The people of Waimea have a long rich legacy of caring for each other – daily and during times of need.
This project – Discover Your Kuleana (DYK) – is the result of numerous recent community conversations in Waimea hosted by Hawaiʻi Community Foundation on behalf of the Richard Smart Fund. Our DYK mission, vision and plan of action emerged while thinking deeply about what we love about Waimea, its people, and its traditions. And what we can do to nurture this special place and inspire others to do the same.
All are welcome on this journey of discovery!
Please join our Discover Your Kuleana Facebook group
To nurture the long rich legacy of Waimea’s residents caring for each other and the ‘aina.
To deepen the connection of residents, new and long time, to Waimea. Through events, resources, cultural competence, and volunteer opportunities, we help develop new, deeper relationships and provide resources to strengthen community connections and involvement.
Discover Your Kuleana (DYK) partners with Friends of the Future (FOF) as our fiscal sponsor because our intention and project strategies complement FOF’s vision, mission and day-to-day activities, most notably via Tutu’s House. DYK is a natural partner with FOF and Tutu’s House, which regularly provide programs to connect individuals to learning and sharing opportunities to support health, wellness and community cohesion. Their day to day work includes receiving many calls, visits and inquiries from the public that they respond to in a resourceful “matchmaking” way.
We Encourage Volunteering!
DYK encourages volunteering – doing something that makes you smile and touches your heart!
We are partnering – informally – with a number of community-based non profits that welcome volunteers to support their activities.
What follows is a brief introduction to a diverse array of Waimea non-profit organizations with contact information and a brief explanation of the program, requirements and expectations. Please feel free to contact any of these organizations to explore your involvement.
We plan to “grow” this listing over time so please check back – and we welcome suggestions of additional Waimea community organizations.
Project Volunteer Team:
Vivienne Aronowitz, Max Aiona, Leandra Rouse, Cietta Penn, Cathy Youtkus and Patti Cook
ANNA RANCH HERITAGE CENTER
More about Anna Ranch Heritage Center
Anna Leialoha Perry-Fiske cared deeply about the rich culture and history of Waimea. Her fame as a paniolo, cattle rancher, and generous pillar of our community is legendary. Anna left her ranch, originally established in 1848, to a non-profit charitable trust to serve as a National and State Registry of Historic Places museum and community gathering place. Her passion for flowers and gardens surrounding the family home continue to be enjoyed by all.
The trust’s dedication to preserving the beauty and ancient history of the ranch’s mauka lands matches its commitment to be a leading force to preserve Waimea’s past through use of the ranch home museum, outbuildings and gardens as an idyllic setting for weddings, family events, meetings, retreats, picnics and hula.
The gates are open Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm and museum tours are available by appointment. Volunteer Opportunities: We welcome all who want to give of themselves to carry out the mission of the ranch. Whether you have a passion for gardening, handyman skills, want to serve as museum docent or interpretive guide, or support sustaining Anna’s vision in other ways, we invite you to join us in honoring Waimea’s past and present through your gifts of stewardship and support. Donations are welcome and tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
ANNUNCIATION COMMUNITY FOOD PANTRY
- 65-1235 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela, HI 96743
- To volunteer: Emily Hoover – firstname.lastname@example.org – will get back to you within 48 hours.
More about the Annunciation Community Food Pantry
This all volunteer-run pantry has been serving the people of North Hawaiʻi for 18+ years. Annually they help feed over 17,000 individuals and families – keiki to kupuna – thanks to many generous volunteers, donors and partners including Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket. Twice-monthly food distributions provide 175+ full bags of food for individuals/families with non-perishables including essential protein items and fresh veggies purchased from or donated by local farmers, ranchers and school gardens. Drive-thru distribution days are the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of most months from 8AM until pau.
Volunteer opportunities: Opportunities range from shopping, packing food bags, packing rice, and helping on distribution days:
Shoppers: Twice a month, shoppers go to KTA, Foodland, Costco, Walmart, Target, Hawaiʻi Island Food Bank, and elsewhere as sales warrant to pick up non-perishable items. Volunteers picking up a shift will need a car and having a helper to accompany you is good.
