State seeks ‘outstanding’ volunteers

The Hawai‘i Commission for National and Community Service, along with Gov. Linda Lingle, recently announced they will honor the outstanding achievements of volunteers across the state through the Governor’s Volunteer Recognition Awards.

“This is the first time that the commission will recognize the achievements and contributions of volunteers in the communities throughout Hawai‘i,” Stacy Higa, commission chair, said. “The Governor’s Volunteer Recognition Award acknowledges individuals and organizations for their dedication, commitment and determination in promoting and supporting volunteerism in Hawai‘i.”

The award is the highest honor the commission can give, Higa added, with the purpose of inspiring people to make positive impacts on the lives of others.

“Volunteers create a positive impact in the lives of many of our residents and visitors, and it is important to acknowledge the substantial commitment of time, talents and resources these caring individuals, nonprofit groups and corporations invest in giving back and improving the quality of life in Hawai‘i,” Lingle said in a statement. “The assistance provided by extraordinary volunteers allows for greater opportunities to resolve challenges and provides our residents with hope for the future.”

Brysen Poulton, commissioner and spokesman, said he encourages people all around the state, especially on the Neighbor Islands, to participate in the nomination process.

“We are first and foremost a state commission,” Poulton said. “It’s very important to us to extend our reach to where we’ve never been before.”

Poulton said the awards will help the commission extend its reach into the community.

“People know we are a state commission,” Poulton said. “Our objective is to provide service and encourage community service to the people of Kaua‘i, just as we would to O‘ahu, the Big Island and Maui.”

Nominations for this year’s awards are for individuals or organizations who made significant service contributions during the 2007 calendar year; nominations are due by Aug. 8. The awards will be presented at a banquet on Oct. 17 at the Ala Moana Hotel on O‘ahu.

Nomination criteria are based on the four pillars of volunteerism: identifying a need and showing how it was applied to human needs, education, environmentalism and public safety.

Other pillars of volunteerism include the innovation used to approach those needs, how mobilization was used to rally other volunteers and how the project displayed endurance or staying power that extends beyond a one-time activity.

There are categories for kindergarten children all the way to seniors ages 60-plus, as well as organizations and businesses.

Poulton said the commission has received many applications in the seniors category, but not too many for children, young adults or businesses.

“We want to foster and encourage community service in the up and coming generation,” Poulton said. “It’s one of the reasons we’ve established this award.”

With the deadline fast approaching, Poulton encourages the public to take immediate action in the nomination process.

Established in 1994, the commission serves as the governor’s advisory board on maters relating to community service and volunteerism. It administers the National AmeriCorps Program in Hawai‘i and is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the state of Hawai‘i.

For nomination applications and other information, visit

• Rachel Gehrlein, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or


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