When we talk about the value of showing Aloha and contributing to the “Circle of Aloha” on our island, I want to share a story with you.
I am the Programs Chair for the West Hawaii Association of REALTORS and I wanted to bring the idea of helping homeowners who needed a hand with landscaping and emergency home repair to the Association to get an annual event going with the Realtor and affiliate members to help the community. With the help of my Kona Newbies group, we had already successfully assisted two disabled widows in 2022.
So, we asked the WHAR members to nominate local disabled homeowners who were willing to have volunteers come and lead a hand during REALTOR® Volunteer Days, which gives local Realtors® an opportunity to help the local community during the first week in June. In partnership with the National Association of Realtors®, Realtors® in West Hawaii were asked to join in on the nationwide philanthropic initiative while maximizing the impact of their volunteer time.
This being the first year of helping local homeowners for the “Realtors R Good Neighbors” initiative, it was a slow, but good start and I hope this event will become an annual one!
Here’s the story:
On Saturday June 3, an energetic group of 10 volunteers gathered to help a widowed elderly homeowner with landscaping her yard in Kailua Kona. Kathy is a retired nurse and has had some health emergencies lately that have left her partially blind and unable to garden on her property, which led to the bottom part of her yard becoming overgrown and unusable. Our group of Realtors, sponsors and family members were able to take down an unsightly damaged green house roof and replace it during our time there, along with weeding and trimming. Kathy told us that just not having to look at the torn roof each day, brightened her mood and made her feel less hopeless about losing control of the yard due to her health issues. She was so upbeat and thankful to see everyone out helping her and thanked us profusely.
Within two hours we had filled three trucks with debris AND we also were able to help the elderly neighbor behind Kathy’s house by clearing the fence line of crawling vines that took over the fence after Kathy’s husband died. So, we helped TWO homeowners that day!
On Monday, June 5, we had a hard working group of three Realtors, one sponsor and a community volunteer tackle the landscaping for Smita Patel. Smita has been a community volunteer and business owner for years and due to Parkinsons Disease and other health related issues, has been able to only keep basic landscaping duties done. Every day looking into the back of her property, she saw the hulking mass of dead branches from a tree that fell a long time ago. She also had to see the 8 foot tall cane grass along her back lava wall. We were able to clear both areas of the property to her amazement! She was so happy not to have to see those signs of neglect on her property. She said she felt bad about accepting the nomination of having volunteers come help her and we assured her it was a gift to be able to help her after all the years she had been an asset to the South Kona community.
Although we were only able to help two homeowners this year, we raised over $3000 in sponsor monies and hope to make a bigger impact next year!
After I let folks know we did this on a recent video I did about the real estate market, a viewer wrote, “I want to live in THAT community!” People helping people. It’s a really good feeling to be part of sharing time and energy!
Yes, I am a Realtor and was blessed to organize this event and have the help of amazing volunteers!
Julie Ziemelis – Julie@Ziemelis.com