What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?
Wai Koa is Hawaiian for Water Warriors. The Wai Koa program is an adaptive water sports training program for physically and mentally disabled veterans. Live Water (a non-profit organization) will partner with Capital SUP (an Annapolis based water sports company and race training program) to train the warriors in a variety of paddle craft and will take them to races with the Capital SUP race team to compete! It will aim to improve the physical and mental well-being of these veterans by giving them a means to cope with their disabilities that is different than the normal routes. Wai Koa will provide a social and competitive outlet for these veterans, creating a community that will embrace them as they are.
How will you use the $10k?
The $10,000 would be used to help purchase different types of adaptive water sports equipment, from paddleboards and specific paddles, to outrigger canoes, plus kayaks, prone style paddle boards. This equipment will be used by various veterans to get them on the water and to feel comfortable using the various equipment. The money will also be used to fund travel for those veterans who wish to participate in the various local races, as Wai Koa seeks to create a race community of veterans who will radiate confidence and show that their disabilities will not define them.
What impact do you hope to make?
With Wai Koa targeting disabled veterans, the impact will be specifically felt by these individuals as well as their families and friends. It has been proven and is known that many individuals are impacted by their time served in the military and Wai Koa seeks to alleviate some of the hardships these individuals endure. Last year, Capital SUP (Live Water's profit partnership) worked with some veterans on the water and those veterans admitted that the effects of their PTSD were reduced due to their time spent on the water, Live Water with the Wai Koa program seeks to increase the number of veterans who are able to participate and benefit from the adaptive water sports.