The Good Work of Dell and Goodwill in Hawaii

Dell Reconnect Press Conference:
It was a historic announcement and press conference. On Thursday, November 8, 2012 Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc. and Dell held a joint press conference at the State Capitol on the 5th floor at the Ceremonial Room at the Executive Office to announce the launch of the Dell Reconnect program.

Governor Abercrombie opened the press conference welcoming Goodwill and Dell and shared the importance of this new program that provides on-going, responsible and convenient computer technology recycling on Oahu. Laura Smith – President/CEO, Ryan Kusumoto – VP of Business Operations and Roxanne Gould – Manager for US State & Local Gov. Affairs, Dell all spoke at the press conference and shared information about the program. A portion of the press conference was aired that same evening on the KGMB and KHNL evening news.

“Goodwill is proud to be a partner in the Dell Reconnect program and help thousands of donors across Oahu to recycle their computer components responsibly. This innovative program complements Goodwill’s commitment to help keep more than 12 million pounds of items out of Hawaii’s landfills. This joint effort benefits our community as we help protect our environment while at the same time supporting Goodwill’s mission of helping people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.” Laura Smith, president and CEO, Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Inc.

To learn more about the program go to

Bank of Hawaii brings GLAM to Goodwill

Put your money where your HEART is.  That is a term we should hear more often, and when it comes to Bank of Hawaii, they did JUST THAT!  Bank of Hawaii has a heart for “giving back” – they are committed to strengthening our island communities through event sponsorships, employee volunteer programs, support for deserving nonprofits, and more.  From August 23 to August 26, 2012, Bank of Hawaii sponsored THE most Glamorous event of the year…

Bank of Hawaii presents Goodwill Goes GLAM – Gala Dinner, Fashion Show and Exclusive Pre-Sale. Pictured:  board members, Goodwill’s leadership, government and community leaders, as well as professionals in the fashion industry come out to support Goodwill.

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii just held their inaugural public awareness event week called – Bank of Hawaii presents Goodwill Goes GLAM! This took place August 23-26, 2012 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. This monumental event was made possible by Bank of Hawaii.  Not only were they the title sponsor of the event, but they went above and beyond, providing almost 600 employee volunteer hours to support the private Dnner Gala, Welcome Reception, Fashion Show and Pre-Sale event.

The sponsorship/partnership was the perfect fit for this inagural event. Bank of Hawaii gives back to the community through their; Employee Volunteer Program, Financial Literacy Outreach and Community Outreach programs.  Their commitment to community service compliments Goodwill’s non-profit mission to help people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

Visit Bank of Hawaii’s website to learn more about their business services and community programs.  To learn more about this year’s GLAM event and how you can get involved in supporting Goodwill’s programs, services and upcoming events, go to Goodwill Industries of Hawaii’s website.


Good To Be Green In Maui

Charen Kepler - Director of Maui County Operations at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii

Charen Kepler – Director of Maui County Operations at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii

Meet Charen Kepler, she’s the Director of Maui County Operations and has been with Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc for 3 years.  Charen oversees all programs and operations on the island of Maui as well as the First to Work TANF program statewide.  Charen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management.  She has over 15 years of management experience.  Here’s Charen’s blog article:

In recent years Maui County has become community conscious and committed to going Green.  This Green movement stems from the island’s limited resources and the understanding that reducing, recycling and reusing are musts in order to sustain the beauty and quality of our island.   Maui’s extremely mindful Green attempts are seen through government efforts, various private businesses, and non-profit organizations.

On January 11, 2011 Maui County started the Bag Ban.  This new law prohibits the use of single use plastic bags.  This movement decreases non-biodegradable shopping bags from going into the landfills, oceans and road sides.  Since this law, store owners are liable to provide biodegradable and re-useable bags to their shoppers either for free, purchase, or minimal service charge.  Many locations also give patrons a small bag credit if they bring in their own re-usable shopping bags.  Other islands across the state such as Kauai have also joined the bag ban wagon, while other islands are in discussions to also follow suit.

Another way that Maui has been moving toward perpetuating our sustainability is looking at alternative forms of energy.  The Kaheawa Wind Farm currently has 20 turbines that use kinetic energy generated by mechanic power from the windmills that is moved into a generator which is then converted to electricity.  They plan to add another 14 turbines which will help to power electricity for approximately 18,700 homes annually.

