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Program options

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Ready to take on a new path? Apply Now!

Join our Volunteer Community

Kalani is a volunteer-supported, educational retreat center that celebrates nature, culture, and wellness. During your extended stay, you'll learn new skills, make lifelong friends, and explore the Big Island. Our vibrant volunteer community furthers Kalani's non-profit mission, while giving individuals the opportunity to help run a unique yoga and activity center.

Program Options


Kalani's diverse community is comprised of guests, volunteers, and staff from around the world. Join like-minded individuals who value service, collaboration, and mindfulness, while living in harmony on 120-acres of preserved land on Hawaii Island. The perks of being a volunteer at Kalani are bountiful. Your tuition includes: camping or lodging on-site; three freshly-prepared meals each day, use of Kalani's amenities - including pool, hot tub, sauna, and "jungle gym"; classes and activities in Hawaiian culture, nature tours, yoga, dance, arts, meditation and performances.

You must be 21 years+ to apply. We require you to have up-to-date medical insurance throughout the duration of your stay.

Volunteer

As member of the Kalani ‘ohana, your service to guests and fellow volunteers will teach you new skills (or let you brush up on some old ones). With 3 days off per week, you have ample time to explore Hawaii, take inspiring classes, and practice self care - while enjoying campus amenities.

  • 4 days / 30 hours of service shifts per week
  • 2 - 3 month commitment
  • Choice of camping or lodging
  • Lowest tuition rate

Sabbatical

Kalani's Sabbatical Program is the best of our guest and volunteer experiences rolled into one fun and relaxing month. Whether you have a writing or creative project to explore, want to take time to discover who you truly are, or simply need a retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation, you'll find a nourishing home here. Connect with new friends while on sabbatical, and return home refreshed and ready for your next chapter.

  • 2 days / 15 hours of service shifts per week
  • 1 month commitment
  • Six hours of massage or aquatic bodywork
  • Private lodge room & bathroom
  • Premium tuition rate

Skilled Trade

Skilled Trade scholarships are awarded by application and are available in a variety of disciplines, including construction, maintenance, vehicle and small engine mechanics, IT and culinary arts (to name a few). If you are interested in the option, please submit the volunteer application, the Skilled Trade Scholarship application, and a resume detailing applicable experience. Contact us today to see if you may be eligible for a Skilled Trade Scholarship.

  • At least 2 years professional experience
  • 4 days / 30 hours of service shifts per week
  • Choice of camping or lodging
  • Tuition waived (after 1st month)
  • Resume required

The Volunteer Experience

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I learned how to have fun again.

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Kalani changed my life by giving me inspiration to travel and confidence to be who I am.

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Everyone has been so friendly and open. I can't wait to come back.

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This is nurturing for body and soul.

Volunteer Benefits

Join the Kalaniverse

Connect with like-minded individuals from across the planet.

EXPERIENCE SERVICE

Allow service - to self and other - to set you on a new course.

UNPLUG IN NATURE

Turn off your devices and turn on your senses.

EXPLORE HAWAII

The Puna District is home to some of the island's most spectacular natural sights, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

ENJOY OUR AMENITIES

Pool, spa, sauna, bodywork, and 50+ weekly classes during your ample time off from volunteer service.

SELF CARE

We provide a journal to document your transformation. Heal in solitude on our hiking trails, together on group outings, and receive reduced rates for bodywork.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Our buddy system and welcoming community will help you get acclimated.

ON-SITE EDUCATION

Learn different aspects of our retreat center operation or participate in an extended training.

FOOD!

Three meals a day at our Dining Lanai - plus cereal, fruit, coffee, and toast when you need a pick-me-up.

Volunteer Departments

Volunteers provide service in our Kitchen, Housekeeping, Landscaping, Maintenance, and Permaculture Departments. Satisfaction depends on your attitude and intention, and growth comes from carrying out these tasks with a spirit of willing service. Past volunteers have found their assignments rewarding and a source of personal growth. All positions in our service departments can be physically strenuous, and we require you to be of sound physical and mental health. All departments may occasionally ask you to lift 50 pounds. Individuals with health challenges are encouraged to contact us to discuss possible volunteer placements before applying.

Note: All volunteers are required to provide proof of health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay.

Kitchen  Department
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Kitchen

Preparing fresh, wholesome meals for your ‘ohana.

