AccesSurf Chosen to Receive the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award

AccesSurf has been chosen to receive the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award this year. The grant award in the amount of $5,000 from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund (HLCF) will support AccesSurf’s efforts to adapt to the evolving needs presented by social distancing.

“This support will be used directly for new supplies and equipment we will need to run our programs safely,” said AccesSurf Executive Director Cara Short.

AccesSurf’s mission builds an inclusive community that empowers people with disabilities through accessible beach and water programs. The nonprofit continues to be a pioneer in the advancement of adaptive water sports, ocean recreation, and therapeutic instruction for people with disabilities throughout the state of Hawaii.

“We appreciate the generosity from the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund more than ever as we restructure our programs during these times so we can continue to serve our community,” says Short, who has led the charity for several years. Driven by devoted volunteers, AccesSurf is best known for its monthly Day at the Beach instructional events held on the shores of Oahu.

“Our programs have typically involved large groups with hands-on support so now we look to a revised program structure with pre-registration, smaller groups working together throughout the program to limit exposure, and elevated equipment sanitization,” said Short.”We still have some hurdles to overcome, but we are doing what we do best and adapting!”

The Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award was established to honor the memory of our beloved colleague at Hawaii Life who we regretfully lost in late 2019. Mealoha had a heart for giving back to her community, dedicating almost five years to the HLCF beginning in 2014, when she took on the role as the first Board Chairperson. Under her guidance and leadership, the HLCF raised and donated more than $200,000 to Hawaii charities in 2018, alone.

Linda Hussey, current Board Chair of the HLCF, shared that Mealoha’s family had responded favorably to news of the choice. “Both Mealoha’s mom, Denise, and her sister, Nui, emailed to say they were very pleased,” said Hussey. “They said she would have loved that AccesSurf won this year’s award.” Mealoha’s mother and sister, Denise Nakanishi and Kealohanui Browning, are Hawaii Life real estate professionals serving the Big Island of Hawaii.

Each spring, as part of the Hawaii Love grant program, the HLCF distributes $5,000 grants to four local charities chosen by the HLCF Board of Directors through a grant application and careful selection process. The board also puts forth a selection from the remaining applicants and asks our agents and the general public to choose their favorite charity to receive the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award.

HLCF grants are disbursed annually, so stay tuned and follow the HLCF and Hawaii Life on Facebook to learn of next year’s application dates and deadlines.

Donations to AccesSurf can be made here.

Donations to the HLCF at the Hawaii Community Foundation to support future grants like these can be made here.

The Hawaii Life Charitable Fund is supported primarily through the generosity of our 350+ agents and approximately 40 employees statewide.

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