Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer Barrett often finds herself inspired by the passion and creativity individuals bring to Hoʻōla Nā Pua.

In the midst of Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s exciting phase of kickstarting awareness campaigns, garnering funding support, and building our volunteer base, it is all too easy to lose sight of the simplicity of our goal. Like the story of the boy and the starfish that inspired our logo, ultimately, Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s mission revolves around the value of the individual—that all of the staff and volunteer efforts matter to that one life that is turned around.

During her time with Hoʻōla Nā Pua, Tabling and Event Volunteer Manager Jennifer Barrett has found this individual-oriented approach to be characteristic of her experience. Through her position, she interacts with both interested community members and committed volunteers. When asked about her favorite aspect of volunteering, she points to her fellow volunteers who make her job a rewarding experience. In a recent volunteer meeting, Jennifer recalls being inspired by the passion and creativity that each person brought to the table.

Volunteer Spotlight

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She says, “Everyone who comes to the organization has something unique and special to give. Regardless of whether they volunteer 100 hours or once a month, everyone has their own special networks and gifts. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a coherent group of people.”

Similarly, the acknowledgement of individual worth—the realization that there are faces and stories behind the statistics—is often what draws new volunteers to Hoʻōla Nā Pua. Since a large part of Jennifer’s duties involve organizing volunteers for information tables at community events, she finds herself constantly networking with potential supporters.

She observes, “The thing I hear most is that people are appalled and recognize that these are our kids. People really want to get involved to protect these kids and make sure they’re safe from predators.”

Unfortunately, progress happens only one step at a time, and for Jennifer, one of the hardest aspects of her experience has been the frustration of only being able to do a limited amount in response to such an insidious problem. Yet, through the teamwork required to combat this evil, she has discovered how fulfilling it is to participate in a cause that is bigger than herself.

Like many others who partner with Hoʻōla Nā Pua, Jennifer has gone from zero to sixty within the past few months. Her connection with the anti-sex trafficking movement has transformed from initial indignation into her pivotal role in Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s community outreaches. For those seeking to become involved, she recommends sticking to one’s talents and passions. Just as she has found her niche in the administrative side of volunteer work, Jennifer encourages new volunteers to use their natural resources and individual gifts to make a difference. Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s needs are as diverse as our volunteer base, and with each new face comes an opportunity to see unprecedented change manifest itself in the lives of the girls we seek to serve.

Written by Elisabeth Kurashige | Volunteer

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