This month we have the great pleasure of celebrating one of our most humble and hardworking volunteers, Donielle! Donielle started volunteering with us many years ago, but it was when Cara approached her about a new swim program nearly six years ago that she took it to the next level.

Donielle has been absolutely intrumental in starting, running, and growing our quarterly adaptive swim clinics – which is a favorite programs both for our volunteers and participants. Of course her service is not just limited to running the swim clinics (which is a lot of work!) but she also still attends DATB to volunteer and her hula halau performs at the opening ceremonies of the Hawai’i Adaptive Surfing Championships.

We could sit here and praise Donielle all day, so perhaps it’s best to turn over the microphone and let her share her experience in her own words:

All the AccesSurf events I’ve attended have been both rewarding and inspiring.  It’s those two qualities that keep me coming back! About 7 years ago, a friend suggested that I join her in attending one of the AccesSurf DATB events because of how much I loved to both surf and participate in community events. After helping a little boy surf his first wave while giggling the whole way, then watching as a woman riding prone on a board made it all the way to shore with the biggest smile on her face – I was hooked!
As a swimmer and former swim coach, Cara asked if I would be interested in helping to organize swim clinics for interested AccesSurf participants.  My answer was an immediate and resounding YES!  We started brainstorming and planning the program in 2013, and eventually developed a small group of enthusiastic and passionate coaches who were up for this exciting venture. With the help of some amazing coaches of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (Alan Voisard & Alison Terry!), we received the necessary training and support to coordinate the events.  In November 2014, AccesSurf held its first Swim Clinic! It was so much fun.  Since then, we’ve been conducting 3-4 clinics a year and our small group of swim coaches and volunteers has been slowly growing. While I may have helped put these clinics into motion, it’s our amazing group of coaches and reliable volunteers that really make these events possible. I think the events are as rewarding for me as they are for the participants!
Thank YOU, AccesSurf, for providing me with the opportunity to give back to the community in such a positive, supportive, and loving environment!