Volunteers are the heart of our program.
There are a variety of ways to get involved at Family Promise of Hawai’i. Currently, volunteers from approximately 65 of our partner congregations shelter, feed, and create a compassionate, enabling environment for our families. You can get involved at your church by bringing dinner or spending the night with our families. If your congregation is not yet part of the Family Promise of Hawai’i network and would like to join please contact us. If you are not involved with a church, there are definitely other ways to volunteer.
Host congregations are our congregations of all faiths who help our families by providing them with meals (dinner and breakfast) and a safe place to sleep at night. The families arrive at the host congregation around 5:30 p.m. and share a meal with the volunteers at 6:00 p.m . After dinner the families spend time playing games, doing homework or talking with the volunteers. The families then spend the night at the host congregation site. A volunteer (or two) remains on site in case of an emergency. In the morning, the families are provided breakfast and then leave for the family center, school, or work by 7:00 a.m.
Support congregations support our host congregations by providing meals and coverage volunteers to the host site. For congregations who are unable to have Family Promise on their campus, this is a great way to get involved with the program.
Overnight coverage is a need which helps our congregations house our families. A volunteer is necessary to stay the night with our families on the hosting campus to aid in case of an emergency. This opportunity has an age requirement.
Since Family Promise is a 24 hour program, we are always looking for volunteers to help provide Day Coverage at our family centers in Kailua and in Honolulu. Our family centers are open 365 days a year from 7am – 5pm. This opportunity is often an on-call basis and does have an age requirement.
We would also be delighted if individuals or families simply want to come in and hang out for a few hours. Many come in to read books or play games with the children. We welcome you to bring family or friends to come in together; we are a family oriented organization so children are always welcome. You can always drop in, but if you call prior to coming we will be able to tell you how many families are in that day.
Youth can volunteer at our family centers helping with yard work, playing with the children, and other tasks around the office.
Our family centers are a varied environment, from very quiet sometimes to very active other times.
For more information please contact our volunteer coordinator Whitney Blandford by email at [email protected] or by phone at 548-7478 (Honolulu) 261-7478 (Kailua). We would love for you to join us and help end homelesseness!
Reflections from a Volunteer
By: Judy Keith, Family Promise Coordinator at Nu’uanu Congregational Church
From the first time I heard about Family Promise, at the Unitarian Church across Pali Highway from my home congregation, Nuuanu Congregational Church, I have been excited about it. I remember thinking “What a fascinating concept!”, and hoping that it would be something that we could support. It was another year or so before the Honolulu rotation started and we began to host. After six years, I can honestly say that I am so very grateful to Family Promise. Perhaps you think that is an odd thing to say. You might be thinking “Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t Family Promise be grateful to its volunteers?”
Well, of course. They are, and they show it in many ways. But why am I thankful to Family Promise? Very simple: Family Promise gives me a way to live out my faith. I am no scholar of world religions, but I am very sure that one tenet that is held in common is that we are to reach out to those in need. And most of us do that. We give our old clothing to Goodwill, we write a check to the American Cancer Society, we bring in canned goods for the food drive. And that is all good. But by volunteering with Family Promise, we take it to an entirely different level. We make personal connections with the people that we are helping. By serving and sharing a meal, sleeping over at church, or just sharing a word of encouragement, we are able to make a real difference in peoples lives. We touch them, and they touch us. And we are all changed by it.
I have many memories from Family Promise. Some are frustrating, like when you have volunteers prepare a special meal & hardly anyone is on time for dinner. Some are funny – in retrospect – like the time I locked myself out when hosting at another church. (Not my finer moment, and thank you Chaplain Dave for coming to my rescue!) But the ones that I hold closest are the simplest ones, like a toddler giving me a hug and patting me, ever so gently, on the back.
So that is why I am thankful to Family Promise. They give me the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives. And because it is such a well run, well organized program, it isn’t even very hard to do. The staff supports us every step of the way. And the thanks that we receive on Sunday morning, as we wave goodbye to the families reinforces that, yes, we are doing a good thing. Thank you, Family Promise for making it possible.