One of the many things that make Lanai so special is that it truly is one of the best places in the world to raise a family. That’s in part due to wonderwomen like Shelly Barfield, a Lanai girl who has dedicated her life to caring for Lanai’s youth.
For most people, just looking at Barfield’s laundry list of volunteer activities and responsibilities is exhausting, but somehow, she makes it all work — AND she is a mother of three (that count grows on the weekends when her kids have sleepovers) AND she is crazy organized AND she makes it all look easy.
Shelly’s many causes
Barfield sits on the board of LHES Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving education, supporting teachers and getting parents involved, and is also the secretary (and former treasurer) for the Lanai Youth Center.
“I showed up to a Lanai Youth Center meeting and they were electing officers. I was drafted,” Barfield joked. “But the Youth Center is such a positive and important place for young adults to have access to, that I couldn’t help but step up. Same for LHES Foundation—it’s all about opening up better educational opportunities and support for our students.”
When you’re good at what you do, everyone notices: Barfield was also drafted for the TriLanai board, too, when Todd Winston, her former boss, stepped up as race director and appointed her assistant director last year. In their first year organizing TriLanai, Barfield and Winston created two $1,000 scholarships for LHES seniors participating in or volunteering at the race. They also landed sponsorships for bicycles, which they awarded to two students who completed the triathlon. Barfield’s goal is to increase youth participation and promote the event as a healthy, fun activity that enables participants to receive scholarships to achieve their goals.
A passion for youth sports
So, what motivates this busy mother and one-woman show at Lanai’s Department of Motor Vehicles office to take on new challenges and responsibilities despite an already chaotic schedule? “I lost my parents young, so my goal is to give my kids and other children opportunities I never had. I like giving back to the community that molded me into who I am.”
And that is exactly what she’s done. Barfield has been and continues to be heavily involved in youth sports, including PONO softball and Little League baseball. For years, when her children were younger, Barfield dedicated her time to filling the important role of “team mom,” rarely ever missing games, traveling with the team, always cooking meals and fundraising, and doing just about everything else that needed to be done. She was also the “halau mom” at Na Pualei O Kaunoa, her mother-in-law’s hula halau, working on skirts, costumes and travel arrangements.
There’s no doubt that Barfield’s many volunteer activities have not only greatly benefitted the community, but have also taught her skills such as discipline, organization, time management, how to work well with others, and communicate with people from all walks of life — qualities that she now instills in young people every day.
“I’m excited for the potential of all the organizations I’m involved with to really make a difference,” Barfield said. “They give our children positive experiences, ways to get involved, and ways to improve their education and their future.”