Volunteer Spotlight: Caitlin Caldwell

Caitlin Caldwell’s volunteer experience began when her friend, Jennifer Barrett, encouraged Caitlin to accompany her to a Hoʻōla Nā Pua volunteer orientation in January. Shocked by the proximity and prevalence of sex trafficking in the islands, both friends decided to get involved.

As a sailor in the U.S. Navy, Caitlin says, “We get a lot of training regarding sex trafficking overseas. But we don’t really talk about it happening here.” Besides her training through Hoʻōla Nā Pua, she credits Linda Smith’s book, Renting Lacy, as being key in her understanding of domestic sex trafficking. Like many others who she has encountered, Caitlin says that the heart-wrenching reality of this tragedy motivates people to take action.

Currently, Caitlin can be found manning tables at many of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s outreach events. As an outreach volunteer, Caitlin’s responsibilities have taken her around the island to a variety of venues and events, including M Nightclub and a Mother’s Day high tea. She enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and points out that this first step of raising awareness is key to breaking cycles and stopping problems before they start. Some of her more memorable outreach events include attending a movie showing for Asha-Nepal and talking to a community of retired nuns, who were passionate about helping. Additionally, she stays involved with Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s other events, having taken part in the fourth annual Hapalua Half-Marathon and the recent Honolulu AIDS Walk, which were both enriching experiences and community awareness catalysts.

Caitlin is also assuming the role of Windward Church & Community Outreach Coordinator and will be taking a pivotal role in Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s second annual gala event in October. Bridging the gap between volunteerism and work, she now seeks to bring training regarding sex trafficking to families on base.

For those who desire to put their awareness into action, Caitlin advises, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions. Instead, learn as much as you can about the issue.” Following her own advice, Caitlin has used the last seven months to go from audience member to the front lines of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s outreach team.

Written by Elisabeth Kurashige | Volunteer

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