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Lifestyle // Proof Positive
MidWeek Staff

Teaching Ocean Safety And Conservation

By Duane DeSoto, founder and CEO, Na Kama Kai

Na Kama Kai (NKK) was founded in May 2008 to provide Hawaii’s keiki with access to ocean knowledge that usually is not available. NKK’s mission is to empower youths by creating, conducting and supporting ocean-based programs, specifically targeting ocean safety and conservation awareness. The goal is to increase the capacity of youths in the community through Hawaiian values, culture and environmental education. To date, NKK has served more than 5,000 keiki ages 2-18.

NKK grew out of many years of dreaming while I was traveling around the world engaging the ocean cultures of many countries. This, combined with my desire to give the gift of the ocean to the children of Hawaii like I received growing up at Makaha Beach, spawned the change I desired to see in my community.

NKK fills a void by teaching much-needed ocean skills to our young people. Drowning is still one of the leading causes of death in the United States. NKK saves lives!

“Keiki Aloha, Kai Aloha, (Beloved Child, Beloved Sea).” Our children are nurtured at the same time that their love for the ocean is nurtured. As they continue to grow, this contemporary proverb is a reminder of their special place in the world, along with their relationship and kuleana (personal responsibility) to the ocean and our natural environment.

Register your keiki online at our website for our free Ocean Safety and Conservation Awareness Clinic. Our community clinics are held the second Sunday of each month and rotate throughout the island. The next ocean clinic is May 12 at Ewa Beach Park.

Donations for our Ocean Equipment Recycling program can be dropped off at Bella Pietra at 701 N. Nimitz Hwy. Requests for refurbished surfboards and ocean equipment should be sent via email (info@nakamakai.org) or P.O. Box 240039, Honolulu, HI 96824.

You can get involved by volunteering your time and talents at one of our monthly ocean clinics. Or join us at our annual fundraising gala event, “Pa’akai,” in the fall. Or give an online donation.

For more information about how you can be a participant, call 864-9164 or visit nakamakai.org.

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