Other private businesses are also thinking Green in their own organizations and changing some of the ways that they do business in order to play their part in saving the planet.  One way that companies are doing this is by creating Green teams.  The Fairmont Kea Lani Resort is such an organization that has developed a team of staff members who meet quarterly to dedicate thought, energy and action to new environmentally friendly incentives and programs.  Another company that has been doing their part to bring awareness to Green efforts to Maui is the Maui Ocean Center.  This past March they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by bringing a new meaning to the green significance behind the holiday.  Maui Ocean Center sponsored an event which provided green living presentations, eco-friendly vendors and informative sessions on land and energy conservation.

In the month of April the Blue Planet Foundation sponsored a Bulb Blitz where some Maui organizations and not-for-profits  participated in exchanging incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs to the public for free.  CFLs are more energy-efficient because they provide the same amount of light while using less energy or watts.  Organizations that did the manual labor of collecting and giving out light bulbs were rewarded for their efforts by receiving monies from Blue Planet as a fundraiser type project.  Some of the Maui agencies that participated were the Paia Youth Center, Baldwin Theater Guild and the Kihei Composite Squadron of Civil Air Control.

Asia Thompson, Job Retention Coach for SEE Maui

Asia Thompson, Job Retention Coach for SEE Maui

Lastly, we here at the Maui site of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, recycle our cardboard boxes, aluminum and plastic cans and bottles, toner cartridges and shredded paper.  Our most recent step toward helping our Maui community to go Green will be the opening a thrift store in 2012 click here for more information about the Maui Goodwill Store.  Goodwill’s retail store adds to the Green awareness on Maui by allowing the community more options to keep re-usable items out of our landfills.  Did you know that Goodwill helps to keep more than 13 million pounds out of Hawaii’s landfills?  Revenue generated by Goodwill stores directly fund our Human Services programs.  These programs improve the lives of the people in our community.  To learn more about Goodwill’s community impact visit  Goodwill’s mission helps people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

Luke Bobo, Employment Counselor for Imi Loa Maui and Chentelle Rowland Team Lead Employment Counselor for FTW VR Maui

Luke Bobo, Employment Counselor for Imi Loa Maui and Chentelle Rowland Team Lead Employment Counselor for FTW VR Maui

The Green movement on Maui is prevalent and alive as described above – the various organizations actively work to improve our island living.  If you live on Maui or you’re planning to visit and are interested in joining the Green movement or have a Green project of your own, go to  At this site, you’ll be able to find or post current initiatives and opportunities to protect our environment.

Call For Talent – Prepping For Goodwill Goes GLAM

Anya Rozova - America's Next Top Model Cycle 10

Anya Rozova is a long-time supporter of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.  You might have seen her on America’s Next Top Model – Cycle 10.  She purchased her entire look (blouse, skirt and heels) at the Beretania Goodwill store in Honolulu. (photo by Mark Ramelb)

Goodwill’s  Call For Talent volunteer recruitment was held at Ward Warehouse on Saturday, February 25, 2012 in support of the August event – Bank of Hawaii presents Goodwill Goes GLAM!

More than a dozen leaders in the Public Relations, Media, Fashion, Retail, Marketing and Beauty industries came together for a Good cause. Affectionately called the A-Team GLAM! Squad members – they led the way, interviewing and guiding prospective Glam! Squad volunteers.

This talent and recruitment event played a vital role in rallying volunteers for manpower and pre-event preparation for Goodwill Goes GLAM! in August.  The Call For Talent is still running.  To register, go to and click the Volunteer or Intern tab.  Individuals and groups are encouraged to register.  This is a great way to gain experience, helping to further a Good cause.  Goodwill’s mission is helping people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

Getting the word out about this unique Call For Talent was critical. This helped continue momentum past the recruitment event. Although 89 people registered to volunteer during the event-week in support of the GLAM! event, volunteer registrations keep coming in. Now Goodwill has over 100 registered  volunteers. Twenty two Ward merchants participated with offers for Kamaaina Rewards members. Ward also offered movie tickets to shoppers with $76 or more in receipts.

Rhonee Rojas from Wilhelmina Hawaii walks for the A-Team in hopes for a spot in the Goodwill Goes GLAM! fashion show in August. (photo by Mark Ramelb)

Many came together to make this event possible: Bank of Hawaii, Ward Centers, Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, Hawaii Fashion Incubator, 76 and Kamaaina Rewards, McNeil Wilson Communications, the A-Team interviewers and GLAM Squad volunteers. Goodwill also appreciates the great coverage they received from Hawaii News Now, MidWeek, the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Honolulu Weekly, and KDNI radio.