Put your culinary skills to use, or learn new skills, by creating nutritious and delicious food for everyone! During your shifts, you will be expected to handle sharp objects such as knives and food processors, handle various raw meats and prepare various salad bar items. Be ready for a fast paced, deadline oriented department - but also be ready for spontaneous dance parties.

Kitchen volunteers are assigned a variety of tasks (e.g. preparing salads, serving guests, washing dishes), and are rostered to serve 4 shifts a week. Daily shifts are from 6 AM - 1:30 PM, or 1:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The kitchen service schedule operates 7 days a week, and volunteers are scheduled for a mix of shifts each week.

Requirements:

  • Ablity to lift up to 50lbs
  • Comfortable using sharp objects (knives, food processor blades, etc)
  • Comfortable handling meat (raw and cooked)
  • Must provide a recent TB (tuberculosis) test
HOUSEKEEPING  Department
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HOUSEKEEPING

Keeping our campus tidy and clean

The Housekeeping Department ensures that guests have clean and comfortable accommodations throughout their stay. Housekeepers typically work in teams of 2 - 4, servicing guest rooms and common spaces across campus, using eco-friendly, plant based products whenever possible.

Housekeeping volunteers are assigned a variety of tasks, including making beds, vacuuming/mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning common areas, and washing/folding laundry. Volunteers are scheduled to serve 4 shifts each week. Daily shifts are from 6 AM - 12:30 PM or 8:30 AM - 4 PM. The Housekeeping Department operates 7 days a week, and volunteers are scheduled for a mix of shifts each week.

Requirements:

  • Ablity to lift up to 50lbs
  • Ability to work as a team and solo
  • Ability to complete assignments unsupervised
  • Detail and quality oriented
LANDSCAPING  Department
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LANDSCAPING

Caring for the beautiful ‘aina (land)

Landscaping volunteers keep Kalani's grounds looking beautiful. They are involved in maintaining existing landscape, removing dead or non-indigenous trees, propagating new plantings, weeding and clearing brush.

Maintaining 120 acres is hard work and requires you to be out in the elements for most of your shift, whether rain, sun, or snow - just kidding it doesn't snow at Kalani! Temperatures average in the high 80's with humidity during the summer and rain is more frequent during the winter. Service is based outdoors, in a team of 3-10 volunteers. Volunteers in the Landscaping Department are scheduled to serve 4 shifts a week, from 6 AM to 12:30 PM - Monday through Thursday.

Requirements:

  • Ablity to lift up to 50lbs
  • Must be comfortable working outdoors, rain or shine
  • Must be comfortable with bugs and other critters
MAINTENANCE  Department
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MAINTENANCE

Updating and upgrading campus facilities.

The Maintenance crew is responsible for the construction and upkeep of Kalani's buildings, utilities, appliances, and vehicles. Some tasks include general facilities construction, electrical, plumbing, repairs, and other duties that help Kalani function smoothly. Related tasks include prepping and painting buildings, renovating guest and staff accommodations, and making minor repairs.

Crew members typically serve solo or in small groups of 1-3 people, working across property. Maintenance volunteers are rostered to serve 4 shifts a week. Shifts are 8:30 PM to 4 PM. The Maintenance service schedule operates 7 days a week, with the majority of volunteers serving Monday to Thursday.

Requirements:

  • Ablity to lift up to 50lbs
  • Comfortable working with power tools (drills, saws, etc)
  • A working knowledge or interest in construction and utilities upkeep is encouraged
Permaculture  Department
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Permaculture

Sowing Kalani Honua’s sustainable future.

The Permaculture Department oversees a wide array of tasks including: maintenance and expansion of Kalani’s herb and vegetable gardens, plant nursery, and fruit orchards; harvesting and delivery of produce; hosting educational workshops; operating floral services, managing waste streams, maintaining and processing/distributing Kalani’s apiary products, and implementing integrated pest management practices.

Permaculture is a means of service to one’s self and planet, and is a healing of the sacred inside each of us. Volunteers agree to act and serve in the spirit of Aloha ‘Aina - a manner that reflects the Permaculture ethics of Earth care, people care, and fair share. Service shifts are Monday through Thursday, from 6:30 AM - 12:30 PM, with an extra 2 hours of independent work each week. Permaculture service occurs rain or shine and can include factors such as dirt, heat, and insects (fire ants, centipedes, mosquitoes, etc.), that cause physical discomfort. Volunteers in Permaculture understand and accept these factors as part of their role rather than as an impediment.
Requirements:

  • Be timely, work to create a positive workplace, and follow direction
  • Ask questions to clarify confusion
  • Follow the Four Agreements in all work interactions
  • Physical tasks including: weeding, planting, use and maintenance of landscaping tools, heavy lifting, and produce harvesting.
  • Skills, education and experience in permaculture, land design or management, organic agriculture, apiary work, environmental sciences or other related fields are preferred.

