My name is Ruth Bernstone and I am currently serving as President of Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region (FL-WR). I guess you could call me a “professional” volunteer. I started volunteering in high school as a candy striper at our local community hospital. After finishing college and getting married, I continued to volunteer – taking an elderly couple, and the grandchild they were raising, and stand in line for them at the food stamp office, lobbying in the State and Federal legislatures on issues relating to children, and on professional and governmental boards.
After retiring and coming to Waikoloa, the volunteer opportunities were plentiful. I started in the emergency room of our beautiful new North Hawaii Community Hospital, where I made several good friends and felt useful. I initiated the Waikoloa Art center group and the Tai Chi practice group – after several moves, both groups are still active at the WVA Community room. As a retired CPA, I was asked to serve on the WVA Finance Committee. Helping to balance the budget for 3 years was a challenge, as I’m sure it continues to be. During those years, a new well had to be built and the first solar panels and electric golf carts were added.
For the last 5 years, FL-WR and our future library have been the focus of my volunteer efforts. It’s been a pleasure to work with a wonderful group of volunteers, legislators and the WVA, whose enthusiasm, good cheer and hard work have brought so many benefits to the community – the bookmobile, scholarships, Newbery Quiz Bowl teams, Kindles for the Waikoloa School, a health fair, and progress toward the future library. Our annual Walk/run for Literacy brings together Waikoloa residents of all ages, and many members of our community contributed their thoughts and art to our self-published book “This We Believe – Waikoloa Region”.
Volunteering has so many benefits to both the volunteer and the community – making new friends, building character and confidence by helping others, having fun, building community cohesion, in addition to just plain getting needed things done. It has been a great source of pleasure to me all my life and I encourage everyone to find their niche and passion too.
When I do have time, I love to cook and entertain our friends, take care of my veggie gardens, do needlepoint, solve crossword and Sudoku puzzles, play the piano and try to play the ukulele.
I am so blessed to live in Waikoloa Village, a town with the most generous, caring people of any place I have ever been. We love the quiet, rural feel of the village, and its central location to Kailua, Kona, Waimea and Hilo. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be near the nicest beaches on the Big Island as well as the best scuba sites in the State of Hawaii!