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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Na Kama Kai

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Education

Mission: Na kama kai's (children of the sea) mission is to empower youth by creating, conducting and supporting ocean-based programs, specifically targeting ocean safety and conservation awareness in order to increase the capacity of youth in the community through hawaiian values, culture and environmental education.

Target demographics: keiki

Geographic areas served: the Hawaiian Islands

Programs: one-on-one interactions with professional surfers, watermen and waterwomen, lifeguards, firefighters, marine scientists, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and ocean rescue instructors. The clinics provide a positive, nurturing, and controlled environment enabling keiki to become confident in the ocean through a personally guided experience. Participants learn Hawaiian stories related to the event location, help shape traditional wooden boards, and learn about traditional Hawaiian ocean culture through the contemporary perspective of ocean professionals. Nā Kama Kai programs target all youth from 2 to 18 years of age in many different cultural settings. Currently most of the programs occur on the Island of O’ahu, and to a lesser extent on the other neighbor islands of Hawai’i. Also, ocean clinics have been held at Papeete, Tahiti, Dana Point CA, and Japan and have demonstrated that the programs provided by Nā Kama Kai can serve as a model for other coastal communities.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Layla D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

We have been associated with Na Kama Kai from the very beginning and are glad to have done so. It is doing great things for our local keiki and our ocean. Imua Na Kama Kai!

Bud A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

While serving on the Board of Directors of Na Kama Kai for the last 3 years I have received tremendous satisfaction in knowing that we are having a positive influence on the lives of youth in the state of Hawaii. Na Kama Kai’s mission is to empower youth by creating, conducting and supporting ocean-based programs, specifically targeting ocean safety and conservation awareness in order to increase the capacity of youth in the community through Hawaiian values, culture and environmental education.
Na Kama Kai guides youth to become safe, responsible participants in recreational ocean activities and helps them fully appreciate and understand the importance of the ocean as part of our natural world. In essence they become “ocean intelligent”. Such learning occurs through guidance and experience in a nurturing environment where keiki (youth) learn how to be safe in the marine environment, grow physically and emotionally through interaction with the ocean, develop an overall respect for nature using the ocean as a connecting force to all living things, and learn that it is their responsibility to provide the stewardship needed to conserve our ocean recourses for future generations. To date, close to 4,000 keiki have participated in our free clinics. Our success is based entirely on the dedication and commitment of volunteers. These talented volunteers experience tremendous fulfillment as they empower the keiki to practice ocean safety and conservation. Such awareness saves lives and leads to stronger stewardship of our fragile island environment.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of Directors for Na Kama Kai for over a year, and within that time I have seen positive growth for both our keiki and efforts towards teaching stewardship to our community. The benefits for all that have experienced the clinics, whether as a participant, volunteer, or a parent, have been enriched by the positive message delivered. The smiles from the keiki having their first experience of being in and on the ocean has given them the confidence needed to reach beyond their comfort zones and try something new. In many ways Na Kama Kai has empowered so many, in so many different ways. Mahalo to good people that make Na Kama Kai happened each month.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Nā Kama Kai (Children of the Sea) is an excellent organization that shares its passion of the ocean with all children (young and old). Not only has Nā Kama Kai made a positive impact to the children but also to the volunteers that have the wonderful opportunity to work individually with each child. Through generous volunteers, donations, and sponsors, Nā Kama Kai has been able to provide free monthly ocean clinics around the entire island of Oahu and has even made special trips elsewhere. I joined Nā Kama Kai, first as a volunteer then as a Board Member, because I strongly believe in this organization and its mission of "empowering youth by ...specifically targeting ocean safety and conservation awareness to increase the capacity of the youth..."