Campus Living

From campground to cabana, outside-in living will renew your spirit

For indoor accommodations, Kalani provides: bed linens, towel, dresser, lamp, fan, and rubbish bin. For volunteers who camp, Kalani provides bed linens (twin sized only), towel, dresser, and rubbish bin. WiFi access is available in designated locations across campus for those that wish to stay connected via mobile device. You may want to avoid bringing valuables or excessive items. Please note: housing is basic, rustic, and fairly small in size - so, get ready for jungle living!

In addition to your hale (pronounced HAH-LAY, meaning home), volunteers have access to shared lounge areas that include a flatscreen television for movie screening and two shared computers with internet access.

Lodging

Volunteers who make a two or three month commitment have the option of staying in a shared room. Each shared room accommodates two to three volunteers, with a shared bathroom. Cabanas are shared accommodations for two volunteers or a couple, and are of similar size to the shared rooms. These simple structures, approximately 15x15 feet, are close to nature and are of a basic design. They feature a unique roofing design with screens on three of the four walls. Bathrooms and showers are within close walking distance.

Camping

Kalani's 4-acre campground is surrounded by lush jungle, papaya trees and lilikoi vines (also known as passionfruit). Camping at Kalani will truly give you an experience of living in communion with the outstanding natural beauty of Hawaii. Wake up to birdsong in the morning and fall asleep to the sound of coqui frogs at night.Tents are set up on raised, 8x8 wooden platforms that keep you off the ground, and 16x16 tarps above protect tents from the elements. Bathrooms and outdoor showers are nearby. Please note: Tent and air mattress or other sleeping accommodation must be supplied by the volunteer. Check out our Volswap for access to departing volunteers' items. There is limited couples camping available.

Long-term

Long-term volunteers can request to be put on the wait list for an A-frame upon arrival, which can take up to 6 months. A-frames accommodate one volunteer each, and allow our volunteer residents to live in a community while enjoying nature. The A-frames are small (about 8 feet by 8 feet), but comfortable. The roof and two walls are made of corrugated metal, while the other two walls are screens. Volunteers personalize their A-frames (with fabric, lights etc.), making this part of our campus an artistic haven. Bathrooms and outdoor showers are located nearby.

Tuition

Tuition fees are contributions which support the overall educational volunteer program. Volunteer perks include: accommodations, meals, classes, excursions, pool/spa and the use of the 120-acre campus. Tuition fees vary according to length of time and accommodations.

Tuition Fees

LengthAccommodationsTuitionCost/Day
1-month (Sabbatical)

Lodging

$2995

$99/Day

2-month

Camping
Lodging

$1,400
$1,800

$23/Day
$30/Day

3-month

Camping
Lodging

$1,650
$1,950

$19/Day
$22/Day

Upon acceptance into the Volunteer Program, a non-refundable deposit of $250 is required to hold your space. In addition to your tuition fee, a $100 security deposit is required upon arrival. This security deposit is held to ensure that the condition of your living space is left clean and with all of its original items. Prior to your departure, there will be a quick inspection of your living space, and, if it looks good, the deposit will be returned to you.

Apply for our volunteer program

Please read our Volunteer FAQ before applying
1
Choose the program for which you are applying. Download and save the application for that program directly to your device. Download Adobe Reader to read and fill out the application. Save the application to your device before filling it out. Click the link below to download the appropriate application PDF form:
2
Fill out the application you downloaded by typing directly into the document, then save the application to your device. Applications are in PDF format; download Adobe Reader to read and fill out the application.Once completed and saved you will be able to upload your application directly to our website.
3
Upload your completed application and a recent, close-up head-shot photo of yourself. If you are applying for a skilled trade position, please complete the application AND e-mail a copy of your resume with your relevant skill set highlighted to the Volunteer Office.
4
Fill out the remainder of the form below as completely as possible and click the SUBMIT APPLICATION button when done. You will be contacted soon after your application has been received and reviewed. The processing fee will not be charged until that time.

Online Application