We are so excited this month to celebrate one of our dear friends as volunteer of the month, Yvette Torres. Yvette’s smile is radiant and contagious and is one of our favorite things to be greeted by at the beach.

We recently got a call from Kaiser Permanente, where Yvette works, that she had submitted AccesSurf to receive an Exceptional Volunteer award of $10,000 and that because of her good work with us, we had been selected as a winner. It was a hard secret to keep because we were so excited and grateful, but the Kaiser team wanted to surprise Yvette, and what a surprise it was! Our biggest mahalo to Yvette and Kaiser for making this happen.

We’ll turn it over to Yvette, so she can share some of her experience with AccesSurf first hand:

I am absolutely grateful for Kaiser and their generosity.  They truly stand by their mission in serving their communities.  I am so happy and excited that AccesSurf received this money!  The winning was never about me.  It’s about the amazing things that all of you do for our access family.  There was tears of joy knowing that Access was a recipient. 

How I found AccesSurf: I would frequent White Plains often and would see the AccesSurf tents.  One day I just decided to look it up on line and the rest was history.  I showed up the following month.  Everyone was so nice.  I knew immediately that this was the place for me to give back.   For the past 3 years I have been volunteering at the “Day at the Beach”.

My Reason For Volunteering: My son-in-law had a brother named Nolan Pana, who had autism.  He had social, communication, and behavioral challenges, but none the less, his family loved him and centered their lives around him.  One day we were at the beach and the minute Nolan went in the water,  he became calm and happy.  It was beautiful to see him in his happy place.  It only confirmed that god and the ocean could do amazing things.  Nolan passed in 2014 at the age of 21, but his spirit lives on through all of us allowing others to experience his happy place.