Rice Packers: Twice a month, volunteers pack rice into smaller bags to be included in non-perishable bags. This job can be done on your schedule, very flexible.
Distribution Helpers: On the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, helpers do an assorted number of jobs – it’s hectic but fun.
Packers: A few extra hands always welcome to help pack bags on the Sundays before distribution days.
In lieu of the above options, non-perishable donations are welcome – especially canned tuna, canned chicken, canned corned beef, SPAM, other canned protein items, canned veggies and fruit, pasta, mac-n-cheese, rice and cereal.
Also, fresh back-yard grown fruit, produce and foods, including avocados, citrus, veggies, eggs and frozen protein items
COMMUNITY MEAL @ ST. JAMES
More about the Community Meal @ St. James
In the beginning: On Dec. 15, 2016, a handful of volunteers from St. James’ Church had a dream of feeding those experiencing hunger both in body and spirit. After serving 80 meals in the pavilion on St. James’ Circle, a partnership with Big Island Giving Tree expanded the ministry to include deliveries to kūpuna (seniors) in both of Waimea’s elderly housing complexes and homeless persons at nearby beaches. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the community meal team was preparing an average of 350 meals every Thursday. This included delivering 90 to 120 hot, nutritious main courses, salads and desserts to kupuna and homeless, plus about 200+ in the Savanack Pavilion – served with live music and plenty of aloha.
The meal team pivoted to a drive-thru program during the pandemic and numbers climbed rapidly to about 800 per week! This was only possible thanks to an extended group of volunteers and generous donors.
In May of 2023, St. James resumed weekly in-person food service with live music in the Savanack Pavilion from 5 to 6PM. All are welcome. Even if you’re not joining them for dinner, come and share conversation, enjoy the entertainment, or volunteer to prepare, set up or clean up. They also still offer drive-through service for boxed meals and produce bags from 4:30 to 5PM for those who are unable to join in person for health or other reasons, and volunteers continue to deliver boxed meals to kūpuna and unhoused families living on the beach.
There are many ways to volunteer, including coming to the parish hall to chop vegetables for soups and salads, help prepare meat and hearty entrees, slice bread, bag cookies, pack meal boxes, direct traffic and serve meals. Shifts at St. James’ typically run from 9 AM to noon, noon to 3 PM and 3 to 6PM on Thursdays. Baked cookies and other finger desserts are welcome as are donations of food and/or funds. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
St. James also runs a popular Thrift Shop and after-school youth programs. Volunteers and donations welcome. Info: Thrift Shop – Rona Scull (808) 747-4834; Youth Programs – Susan Acacio (808) 895-2086.
HAWAIʻI DIAPER BANK
More about Hawaiʻi Diaper Bank
Wipe out diaper need! Founded in 2016 during national Diaper Need Awareness Week, and headquartered here in North Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Diaper Bank has provided almost 2 million diapers as well as wipes and other basic essentials to organizations across the island that assist low-income families with young children.
The program provides 25-50 diapers per month per infant and serves an average of about 550 keiki a month. Data tells us that about one in three families here experience diaper need. The organization’s volunteer team believe all children deserve access to clean, dry diapers, and that this improves the physical, mental, and economic well-being of babies, families, and communities. Hawaiʻi Diaper Bank was Hawaii’s first diaper bank and is proud to represent the state as a member of the National Diaper Bank Network. The program is fiscally managed by Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network (HCAN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID 94-3257650). Donations are welcome and tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
More about Kahilu Theatre
Kahilu Theatre came into being through the generosity of its millionaire benefactor and Parker Ranch owner Richard Smart, who built the theatre with a vision of a place where the performing arts could flourish, a place that would truly serve the community.
Smart was born in 1913, the only child of Henry Gaillard Smart and Thelma Kahiluonapua’api’ilani Parker. Not long after birth, both parents passed away, leaving him as the sole heir of the ranch. He developed a love for the theatre and music, and as a young man, he left Hawaiʻi Island and headed for the bright lights of New York City where he performed for 30 years on Broadway as well as in cabarets and clubs in the U.S. and abroad.
