Giving Back with a Smile at the Hawaii Job Corps Center

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Culinary arts students at the Hawaii Job Corps Center prepared and cooked nearly two dozen turkeys for the Salvation Army’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.

“Job Corps has been a great resource for us,” says Salvation Army event coordinator Sarah Sloan. “Not only do they cook many, many turkeys—but they also bring volunteers on the day of the dinner.”

The Salvation Army has been doing this for 47 years, and Job Corps has been with them for the past 15.

This is the first time attending the event for Hawaii Job Corps Instructor Cynthia Hoddick “I’m so excited to be here to help volunteer, to mentor for the trainees that volunteerism is important. The kids in our program are learning how to give back, and I think that’s really instrumental.”

Some 700 volunteers in all serve more than 2,000 local residents. The students not only apply the skills they’ve learned in the culinary program—they also feel great giving back.

“I volunteered today,” says student Chasein Sablan, “because I wanted to give back to the community and help the less fortunate who aren’t able to go back to their homes or spend time with their families during Thanksgiving. And I think more people should do it because honestly it feels good to see people when you serve them or help them out.”

Student Aine adds, “It’s a great day to meet with new people. And I’m very excited because I’m helping the community.”

“I feel like today was a really good opportunity to come out and help and give a little to the community,” says Annette Senda. “I’m just really happy because I saw a lot of people smiling, everyone was fed.”

Job Corps Instructor Cassie Kamai says these types of events help prepare these students to be well rounded as they enter the workforce and move to the next phase of their lives.

“It was a great opportunity for staff as well as students to give back to the community which is important to us.”