the opportunity, or have even been denied the right, to learn. Hawai’i Literacy works to lower the adult illiteracy rate in Hawai’i by calling upon well-trained and dedicated volunteers to teach adults how to read and write. They offer free one-on-one tutoring to teach basic skills, hiring trained volunteers certified by ProLiteracy, a national organization known for training some of the most effective tutors. In addition to family literacy programs, Hawai’i Literacy also has their classroom on wheels, or “Bookmobile.” Hawai’i Literacy’s bookmobile visits housing projects and the Boys and Girls Clubs on the Waianae Coast. They bring books, laptops, toys, and a number of other activities on to communities on a weekly basis. Hawai’i Literacy works to make people’s literacy dreams a reality.