Smart eventually returned to Waimea and took on the many responsibilities of ranch operations, but the stage never left his blood. In the 1970s, Smart decided to build a theatre in his hometown, and upon completion in 1980, he named it Kahilu after his mother.
In 1992, Smart passed away and while the theatre remained a part of Parker Ranch, it lost its mentor and financial mainstay. In 2001, Kahilu became completely independent of the Ranch, relying on outside funding. With the start of the 2008 recession, donations and grants diminished, making it harder to balance the annual budget, and in 2012, the theatre Board decided to take an “intermission” to focus on retiring accumulated debt and creating a new strategic plan that would propel Kahilu into the 21st century. Community members rallied around their beloved theatre, helping the board to retire the debt within 6 months.
Today, Kahilu has recommitted itself to the belief that the creative arts are an essential part of a thriving community. Through its outreach and education programs, the board hopes to expand the Kahilu ‘ohana, making the theatre more accessible to individuals and families who have not traditionally come to the theatre. The Board of Directors also has worked hard to develop broad-based support – through grants, memberships, donations, fundraising events and show sponsorships. Dedicated volunteers are at the heart of the theatre’s mission and Kahilu offers a range of volunteer opportunities to suit diverse interests, skills and availability, including Ushering and Front of House, Box Office Support, Event Assistance, Educational Programs, Outreach Initiatives and Technical and Production Support.
KEEP PUAKO BEAUTIFUL
More about KPB
KPB coordinates beach cleanups throughout the year to give volunteers the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities and gain awareness in preserving Hawaiʻi’s ocean environment and human health. Their goal is empower volunteers to become good stewards in Hawaiʻi with a simple positive action to remove current threats to the environment and keep trash from becoming marine debris. Volunteers are needed for sites from Kawaihae to Holoholokai Park.
If you can breathe, you can help! Many volunteers walk the beaches and coastline picking up garbage and foreign objects. Water cleanup volunteers also welcome. They have local vendors who donate use of kayaks for snorkelers and air tanks for scuba divers. Water craft vendors also offer their services and bring valuable expert technical experience in marine debris water recovery skills.
In addition to organized events, KPB introduces groups, teachers and students to the program by providing tools and training to coordinate their own cleanup events. Stressing the importance of documentation and reporting data to government agencies is a vital part of the success of this concept. Also, documentation gives volunteers a sense of accomplishment. Kits include buckets and washable reuse bags, washable gloves in adult and children sizes, litter pickers, clipboards and pens, and water jugs and bottles.
MALAʻAI: THE CULINARY GARDEN OF WAIMEA MIDDLE SCHOOL
- 67-1229 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI 96743
- For information and volunteer opportunities: Zoe Kosmas (808) 746-0996 – email@example.com
- Volunteer opportunities: Garden handyperson, support classes and help with chicken care.
- Training will be provided to work with middle school students during class time. Volunteers must complete a background check, school paperwork and receive a TB test.
More about Malaʻai
Malaʻai is a one-acre organic outdoor living classroom at Waimea Middle School. It is a model school garden in the State, and an important part of their work is growing a community around healthy delicious local food, learning in and from nature, and taking care of ourselves and the land. Their mission is to cultivate the relationship between students and the land through growing and sharing nourishing food in our outdoor living classroom. Their work reaches beyond the boundaries of the garden, connecting land stewardship, culture, health and pleasure with lifelong learning.
The garden primarily serves the 6th thru 8th grade students at Waimea Middle School, an incredibly diverse group hailing from North Hawaiʻi. Garden staff with the support of many volunteers provide in-person and virtual instruction through a variety of classes including Health and PE, Business and Practical Arts, Social Studies, ‘Ike Hawaiʻi Science, and others on a project basis. They also offer after school programs and summer internships for current students or alumni. The garden leads the Hawaiʻi Island School Garden Network, and also is part of the Hawaiʻi School Peace Garden network, contributing to a feeling of safety and peace for our students and campus.
