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Volunteer Program Options
Update: Availability Beginning April 2017
We currently have availability in our camping options for March and beyond and lodging options for March and beyond.
We are currently processing applications for March through May.
For the greatest chance of acceptance into our programs, we recommend applying six months prior to the time you wish to join us.
Those with the most flexibility (timing, department, camping/lodging) may receive priority placement in the volunteer program.
"Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means." - Leo Buscaglia
Kalani's Volunteer Program is much more than a volunteer experience. Volunteers are integrated into dynamic community based on service, mutual respect, open communication, and the Aloha Spirit.
We are a thriving community with over 90 volunteers, taking care of up to 120 guests on 120 acres of beautiful Hawaiian jungle. Please note: we require all volunteers to be 21 years old or older.
Volunteer Program Options
Following are options for your volunteer service experience. Tuition fees are contributions which support the overall educational volunteer program. Volunteers receive many perks, which 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, reflected in the table below.
Volunteers contribute four (4) service shifts per week in an assigned department. Housekeeping, Kitchen, and Maintenance departments operate seven (7) days per week, and have rotating shift schedules, while the Horticulture Department operates Monday through Thursday.
Cost per 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.
Many volunteers wish to stay at Kalani for longer than 3 months. We welcome extension requests once you have been volunteering at Kalani for 1 month and have successfully integrated into the community. Approval of your extension request will be dependent on availability of space, feedback from your department manager, and your relationship with the community.
For indoor accommodations, Kalani will provide: bed linens, towel, dresser, lamp, fan, and rubbish bin. For volunteers who camp, Kalani provides bed linens, towel, 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, two shared computers with internet access, and multiple shared phones.
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 up off the ground, and 16x16 tarps above each platform protects 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. Join our Facebook Group for access departing volunteers' items.
Shared Rooms & Cabanas
Volunteers who make a two or three month commitment have the option of staying in a shared room or camping. Each shared room accommodates two to three volunteers, while several residents share the bathroom.Cabanas are shared accommodations for two volunteers or a couple, and are of similar size to the shared rooms. These simple structures are close to nature and are of a basic design. They are squared at about 15 feet by 15 feet and were designed by a past volunteer to feature a unique roofing design with screen on three of the four walls. Bathrooms and showers are within close walking distance.
Long term volunteers can request to be put on the wait list for an A frame. 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 screen. Volunteers personalize their A-frames (with fabric, lights etc.), making this part of our campus an artistic haven. Bathrooms and outdoor showers are nearby.
Departments and Responsibilities
Volunteers provide service in our Kitchen, Housekeeping, Maintenance and Horticulture 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 occasional 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.
Many of our volunteers have found that International Volunteer Card (IVC) offers effective, low-cost insurance that is suitable for their time at Kalani. IVC also donates a significant portion of their proceeds to humanitarian projects. Click here or on the image below to view further details on IVC and their insurance plan. Please note that travelers insurance is also adequate.
The Housekeeping department ensures that guests and 'ohana (extended family) have clean and comfortable accommodations. We are responsible for keeping the buildings on Kalani property clean and comfortable for all of our visitors, including:
- Cleaning common areas and activity spaces
- Preparing guest rooms
- Providing daily room services to Kalani guests (bed making, fresh towels, etc.)
- Using eco-friendly products as much as possible
- Washing and folding laundry generated by guests and other departments
- Handling any other tasks to maintain a fresh and inviting atmosphere
A typical day for a volunteer in Housekeeping starts at 8:30 am (there is also a 6am shift which more experienced volunteers tend to do). We begin the day by folding linens in our Housekeeping shed, and have a quick debriefing with the Shift Leader to find out what the day will consist of. Volunteers will be asked to make beds, vacuum and mop floors, clean bathrooms, deep clean common areas, tidy up after others, and a variety of other tasks. Occasional lifting of no more than 50 pounds may be asked of you.
Staff in the Housekeeping department typically serve in teams of 2-4, servicing guest rooms and common spaces across property. Housekeeping volunteers are rostered to serve 4 shifts a week. Shifts are 6am to 2:00pm, 8:30am to 4pm, or 1pm to 8pm. The Housekeeping service schedule operates 7 days a week, and volunteers are scheduled for a mix of shifts each week.
The Maintenance crew is responsible for the construction and upkeep of the appliances, vehicles, structures and buildings on property, as well as infrastructure. Some tasks include general facilities construction, electrical, plumbing, repairs, and other duties that help Kalani function smoothly.
Volunteers on this team also collaborate to keep Kalani looking beautiful. Related tasks include prepping and painting buildings, renovating guest and staff accommodations, and making minor repairs. Occasional lifting of no more than 50 pounds may be asked of you.
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 8:30am to 4:30pm. The Maintenance service schedule operates 7 days a week, with the majority of volunteers serving Monday to Thursday.
Horticulture volunteers make Kalani's grounds fruitful and beautiful. They are involved in maintaining existing landscape, removing dead or non indigenous trees, creating pools, gardens, installing new plantings, tending to and collecting fruit and propagating new plant materials. They have a 120-acre playground!
The Horticulture Department has a variety of responsabilities:
- General day to day landscaping of the property
- Propagate additional plant material for use in garden projects and for community plant exchanges at our greenhouse gatherings
- Design and installation of the botanical gardens
- Growing produce for use in Kalani's Kitchen
- Collecting and hauling rubbish, recycling and compost
Service is based outdoors, in a team of 3-10 volunteers. Horticulture volunteers are rostered to serve 4 shifts a week. Shifts are 8:30am to 4pm. All Horticulture volunteers serve Monday through Thursday.
The Kitchen makes everybody happy with delicious food! During your shifts, you will be expected to handle sharp objects such as knives and food processors, handle various meats such as fish, chicken and pork, and prepare various salad bar items. Be prepared to function in a sometimes hot, sometimes noisy environment with a deadline to delivering delicious meals on time for our guests and 'ohana to enjoy!
Other tasks include washing dishes, cutting vegetables, bussing tables, taking out garbage and food scraps, and maintaining a clean, healthy environment in and around the kitchen with the occasional lifting of objects no more than 50 pounds.
Kitchen volunteers MUST have a current TB test.
Each volunteer has their own area of responsibility which may change each shift (e.g. preparing salads, serving guests, washing dishes), and serve in a team of typically 5-7 volunteers. Kitchen volunteers are rostered to serve 4 shifts a week. Shifts are 6am – 2pm, or 1pm to 8pm. The Kitchen service schedule operates 7 days a week, and volunteers are scheduled for a mix of shifts each week.