About the Author: Diane Smith

This Service as Action guide was written for you by Diane Smith.

This is me at a conference for youth voices in service learning.

Over my 25+ years working with students and teachers, I spent over 8 years as a school counselor and 13 years as a Middle Years Programme (MYP) coordinator. I was also very involved in developing and facilitating adventure education programmes and strongly believe that learning-by-doing is one of the most powerful ways to learn about oneself and the world.

🌺 My grandparents came to Hawai'i over 97 years ago, and I grew up and have spent most of my life living on the island of O'ahu (except for college and travel). You may have heard of the word, 'aloha'! In Hawai'i, 'aloha' is not just something to say when greeting or saying goodbye to someone. It is actually a way of life and a deep part of the spirit of the islands. It is even part of the laws of Hawai'i!

'§ 5-7.5 "Aloha Spirit". (a) "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others … "Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.'

There is also a phrase, 'aloha 'āina', which basically means 'love of the land'. This phrase recognizes the interdependence of all living things. It conveys the need for everyone in a community to take responsibility for working in harmony with each other and the land to sustain life.

While these expressions communicate ideas that are foundational to Hawaiian culture, these values are also important for every human being. Our relationships with each other and with our planet are vital to our existence, our well-being, and even to our survival. So when we think about doing 'service as action', it is important that we realize that it is more than just a requirement of the MYP.

Service as action experiences are your chance to connect your spirit with other living things, and make a real difference in the world!