Vacation Volunteering: Hawaiian Style

By MC Kelby

According to Donald Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, "More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits."

In study findings verified by the New Richmond News and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the health benefits of volunteering include the following:

• It benefits your long term health
• It reduces your stress
• It increases your self-worth

A press release issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service acknowledged that "The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health. The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease."

Along with these health benefits of volunteering, you might want to consider a volunteer vacation. You may even be able to deduct a volunteer vacation on your taxes.

According to Smart Money Magazine, ʺIf you're really going abroad to work, your entire trip could be tax deductible, including airfare as well as program and visa fees. The catch: Tacking on a few extra days to sightsee might mean you can't claim the whole cost of the trip."

Bud Philbrook, CEO of Global Volunteers, an organization that sends out volunteers and supports about 100 projects world-wide, stated in Smart Money, "Typically, you'd have to be volunteering a full 40-hour week, leaving you only evenings and weekends for traditional tourism."

Also, Smart Money advises the following: "Consult a tax advisor to find out if your trip qualifies and keep in mind that your friend's donations to the nonprofit you're working with could be tax deductible for them, too."

The volunteer vacation possibilities and locations are endless.

How about a volunteer vacation in Hawaii?

The Preserve Hawaii website lists volunteer opportunities by Island. To research possible volunteer opportunities in Hawaii, go to:

There are various types of Hawaiian volunteer programs, including:

• Friends of Hakalau Forest offers volunteer service trips at:

• The Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a monthly volunteer forest restoration project. The Park has additional programs as well. For additional information, go to:

• In Oahu, Friends of Hanauma Bay has a monthly beach clean-up.

A personal favorite is Habitat for Humanity. HH offers a program called "Women Build." No experience is necessary. According to the Habitat for Humanity website "Women Build projects are regularly held across the United States and in more than 30 countries."

There are several Women Build projects in Hawaii. See the following link for additional information:

So for the vacation of a lifetime, think about combining a volunteer opportunity to see the world!


Holmquist, J. Volunteering aids vitality | New Richmond News | New Richmond, Wisconsin . New Richmond News | New Richmond, Wisconsin . Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Preserve Hawaii. Preserve Hawaii. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Press Release: Volunteering Produces Health Benefits. Corporation for National and Community Service. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Volunteering: small acts, big change - JSOnline. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Breaking news, sports, business, watchdog journalism in Wisconsin. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Volunteer Opportunities. Global Volunteers. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Welcome to Women Build! -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l. Habitat for Humanity Int'l. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Reviewed March 29, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith