PBS Hawaii Looks to College Students For Volunteers


PBS Hawaii

Families and volunteers celebrated the holiday during the 2018 Keiki Club Halloween event.

In the fiscal year of 2021, PBS Hawaii had a volunteer staff of 124 people. Now there’s just one who works online.

Most of its regular volunteers were elderly, making them unable to come into the studio safely. Alicia Huliganga, the Advancement Specialist and Keiki Club Coordinator for PBS Hawaii, who handles fundraising and volunteer programs, is now hoping to get college students to fill in the gap.

“We really love having college-aged students because we like them to be hands-on and kind of have a chance to see … a member-run station,” Huliganga said. “We also have one of the largest studios in Hawaii, … so you get an opportunity to see different parts of a nonprofit, and you also get a chance to see production.”

Volunteers are tasked with many duties, such as helping with PBS Hawaii’s weekly production “Insights,” an interactive audience show exploring topics regarding life in Hawaii. The responsibilities for this production is to take questions from the audience via phone and social media and pass them along to the producer to be discussed on the show.

The opportunity allows students to obtain community service hours for classes or scholarships. The scheduling is flexible and has a wide range of time commitments. Students have participated seasonally, weekly, and even for just a couple of events such as the PBS Keiki Club movie screenings.

Betty Yoshida, a retired teacher, has volunteered at PBS for 11 years as part of Alpha Delta Kappa. This club is comprised of retired teachers who take part in community events for altruism and the advancement of education. The ADK club chose to help with PBS due to PBS’s mission of providing education to all ages through its programs. However, due to the pandemic, members of the organization were unable to come into the studio due to safety concerns.

Yoshida has attended numerous events such as promoting PBS at festivals, stuffing envelopes of gifts for donors, and participating in Keiki Club events. Although she cannot currently volunteer because of the pandemic, she hopes to return when it is safe to do so.

“It’s just the family of PBS employees who have been warm, genuine, welcoming, and very appreciative of what the volunteers are doing for the station,” said Yoshida, who retired from Heeia Elementary School. “And that makes you feel good.”

The Keiki Club hosts movie screenings, celebrations for children, and fundraises to continue producing programs such as “Sesame Street” and “Arthur.”

The Keiki Club’s largest event is its annual Halloween celebration. This event provides children a safe way to enjoy the Halloween experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, where trick or treating is less common. Volunteers are tasked with hosting game stations, doing crafts, decorating, and for those interested in painting and being creative, they can create life-size cutouts of famous PBS characters like Elmo. This event especially is looking for college students to help with the kids.

“I think for them [the children] it’s a little less intimidating when you see someone who’s a little younger and a little more like the same age as one of their siblings,” Huliganga said. “And especially for the younger students and college students, it definitely helps because the kids have a lot of energy. These kids are running around; they are loud, they wanna play, they wanna do all these things and that kind of energy. It helps when the volunteers are younger because they can kind of match that energy.”

This year’s festivities will be held on Oct. 23 at the PBS studio. The event is usually hosted inside the studio with a Halloween-themed screening program. However, due to Covid-19, it has been moved outside on the PBS studio lawn to ensure social distancing.

For those interested in volunteering, fill out the forms listed below and submit them to [email protected]. The preferred deadline for the Halloween event applications is Oct. 10, and general volunteer applications will be taken continuously. For more information, contact Huliganga at [email protected] or call (808) 462-5041.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer Release Form – Background Search