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.


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. HELP encourages students to serve more hours at one or more sites


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

At the end of each term, you will receive a digital service-learning badge that corresponds to the number of hours you worked. Any school or employer can view your badge on the HELP website, or your own website, along with a description of it.

There are three levels of badge awards:

  1. Green = 6 hours
  2. Purple = 10 hours
  3. Blue = 15+ hours











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. 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 write about your experiences 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.





1. Beach Clean-Up with Waikiki Aquarium & Hard Rock Café

Help remove rubbish from Ala Moana Beach Park

[For all levels]



2. Recycling Plastic Caps/Lids


  [Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.) has organized plastic caps and lids recycling in Hawai`i since 2009 with the help of various partners. The purpose of the plastic caps and lids recycling campaign in Hawai`i is to help save sea birds.]

Help with cleaning and sorting plastic caps/lids ready for recycling in order to help save sea birds!

[For all levels]




1. Great Aloha Run Expo 2014

[The Great Aloha Run has accomplished and achieved many milestones in its 30-year history.  It was the first largest first-time running event in the state with over 12,000 individuals signing up for the event in its first year. The Great Aloha Run has also been recognized nationally as one of the top “100 Great Road Races” by Runner’s World Magazine. 

  Over the past 29 years, the Great Aloha Run, Hawaii’s largest participatory race, has raised over $10 million for over 150 non-profit health and human service organizations and community groups throughout Hawaii, such as: D.A.R.E., Girl Scout Council, Leeward Special Olympics, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MWR Facilities, United Cerebral Palsy of Hawaii, the Variety School of Hawaii, Kaimuki YMCA, Lanakila Senior Center, Hawaii Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition, and many more!]

Help assemble race packets and pass out to race participants and help out staff with various other jobs at the Great Aloha Run Expo.

[For intermediate level and higher]



2. Sharon’s Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy

  [Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii provides direct services to individuals with seizure disorders. It is estimated that over 15,000 Hawaii resident have epilepsy and over 75,000 people are touched by it. For over 30 years, the Epilepsy Foundation of Hawaii has provided information and educational services to individuals and organizations interested in learning more about epilepsy.]

Prep-day & packet stuffing (put numbers and flyers in runners’ packets).  Be course Marshals – direct walkers, runners and bikers along the course, pass out water, cheer on participants.

[For all levels]



1. Palolo Elementary School

[All duties for all levels, except for a, d, f]

a. Teacher’s Aide (Kindergarten to 1st grade)

Assist teachers in the classroom.


b. Library Aide

Assist library staff reshelf books, restock students’ supplies, categorize students’ work, etc.

c. Cafeteria Monitors

(Kindergarten – Gr. 1) / (Gr. 3 – 5)

Help monitor students during lunch break.  Socialize with the children.


d. Enrichment Program

Assist students with reading, writing, math, etc.


e. Garden Work (outdoors)

Help weed/clear out the vegetable gardens


f. Kama’aina Kids Program

[Kama‘aina Kids is a private, non-profit, multi-service organization dedicated to serving children and their families through quality childcare programs. Our services include, but are not limited to, preschool programs, before & afterschool programs, day camps, environmental education programs, enrichment programs, sports clinics, convention childcare and hotel programs.]

Help with tutoring students (reading, math, English, etc.)

[For intermediate levels and higher]



2. Noelani Elementary School –   A+ Program

[“The goal of the A+ Program is to reduce the high incidence of latchkey children and provide affordable after-school child care services to children in the public elementary schools whose parents work, attend school or are in job training programs.”

“The program starts immediately after the close of the school day.  The A+ Program is NOT an extension of the regular school day.  While some structure is necessary for order and control, activities will be offered in a comparatively informal setting where children are given the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities.  Children will be encouraged to use after-school time to complete homework assignments.”]

Help teach students in A+ program (grades: Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Volunteers will be responsible for teaching children cultural things, such as arts & crafts, origami, games, songs, calligraphy, etc.  Each class will have around 30-40 students.

[For intermediate level and higher]



3. Japanese Conversation Class


Teach introductory Japanese for conversational use.  [No teaching experience needed.]

[For all levels - (Japanese speakers only)]


4. Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition

[Japan Wizards Competition is a challenging, fun-filled academic team competition for Hawaii's high school students that tests students' general knowledge of Japan and Japan-related fields.  The competition is sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization with the mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of the United States and Japan through the unique and special perspective of Hawaii.]

Volunteers will help test Hawaii’s high school students’ general knowledge of Japan and Japan-related fields within an academic team competition!

[For all levels – (Japanese students only)]



5. “Japan in a Suitcase” Program

Sponsored by Japan American Society of Hawaii (JASH)

  [Japan in a Suitcase (JIAS) is a free program that teaches the concept of different perspectives to elementary school students. We visit classes and share Japanese artifacts such as an elementary school backpack (randoseru), textbooks, and yukata. We also bring photos of life in Japan and introduce basic Japanese greetings, gestures, and games.

  JIAS is divided into three separate programs - JIAS I for kindergarten and grade 1, JIAS II for grades 2 and 3, and JIAS III for grades 4 and 5.  Presentations range from 35 minutes to one hour.  In each, students are encouraged to ask questions while they explore, gaining valuable lessons on critical thinking.  They learn about similarities and differences between themselves and people in Japan, and are reminded throughout that "different" does not equal "wrong".]

Visit classes and share Japanese artifacts, such as an elementary school backpack (randoseru), textbooks, and yukata.  Share personal photos of life in Japan and introduce basic Japanese greetings, gestures, and games.

[For all levels – (Japanese students only)]




1. Hale Ola Kino 

(Rehabilitation and Nursing Home Facility)

[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.]

Help with activities and share conversations, interests and hobbies with the residents.

[For intermediate levels and higher]



2. Islands Hospice

[As a nonprofit organization, Islands Hospice is dedicated to serving our community, our patients, and our families with a total commitment to excellence in Hospice care, regardless of ability to pay.  Our patients and families come to us with unique feelings and apprehension as they face end-of-life concerns.]

Help with making bereavement cards (cards to send to families whose family members have passed away) & make origami.

[For intermediate levels and higher]