Service Learning Program

Service Learning Banner
Matching UHM’s Institutional Learning Outcomes, one of HELP’s Program Learning Outcomes is for students “to demonstrate personal development . . . (by) participation in activities with the larger community both on and off campus.” Service Learning is one way to fulfill this outcome and it is required of all HELP students.

On this page, you can read About Service Learning, find out How to get started, and see a list of Current Service Learning Opportunities. Also check out all of our Past Service Learning Opportunities here!


About Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a method by which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community.

How will service learning help me learn and develop?

Service-Learning helps you…

  • discover the connection between your classroom studies and the real world
  • gain experiences and possible career skills that will enhance your resume
  • develop writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills
  • learn how to communicate across cultures and generations

What is the difference between service learning and volunteering?

Doing a service, such as a beach cleanup or helping children in an after-school program, are unpaid, volunteer activities. These types of service become “service-learning” when they require the student to prepare a critical reflection on each service in the form of an essay, presentation, or the completion of a survey questionnaire.


What kind of service can I participate in?

There are a wide variety of service options. Some are one-day events, such as  serving a meal at a homeless shelter or helping at a cultural festival, and others are term-long commitments, such as visiting the elderly at a retirement home or doing after-school activities with elementary school children.

Please note: While we would like you to be able use both listening and speaking skills in English during the activities, you may not always be required to speak with others; for example, you may be asked to put away books in a school library by yourself. For all activities, you will have to listen to instructions in English. Then, it is your responsibility to try to speak with those you meet because people may think you cannot speak much English since you are an ESL student.


How many hours of service is required?

Every student is required to serve a minimum of six hours per term at two different agencies. HELP encourages students to serve more hours and explore as many opportunities as possible during their time in Hawaii.


What proof of the hours of service can I show to other educational institutions or an employer?

At the end of each term, your service learning projects and hours will be listed on your grade report. We can also provide a certified letter of your projects and a certificate of your service learning hours by request.



How do I get started?

There are three (3) steps in completing the service-learning requirement:

1.  Choose  

During the first week of the term, select a service-learning activity that is good for you. If you have any questions about these options, please speak with the service learning coordinator. When you are ready, please sign up for at least 6 hours of service learning at two different agencies. You will need to sign up for your first service by the beginning of the second week of the term. If you need more hours during the term, please see the coordinator for more choices.

2.  Serve   

Service learning is an important part of your studies at HELP. You will do some volunteer work at a place not far from the university. You will be working with other HELP students, and you will need to work closely and communicate with your service learning organization. Please do your best because your organization will rely on you.

3.  Reflect  

During and after your service learning, you will be asked to learn about the organization that you are helping, write about your experiences, and/or give a presentation. These writing projects and presentations are an important step in service learning. They will help you to understand the value of your service learning while learning to express yourself in English. At the end of the term, you will be required to fill out a service learning survey in which you will reflect on the projects you did for the term.

Read more about the Service Learning program and how to sign up here:
[ Service Learning Program Introduction and Instructions (Updated Fall 2016) ]


Spring 1 2016 Summer 1 2016 Fall 1 2016
Spring 2 2016 Summer 2 2016 Fall 2 2016


Spring 2 2016


*Aloha Harvest

[For 200-level and higher]

Aloha Harvest is a non-profit organization that gathers quality, donated food and delivers it “free of charge” to social service agencies feeding the hungry in Hawai‘i. This innovative concept first proved successful in New York City with the 1982 City Harvest project. In 1999, the Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation asked founder, Helen ver Duin Palit, to study the feasibility of bringing the City Harvest concept to O‘ahu. Based on discussions with potential food donors, recipients, and community leaders, her study concluded that the island definitely needed a reliable link between businesses that wanted to donate good, perishable food and social service agencies with clients to feed. Thus, Aloha Harvest was established in November 1999 to fulfill this need.

Time: (Available only as needed)

DUTIES: Help label supplies (e.g. pans, cake boxes used to pick up food supplies); shred paperwork (as needed).

[Required: Application form]


*American Heart Association/American Stroke Association [AHA/ASA]

[For 200-level or higher]

The American Heart Association is hard at work to make an impact on your life by empowering you and your loved ones to live healthier lives and enjoy more peace of mind about heart disease and stroke, our No. 1 and No. 5 killers.

Time: Tuesday / Thursday / Friday: time shifts available between: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Limitation: 1 person per day; 2 shifts per week

DUTIES: Assist with various office work – such as stuffing envelopes, ‘material’ preparation for outreach events; data-entry, making booklets, folding papers, gift bag packaging, translating, etc.


