Carl’s volunteer commitment exemplifies his philosophy: “If you’re not a part of the solution, you could be part of the problem. I decided to be part of the solution.”
When in comes to volunteer positions, Carl King is a hidden hero. As he readily admits, a large part of his volunteer duties involve doing things around the house so that his wife, Maureen, can focus on her responsibilities of researching grants. He also claims the role of taxi driver, taking her to the various meetings in which she takes part.
In his own right, however, Carl is a consistent source of man power at Hoʻōla Nā Pua events, helping with set up and take down, directing traffic, and taking on the role of parking attendant. Moreover, because of his experience with managing rental units, he anticipates taking an active role in the construction aspects of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s future home. Interestingly, the Kings’ versatile and wholehearted contribution to Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s mission grew out of a former involvement with Teen Challenge in Montana. Given the lack of a local branch of that organization, they soon found themselves looking for a new way to invest in the lives of local youth.
Although Carl was previously acquainted with the issue of sex trafficking, he says, “Since I became a volunteer, I’ve learned about how severe the problem is in Hawaii. We have everything it takes to create a demand right here—tourism, the military, business conventions—and because there is such a high demand, someone is going to bring the supply. Often people don’t realize there’s a problem, so we try and chat with everyone we know. Occasionally, we hear the magic words: what can we do to help?”
Those who are genuine in this inquiry will find themselves among likeminded company. Speaking of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s core team, Carl says, “What I enjoy about these people is their dedication and sincerity. They take on the challenges in front of them.” He also points out that the diverse set of talents represented in the core team enables the organization to be focused, and yet multidimensional, both of which are attributes that he admires.
Given the scope of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s endeavors, Carl recommends that new volunteers become proactive about staying involved with the growing organization, regularly keeping up with what is going on in their area. For example, regardless of whether he is able to attend, he makes it a point to know the date of the next volunteer training, enabling him to spread accurate information when talking to potential volunteers. Although simple, acts such as these underscore the significance of taking a proactive approach towards volunteer involvement.
As Carl points out, there is an undeniable need for services to address the trauma of sexual exploitation. This need will only be fulfilled when the community takes active responsibility in pursuing solutions. Regardless of the magnitude or minuteness of the task, Carl’s volunteer commitment exemplifies his philosophy: “If you’re not a part of the solution, you could be part of the problem. I decided to be part of the solution.”
Written by Elisabeth Kurashige | Volunteer