In addition to volunteering, donations are welcome and tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
QUEEN’S NORTH HAWAIʻI COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
More about QNHCH
Queen’s North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital (QNHCH) opened in 1996 after years of community fundraising and grassroots advocacy with the mission of improving the health of the people of North Hawaiʻi by improving access to care. A 35-bed, full-service, acute-care, private non-profit community hospital, it today serves more than 30,000 residents and visitors in North Hawaiʻi with a wide array of diagnostic and treatment services and a 24/7 emergency room. It is part of the statewide Queen’s Health System.
Volunteer information and application: https://www.queens.org/careers/volunteer/
- Commitment of at least 64 hours of service/year – usually in once-weekly shifts.
- Two-step TB (tuberculosis) clearance
- Participation in an orientation training by the relevant department
- Fully vaccinated for COVID-19
As a part of the application and onboarding process, staff spends time with each volunteer applicant to go over all of the expectations and requirements to ensure that volunteering at QNHCH is the right fit for both parties.
THELMA PARKER MEMORIAL PUBLIC AND SCHOOL LIBRARY (TPMPSL)
- Hours: Tu, Th., Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Wed. Noon-7 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
- 67-1209 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI 96743
- If interested in volunteering, please complete a volunteer application form, which is available at the library’s circulation desk.
More about TPMPSL
Thelma Parker Memorial Library first opened its doors in Waimea in 1951 on land that was donated to the County of Hawaii by Parker Ranch and its owner, Richard Smart, who named the library after his mother Annie Thelma Kahiluonapua’api’ilani Parker. A new and larger Thelma Parker Memorial Public and School Library (TPMPSL) opened near its original location in 1978 and continues to serve patrons – residents and visitors – from a wide geographic area.
FUN FACTS: TPMPSL has the longest name of all 51 libraries in the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, is the sole state library without a location name, and is the only library in the state to be selected in 2017 to be part of the NASA@MyLibrary initiative to promote STEM learning in the community.
Volunteer opportunities at the library range from shelving to light gardening, setting up displays and artwork, cleaning and mending library items, assisting with special projects, and providing library program support. No prerequisites/background requirements. Training is provided to those who can commit to a weekly/regular schedule, e.g., three or four hours per week. Volunteer opportunities vary seasonally. At present, the do not require a TB test or COVID vaccines. Interested volunteers are asked to submit a completed application to the library and someone will contact them.
- Kamuela Business Center – 64-1032 Mamalahoa Hwy Ste 304, Kamuela, HI 96743
- Founded in the belief that the community’s greatest resource is its people, the activities offered by Tutu’s House are led by people who volunteer or employees of other agencies. You are invited to share your own approach to health. Your interest is the only credential required. To learn more about what’s possible, please email Susan Maddox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Tutu’s House
Tutu’s House is part of Friends of the Future, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Waimea. Tutuʻs House was one of the first programs to emerge from Friends of the Future, the result of numerous focus groups, talk story sessions, and informal one-on-one conversations, designed to engage
the community in creating a safe place for individuals to explore their personal health and wellness, along with the health and wellness of the community.
Tutuʻs House was intentionally created where:
- People experience welcome, aloha, and non-judgment
- Each individual’s personal path to health and wellness is honored
- Programs represent the broadest possible definition of “health and wellness”
- There is a growing recognition that ‘self-responsibility’ is the answer to good health and lower healthcare costs
For the past 25+ years, Tutuʻs House has practiced what current best practices studies now tout, and Tutuʻs House remains as relevant today as when it was founded in 1996.
Tutu’s House is best known for its welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere – a safe place to experience and explore a variety of approaches to health and wellness; Tutuʻs House does not endorse any one approach to health and wellness, nor is it a treatment or referral service.
Tutu’s House shares a variety of resources to enhance individual’s health and wellness and empower active engagement in personal health and wellness. Tutuʻs House resources also include internet-connected computers to assist in health and wellness research, health and wellness courses on iPad for 7-day loan, a lending library of more than 2,000 books and DVDs and a lending library of assistive technology devices.
Nonprofit organizations, community groups, and government agencies are able to reserve Tutuʻs House program spaces for health and wellness or community engagement activities.
