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Big Island of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona)

June 23, 2013 to July 3, 2013

This trip to Kona, Hawaii will be led by someone who lived there from 2006-2008 and knows the area well. As such, it will be rich in cultural experiences and provide superb opportunities to build with a dynamic and productive host affiliate.

About the Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain and is also by far the biggest (4028 sq. mi.), providing a vast canvas of environments to discover a variety of unrivaled natural wonders. This is the home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes (Kilauea), the tallest sea mountain in the world at more than 33,000 feet (MaunaKkea), the most massive mountain in the world (Mauna Loa) and the largest park in the state (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). All but two of the world’s climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts, snow-capped mountaintops to beautiful black sand beaches.

The main economies on the island are agriculture and tourism, with tourism centered around the Kohala resorts and the town of Kailua-Kona, both on the west side of the island. An ethnically diverse population consisting of native Hawaiians, Japanese, Micronesians, Filipinos, Portuguese and Caucasians provide a rich cultural environment.

The median income across the area is $55,300, and more than 16 percent of families live at levels below the poverty line. Amongst single-parent families, more than 32 percent live below the poverty line. The median age is 40-45 years. Elderly individuals with a disability make up 39 percent of the population.

Homelessness remains a reality for a considerable number of individuals and families in the County of Hawaii, and has been increasing at a rate of 6 percent per year. In some areas, financial hardship is compounded by the need to commute long distances from home to access employment. 

The median house price in West Hawai‘i is $275,000, which is not affordable to most of the local workforce. Moreover, even if a family could afford a market-priced home, escalating energy costs make it financially unsustainable in the longer term.

In the most rural areas, (Ocean View), almost 20 percent of the dwellings listed by the Community Development Corporation in a recent survey consist of tents, yurts, lava tubes and cargo containers.

About Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii
The mission of Habitat West Hawaii is to empower families and build community and hope through home ownership. Granted affiliation with Habitat for Humanity International in 2002, our small affiliate just completed our 19th house as of early fall 2012. Five of those homes were completed in a very successful “Blitz Build” in September whereby we built five homes in 10 days, with more than 1,200 volunteers. We have an ongoing relationship with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, through which we receive a variety of leasehold property, operating grants and construction loans. We are starting in earnest on a neighborhood revitalization initiative. By 2014, we hope to have in place an outreach program for veterans via The Veterans Administration.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii, please visit:

Standard Itinerary*:
Sunday, June 23: Arrive at Keahole Airport.
Monday, June 24: Orientation and free day.
Tuesday, June 25: Work day.
Wednesday, June 26: Work day.
Thursday, June 27: Off day for local recreational activities and cultural activities.
Friday, June 28: Work day.
Saturday, June 29: Work day.
Sunday, June 30: Off day for local recreational activities and cultural activities.
Monday, July 1: Work day.
Tuesday, July 2: Work day; farewell lunch or dinner today.
Wednesday, July 3: Departure from Keahole Airport.

* Standard itinerary is subject to change, depending on the build situation and needs at the time.

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!

Team leader
Bob Valenta is a native of New Jersey and later relocated to Boulder, Colo., where he has primarily called home for the last 30 years. He owns and operates a snow removal company during winter months and then during the summer consults and manages landscaping projects. This will be his second build trip as a Global Village team leader, having both participated and led trips to Kauai. 

Bob lived in Kona from 2006-2008, travels there frequently, and subsequently knows the area quite well!

For questions or to discuss interest in this trip, please email Bob at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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