The A-Team interviewers motivated prospective volunteers throughout the day.  The A-Team included Megan Anderson Garvey (Marketing Manager from Nordstrom Hawaii), Paula Rath (, Anya Rozova (Cycle 10 – America’s Next Top Model), Cheryl Witbeck (TV Station General Manager  at TBN), Rene Rodriguez(Runway coach and make-up artist), Craig Kojima (Honolulu Star Advertiser Photographer), Mark Ramelb (Fashion Photographer), Dayna Kalakau (Model & Fashion Show Producer), Robert Gibson (Professional Visual Merchandiser), Shawn Torres Akiyama (Model & Make-up Artist), Brianna Acosta (Professional Model) and Luana Alapa (former Miss Hawaii and Pageant Director). Zee Rabago-Iwabuchi (Radio Personality), Moani Hara (Miss Kahala) and Serena Karnagy (Miss East Oahu) were also part of the A-Team on that day.

Serena Karnagy, Brianna Acosta and Moani Hara show their support for a Good cause – Goodwill’s Call For Talent. (photo by Mark Ramelb)

President/CEO  of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Laura Robertson Smith commented on the Call For Talent and stated: “It is clear that there are many talented people out there with a heart for Goodwill. To learn more about Goodwill Goes GLAM! and volunteer opportunities for you or your friends, visit our website –”

Easing the Crunch of Tax Season

Carol Taira - Goodwill Hunter blog contributor

Carol Taira – Vice president of Finance/CFO at       Goodwill Industries of Hawaii 

Meet Carol Taira.  She is the Vice President of Finance and CFO of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc. She’s worked at Goodwill for over 13 years.Previously she was a Controller at Tropical Trading Company for 10 years.

Carol has extensive experience in Finance and Retail Management, she operated retail clothing stores, Esprit and Kunah’s. Graduated from University of Hawaii, BBA at accounting.

Here’s her blog contribution:

It is Spring, 2012, and with the spring flowers and showers, comes the dreaded deadline for your income tax returns.  This year, the filing deadline for the federal income tax return is April 17, because April 15 falls on a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in theDistrict of Columbia.  So you have 2 extra days to file.

There’s a great program that eases the tax crunch a bit, by getting your taxes done “free” at one of the Goodwill Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinics.

If you qualify, (i.e. earned $49,000 or less, do not own your own business and do not own your own home) you can call any one of the many Goodwill sites and make an appointment to get your tax returns done.  The VITA volunteers will prepare and file your tax returns at no cost.  It’s just another program that furthers Goodwill’s mission – helping people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

If they qualify, anyone can take advantage of this service, so tell your friends and family about the VITA clinics.  There are other locations and organizations that sponsor VITA clinics on all islands. I also wanted to remind Goodwill employees of this great benefit for them, getting their taxes done “free” at one of the Goodwill Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinics.

Many Goodwill employees also volunteer their time as certified tax preparers and greeters.  I am a volunteer tax preparer at the Goodwill – Kapolei site on Saturdays.

It is a wonderful feeling to help people file their returns and, in some cases, see them get a large tax refund.


VITA Tax Clinic Sites:


Goodwill Industries of Hawaii – Beretania

1072 Young St., Rm. 102

Honolulu, HI 96814

Phone: (808) 436-9947

January 26, 2012 – April 10, 2012

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Ohana Career and Ohana Career and Learning Center of Kapolei

2140 Lauwiliwili St.

Kapolei, HI 96707

Phone: (808) 436-9948

February 4, 2012 – April 7, 2012

Tuesdays: 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Hawaii Island:

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii Career Center – Hilo

200 Kanoelehua Ave., Suite 102

Hilo, HI 96720

Phone: (808) 345-1656

February 2, 2012 – April 5, 2012

Thursdays: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii – Kona

74-5599 Luhia St., F-4

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Phone (808) 430-0608

February 2, 2012 – April 5, 2012

Thursdays: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Goodwill Industries of Hawaii – Maui

250 Alamaha St., Suite N17

Kahului, HI 96732

Phone: (808) 281-4802

February 6, 2012 – April 6, 2012

Mondays: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Goodwill Industries of Hawaii – Kauai

4334 Rice St., Suite 205

Lihue, HI 96766

Phone: (808) 482-4326

February 1, 2012 – April 7, 2012

Wednesdays: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.