WAIMEA COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (CERT)
- For more information and to volunteer: email@example.com
More about CERT
Established in 2003, CERT is a nation-wide program with a strong connection to FEMA. The mission of the CERT program is to help build community resilience and preparedness. On Hawai`i Island, CERT is administered by the Hawai`i County Civil Defense Agency (HCCDA). CERT members are vital to their community and to County Response Operations Surge Capacity.
CERT Training teaches basic disaster response skills to safely help yourself and those around you when disaster strikes and when professional responders aren’t available.
CERT volunteers learn:
- Unit 1: Disaster Preparedness
- Unit 2: CERT Organization
- Unit 3-4: Disaster Medical Operations
- Unit 5: Disaster Psychology
- Unit 6: Fire Safety and Utility Controls
- Unit 7: Light Search and Rescue Operations
- Unit 8: Terrorism and Hazardous Materials Safety
What do CERTs do? Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80twsCr7oyc
Under the supervision of HCCDA, CERT members participate in community preparedness awareness and outreach events, assist in conducting Residential Damage Assessments, report on adverse weather conditions in their community, and are assigned to Response Operations when disaster strikes.
The Basic CERT Training consists of 16 hours of online instruction followed by 16 hours of participants demonstrating in person the 71 skills learned online. Participants that wish to join a CERT Team will need to complete both the online and the hands-on portion of this training. However, to gain valuable skills that will help better prepare them for a disaster, community members may take the online and in-person portions of the class and elect not to join a team. Registration is required; classes are free and are offered 4-5 times a year at various locations across Hawai`i Island.
WAIMEA MIDDLE SCHOOL – STUDENT MENTORING PROGRAM
More about the Student Mentoring Program
After a 20-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School (WMPCCS) has re-started student mentoring and is seeking community volunteers.
“We know first-hand from having hosted student mentoring with a large cohort of community volunteers for almost 10 years that this is needed now more than ever due to the Covid-induced emotional roller coaster many middle school adolescents have experienced,” says Pat Rice, WMPCCS School Improvement Specialist.
“I’ll never forget when the late Mayor Billy Kenoi spoke to a group of our mentors and families several years ago and said: ‘Middle school is where you launch students, or lose them.’ It’s more true now than ever because the pandemic has hit kids hard,” she said. “In addition to trusted teachers, our students need a reliable friend who cares for them and they can talk to.”
WMS launched student mentoring in 2013 with the support of Hawaiʻi Community Foundation to help improve attendance, behavior, academic growth and ultimately help keep students in school to graduate.
“In the beginning, we didn’t know what to expect with students or community volunteers but it quickly became clear it was a win-win-win. Both students and volunteers loved spending time together on campus, and teachers and staff saw improvement in attendance, behavior choices and gradually, in grades,” said Rice.
Before Covid hit, WMPCCS had more than 50 community volunteers meeting regularly with students. Students can self-refer to participate, families may request a mentor for their child, and teachers and staff may suggest students whom they feel would benefit. Families must give permission and then students complete a survey so they can be matched with an appropriate mentor.
Mentors meet one-on-one on campus with their students either once a week or once every two weeks to help with homework, play board games, or go outside to play basketball or go for a walk on campus. They also can visit the school’s Mala’ai garden, do crafts, talk story, and more, said the school’s Mentoring Coordinator Ilene Grossman.
During the 2022-23 school year, 72 students participated in mentioning with 42 community mentors and 6 Boys2Men mentors (some mentors choose to work with more than one student at different times of the week).
Current grant funding for WMS mentoring will end in July 2024 and the school welcomes donations to sustain this program. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
WAIMEA OUTDOOR CIRCLE – ULU LA’AU (WAIMEA NATURE PARK)
More about WOC
Waimea Outdoor Circle (WOC) is a branch of The Outdoor Circle which was founded in Honolulu in 1912. They foster environmental preservation and the enhancement of nature through education and community involvement and are committed to keeping Hawaiʻi clean, green and beautiful.
WOC was chartered with The Outdoor Circle in 1989 and they strive to create a healthy future for members and children.
The largest project of the Waimea Outdoor Circle is their Nature Park – Ulu La‘au. This means “Garden of Trees.” The park is free to the public and open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for walking, picnics, nature enjoyment, native plant identification, dog walking, etc. Ulu La’au is quite beautiful and includes the largest collection of different color ‘Ohia Lehua trees in the state and, therefore, the world!
