Academy senior named top youth volunteer of the year


Sacred Hearts Academy senior Mahealani Sims-Tulba wrote a book titled, “It’s Okay to Be Different” and was awarded one of the top youth volunteers of the year. Photo by Rochell Ann Agapay.

Sacred Hearts Academy senior Mahealani Sims-Tulba was recently named one of Hawaii’s top youth volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program. Sims-Tulba was recognized for the start-up of her nonprofit program aimed at preventing bullying.

“It feels surreal that I was nominated for one of the top volunteers in the state of Hawaii. I tried to apply for it last year but unfortunately was not nominated, so to be nominated this year is a huge honor,” Sims-Tulba said.

Sims-Tulba also wrote a book about her experiences titled, “It’s Okay to Be Different,” which she hands out to students and reads at schools and libraries throughout the island.

Her program against bullying has reached 40,000 students in Hawaii.

“I have put a lot of work into my community service, and I’ve been giving back to the community since I was 10 years old,” Sims-Tulba said. “This program is a big part of my life since I have been doing community service for a long time. I hope that I can go to Washington D.C. and receive the national award, but ultimately I want to be able to continue giving back to the community on a larger, national scale.”

Sims-Tulba and fellow awardee Grace Kennedy of Saint Anthony School Kailua will receive $1,000 each and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. this April.