*Hale Ola Kino [Rehabilitation and Nursing Home Facility]

[For 200-level and higher]

Hale Ola Kino features progressive rehabilitative and long-term care programs, as well as respite services. Our highly trained, multi-disciplinary staff takes pride in meeting your specific needs. We believe in providing the type of environment and the necessary assistance that will result in the greatest level of independence and happiness.

Time: Mondays to Fridays (No Tuesdays afternoons): 9:30 am – 11:30 pm / 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Saturdays: 9:30 am – 11:00 am / 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Sundays: 9:45 am – 11:45 am / 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Limitation: 3 persons per time shift

DUTIES: Assist the activities supervisor with exercise activities and share conversations with the residents.

[Required: Training Information handout; covered shoes and appropriate clothing]

*Hawaii Bicycling League (HBL)

[For 200-level and higher]

Our Mission is to enable more people to ride bicycles for health, recreation, and transportation through advocacy, education, and events.

Each year we host several large events, like the Honolulu Century Ride and Haleiwa Metric Century. We also hold numerous smaller events such as Bike Month and Oahu Bike Count.

As Oahu’s oldest and largest cycling organization, Hawaii Bicycling League has a strong voice with local and state agencies. We advocate for positive changes that will help make Hawaii a cycling paradise and encourage more people to ride bicycles.

Time: (Time shifts to be announced later)

Limitation: 2 persons/day

DUTIES: Assist with light office work, such as stuff envelopes, make phone calls, make membership kits, mailing member cards, organizing inventory, events planning, etc.

[Required: covered shoes]


*Ho‘oulu ‘Aina (Kalihi Valley)

[For All levels] [Every 3rd Saturday of the month]

Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV) was formed by the Kalihi Valley community as a non-profit corporation in 1972, in response to the absence of accessible and appropriate health care services for the valley’s low-income, Asian and Pacific Island immigrant population.

We are pleased to offer opportunities for community gardening, reforestation, environmental education and the preservation of land-based cultural knowledge at Ho`oulu `Aina (the Kalihi Valley Nature Preserve). In this “welcoming place of refuge for people of all cultures,” healing the land heals us as well. Ho’oulu ‘Aina is flourishing under the enthusiasm and hard work of its staff and hundreds of community volunteers.

Time: (Check-in 8:30 am) 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

DUTIES: Three job choices (at Ho’oulu ‘Aina).

1) Work in the vegetable garden – pull weeds/prepare garden for planting

2) Help in the kitchen to prepare the lunch (for the volunteers and staff)

3) Help with planting and clearing the forest (physical work involved)

[Required: Waiver form]


*Institute for Human Services (IHS) (Women’s & Men’s Shelters)

[200-level and higher]

IHS remains the only 24-hour walk-in, emergency shelter on Oahu and continues to provide a full range of services to men, women, and families with children who are homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless. The agency operates two facilities in Honolulu. The Sumner Service Center (350 Sumner Street) is capable of housing up to 200 men each night, while the Kaaahi Service Center (546 Ka’aahi Street) serves up to 100 single women in addition to 23-27 families, which can include as many as 60 children. The agency strives to be ADA compliant and makes reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Time: (Determined after orientation)

DUTIES: Rooftop Garden, sorting and organization of donations, meal service (breakfast/lunch/dinner)

[Required: Orientation session, TB test clearance form, Waiver form]


*Ka Papa Lo’i o Kanewai [UHM]

[For All levels] [Every 1st Saturday of the month]

First Saturdays are open to anyone in the community looking for an opportunity to experience traditional farming methods, converse with Hawaiian Language speakers, talk story with practitioners,

ku‘i ‘ai, ku‘i ka imu”, and enjoy the day with family and friends.

Time: (Check-in 8:00 am) 8:30 am – 11:00 am

Duties: Help ‘malama’ the lo’i – do yard work/community clean-up. Three ‘job’ choices (at the lo’i):

1) Help clear and prepare the lo’i (taro patch)

2) Assist the staff with cleaning the taro

3) Help clear out Manoa Stream

(The garden provides experiential learning opportunities to school and community groups in the traditional farming practices and culture of Native Hawaiians.)

[Required: Waiver form]


*Leahi Hospital [Skilled Nursing Facility]

[For 200-level and higher]

Leahi Hospital is one of two facilities under Oahu Region within Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Hawaii Health Systems Corporation is made up of thirteen medical facilities within the State of Hawaii and together, these facilities provide a safety net of medical care for the people of Hawaii.