WOC holds volunteer workdays every Saturday at 9AM, usually stopping between 11AM and noon to gather briefly to recap and discuss park issues and needs. No training is necessary and this is a good way to learn about Native Hawaiian plants, too. Everyone is welcome.
Also important to WOC is what is now a many-year campaign against the use of billboard advertising in Hawaiʻi. To date, Hawaiʻi is one of only four states in the nation that passed anti-billboard legislation. The others are Maine, Vermont and Alaska. A territorial law was passed banning billboards in Hawaiʻi in 1927. However, they had stopped being used in 1926 when early Outdoor Circle members purchased the last remaining business owning and advertising on billboards on Oahu. Outdoor Circle campaigns include all forms of advertising, from sky writing to political advertising and many other forms of signage. The County of Hawaiʻi Sign Ordinance outlines the legal uses of various forms of signs and advertising and WOC’s website provides a wealth of information about this and what to do about illegal signs.
WAIMEA TRAILS AND GREENWAYS
More about Waimea Trails and Greenways
Waimea – for all its beauty – is bisected by a four-lane highway, which hinders biking and walking, and much of the surrounding open space has restricted access for a variety of reasons.
In 1994, Main Street Waimea worked with the community and found agreement around liking Waimea’s beautiful places, but frustration that there were no trails providing access. “With a lack of walking and biking infrastructure, people couldn’t walk safely,” says Clemson Lam, Waimea Architect and Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea Committee Chairman. “No one could reach those places without trespassing,” Clemson recalls.
With this clear definition of the community’s need at its core, the Waimea Trails and Greenways committee was formed in 1994, meeting every Monday to look at streets, trails, and other relevant data. Hawaiʻi County hired a consultant to conduct a study and even numbered all the trees in 1998.
In 1999, Ulu La’au – Waimea Nature Park – was established by Waimea Outdoor Circle. And plans for the trail to safely, conveniently connect the Nature Park to schools, cultural centers, residences, local businesses and beautiful open space and vistas in Waimea and beyond were moving forward slowly.
“As a committee, we were frustrated. But we had the easements, so we rolled up our sleeves in 2008 and got to work building a trail. It took 115 volunteers four hours, but by the end of the day, Waimea had a new trail, running from Ulu La’au to Opelo Road.
“Our committee still meets once a month because there’s more work to be done,” says Lam. The current trail is about one mile long. Plans include eventually extending it from about historic Church Row to Ouli Park (approx. 5 miles) and perhaps beyond.
Volunteers are welcome for periodic workdays or to join the planning team and/or to adopt a section of the trail. Please email to talk about possibilities.
WEST HAWAIʻI MEDIATION CENTER (WHMC)
More about WHMC
Their Mission is to help people resolve conflict. Founded in 1988, WHMC strives to provide an array of high quality conflict resolution services to community members and organizations throughout West Hawaiʻi. WHMC provides a neutral setting for parties in conflict to have a confidential dialogue. With the assistance of two trained neutral mediators, parties are guided through a process of information gathering, identifying issues and areas of agreement to work toward finding a mutually satisfactory agreement.
WHMC relies on volunteers to serve our West Hawaiʻi community. The role of a mediator is to guide participants through the mediation process, helping them explore their own best solutions. While the role of a mediator is voluntary, the work in the community requires ongoing training, mediation practice, and dedication to the program. There is a fee for mediator training.
Volunteer mediators are expected to adhere to the following:
- Mediate 1 – 2 times per month (4-8 hrs per month)
- 8 hours of continuing education annually
- Foster co-mediator partnerships; open and honest communication with timely feedback
- Provide high quality services to the community
- Remain impartial and non-judgmental
- Open to all types of outcomes
- Ability to receive and deliver feedback
- Strong and effective listening
- Ability to ask exploratory and challenging questions
WHMC also provides peer mediation training to schools who seek to reduce unresolved student conflicts on their campuses and offers facilitation services to community groups and organizations in negotiating diverse issues.