Youth Service Hawaii

Engaging youth as active, compassionate citizens through service and education

Our Programs


You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Mahatma Ghandi

Apply to attend the 2013 Be The Change Workshop today!

Students learn about some of our communities' most critical needs and then take action with others by developing projects/grant proposals that will help solve these problems. Students attend a workshop during which they hear from a variety of non profit organizations, community activists and others working with social issues facing our community. They then devise a plan/project that addresses at least one of the issues. Students present their ideas to community partners at the workshop. The Youth Philanthrophy Board makes grants of up to $750 per proposal for projects.

Projects are proposed by school groups of students and teachers of grades 4-12, and non-profit after school programs of grades 4-12 are eligible to apply.

Despite these hard economic times, kids and their teachers were still able to work together to put their knowledge and experience to the test by solving community problems. With help from the Youth Philanthropy Board and our generous sponsor, Na Lei Aloha Foundation, projects proposed by both kids and teachers were funded.

To find out more about the 2010 awardees, click HERE. Or check out some of the great things Holy Nativity School is doing with their 2010 award here: HNS Parent Bulletin 10 13 2010.pdf.

To find out more about past "Be the Change" Grant Awardees, click HERE.


This annual showcase brings together teachers and students involved in Service Learning to share their experiences and to learn more about Service Learning. It is also a great way to show the general public the benefits and importance of service learning. Students and teachers from across the state give examples for others to learn from. Students play a key role both in presenting at each booth at the Showcase, which is held at Windward Mall. The Showcase is held in the Spring each year.


Youth Service Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Department of Education partnered to deliver SFASH, a sustained professional development program to train fourth and fifth grade teachers and interns to teach science. The purpose of this project was to develop environmental stewards and science proficient teachers and students, who as informed decision makers will make choices that positively impact the terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems and ahupua'a of Hawai'i. It integrated critical thinking and inquiry skills while using a science and ahupua'a (watershed)-based curriculum and a service learning teaching and learning methodology. Field experts guided the teachers to apply science concepts where monitoring techniques were taught and used to assess the condition of habitats followed by restoration activities.

Some quotes from teacher participants...

“Now I see that students get much more out of our science objectives when they are solving a problem they care about and have taken ownership to solve.”


“I learned that students are more compassionate about environmental issues around them than I had previously thought.  When given the right opportunities they come up with insightful questions and  come up with ways to study it.”


“Using the inquiry process was better than reading out of a text book and watching videos, because you get to see it with your own eyes.”

Questions? Contact Merle Okino O'Neill at


Each year, Youth Service Hawaii focuses on training related to a key aspect of service learning, such as Literacy and Civic Engagement. YSH has worked in collaboration with the Department of Education to offer workshops given by Cathryn Berger Kaye, a nationally recognized expert on service learning, in the following areas: Literacy Through Civic Engagement, Strategies for Success with Literacy and Educating the Head, Hand & Heart Through Service Learning (an introduction to Service Learning for K-12 teachers).

A Service-Learning Summer Institute, giving teachers the information and inspiration to take action for their school and community in advancing service learning. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to support teachers and students in developing a service-learning curriculum that addresses specific topics of focus.

This teacher support group meets bi-monthly during the year to share ideas on service learning. The purpose of the group is for teachers to mentor one another, becoming resources to each other in planning and problem solving. By supporting each other, the group hopes to increase the number of teachers and students that know about and become involved in service learning. The group also helps develops service learning leadership among teachers. We welcome both service learning experts and novices to join.

To join the teacher's group or for more information on any of the programs or events listed, contact us at

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