Leahi Hospital is Medicare and Medicaid certified and has 164 beds: 155 nursing home beds, dually certified as Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), 9 Acute/Tuberculosis beds. Individuals requiring long term care or short term restorative care are admitted to our nursing facility beds. Treatment and general care are provided by your physician and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. Individuals with or suspected of having Tuberculosis are admitted to our Tuberculosis unit.

Time: Fridays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (NOT AVAILABLE: March 25/April 1)

Limitation: 1 person/time shift

DUTIES: Volunteers are needed to transport patients in wheelchairs to and from activities, help out with activities, and other related duties. Sample volunteer jobs available: activity helpers, playing ukulele or piano, help residents do crafts, play Hanafuda or Mah Jong.

[Required: Covered shoes and appropriate clothing]


*Lyon Arboretum (Manoa Valley)

[For All levels] [Every 1st Saturday of the month]

Are you interested in plants and people? The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum offers a numerous volunteer opportunities in the areas of educational programming, conservation, propagation, garden maintenance, and more. You can have a fulfilling experience while helping to further our mission of education and to the broader community and supporting education service activities for a diverse audience.

Some of the great benefits of being a volunteer at Lyon Arboretum is serving your community and nature, working in a beautiful environment and the joy of working with and meeting people with similar interests.

Time: (Check-in 8:30 am) 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

DUTIES: Assist grounds staff with projects; maintaining gardens, trails, removing invasive species, or help in the lo’i (taro patch) [physical work involved].

[Required: Waiver form]


*Manoa CottageResidential Care Hom [Kaimuki]

[200-level and higher]

We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care administered by a team highly trained, professional and (most importantly) caring staff. Certified Nurse Aides provide 24/7 assistance with activities of daily living. Licensed nurses work with a team of health care professionals to attend to the medical needs of each individual resident. Our activities and events coordinators plan daily activities, special events and resident outings according to the wishes and abilities of the individual. Each day homemade meals are prepared from scratch, by our Chefs, according to the nutritional needs and desires of the resident. Manoa Cottage is a small locally owned and operated family company that takes great pride in the quality of care provided to our residents.

Time: To be announced

DUTIES: Assist director with activities – exercise & games with the seniors; Share conversation with the residents.

[Required: TB test clearance form]


*River of Life Mission

[200-level and higher]

The Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization feeding hundreds of hungry people daily who come from all walks of life. We receive no state or federal funds. Most of our income comes from contributions of individuals, churches and businesses. Some funding comes from private foundations or grants. We greatly appreciate the financial support and in-kind donations from our generous donors.

Time: (April 1st – May 27th) 8:45 am – 11:45 am

Limitation: 3 persons per day

DUTIES: Assist with plating and serving food plates in the dining room; food preparation: cutting vegetables, making salads, cutting cakes/pies, etc.; clean-up of dining area.

[Required: Covered shoes and appropriate clothing]




Bank of Hawaii Community Walk

[For 200-level or higher]

Bank of Hawaii started the annual Community Walk to support local nonprofit organizations who lacked the resources to hold a walk of their own. The Live Kōkua Community Walk is just another way in which Bank of Hawaii demonstrates its longstanding commitment to make a positive impact in the communities where we live, work and raise our families.

Since the inception of the Bank of Hawaii Community Walk in 2007, employees have raised more than $1 million to help our communities.

When: Saturday, April 2, 2016

Time: 6:30 am – 10:30 am

DUTIES: Friday: To be announced

Saturday: Course marshals, passing out water at finish line, staging start and finish

volunteers and park beautification.

[Required: Waiver form, covered shoes]


AIDS Walk (Life Foundation)

[For All levels]

Welcome to the 25th annual Honolulu AIDS Walk! It is estimated that over 5,000 people will walk together on Sunday, April 17th at Kapiolani Park in beautiful Waikiki. The Honolulu AIDS Walk is an easy 5K that raises funds to support Life Foundation, Hawaii’s oldest and largest AIDS organization. The Life Foundation provides free services to our local community through its HIV Prevention Services: Education, Counseling, Condom Distribution, HIV and Hepatitis C Rapid Testing. We also provide Care Services to our clients through: Housing Assistance, Nursing Care, Mental Health Support, Native Hawaiian Services, Emergency Food Pantry, Hot Meals Program, and Peer Support Groups.

See more at:

When: Sunday, April 17, 2016

Location: Queen Kapiolani Park/near Honolulu Zoo (Kapahulu Ave.)

Time: (estimated time) 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

DUTIES: Cheer on the participants (make sure they follow the walk path), assist with clean-up and break-down of tents.