Hi Rory! Thank you again for doing this, hopefully we can help spread your message so people can see the need for this program on Kauai and help if they can!
Firstly, how long have you been living on Kauai?
I’ve lived on Kauai since February 2016.
When this idea was first presented to you, what exactly were they asking you to come and do?
I actually ended up on Kauai with no job offer whatsoever. I fell in love with the kids our here and made the move before anything was presented. I showed up, started coaching adults, then eventually our whole program came to fruition. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
What were your initial thoughts, were you nervous, excited or both? You were living in and coaching in Seattle at the time, what lead you to take the leap and change your path?
There wasn’t a nervous bone in my body before I made the move. I was 100% certain it was the right thing to do, and I had all of the confidence in the world about the decision I was making. After I attended the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run in 2015 as an athlete I came home with a little piece of my heart left behind on Kauai. It wasn’t much more than a whisper, but when I visited again on a whim a few months later it became clear I had to move. I was walking through airport security for my return flight back home to Seattle, stopped dead in my tracks, and heard God say “move here”. So I did!
Since you’ve moved, what have you been up to, what exactly does a day in the life of Rory look like? You coach kids at crossfit Poipu, right? Tell us a little about that and the program for the kids.
My days are all over the place. Not only do I coach kids at both of our programs on Kauai, in Poipu and Kekaha, I run the majority of the non-profit. So at any given time I could be working admin, handling social media, picking up kids in an 18 passenger van, having meetings with our staff, or answering emails. I wear a lot of hats.
How many kids currently attend crossfit Poipu?
We are currently running three different programs on the island. Two CrossFit and one Jiu Jitsu. Our CrossFit programs are pretty inclusive— everyday we pick up the kids from school, take them to the gym, workout, feed them, then drive them home to their houses. This happens at both locations. So far we have 450 kids registered, with 300 kids between both gyms attending every week. Our Jiu Jitsu program is relatively new. We offer classes for kids two nights a week, with 50 kids already attending regularly. All of our programs are 100% free for any kid to participate in.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced while there?
There have been a lot of challenges while I’ve been here. The biggest ones are internal for the organization. Running a business is hard! And running a non-profit seems to be even harder.
What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve gotten to experience while there?
The kids are hands-down the most rewarding part of the process. Seeing them transform, grow, and really thrive within our community is encouraging.
There was a fundraiser going on to open a second facility, how cool! Its called the campaign for Kekaha and you are raising money to fund it for an entire year, what exactly does that mean? The kids get to attend for free?
Our Campaign for Kekaha was a huge success! We raised over $88,000 to support our second location for the year. Because our programs are entirely free for kids we are dependent upon the generosity of others to ensure that they have a safe community to belong to. This amount will cover 75 kids through our program in Kekaha for the year. We’re looking to sponsor 150! That leaves us half way to our major goal. The Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run is our next fundraiser to help us get there.
I think its pretty awesome what you guys are doing, for others who haven’t heard of it yet, why should they donate to this cause?
The Keala Foundation’s mission is to build communities to support the youth of Hawaii. It’s heart is centered around combatting drug and alcohol addiction. Substance abuse is a huge problem everywhere, but it’s little-discussed and often overlooked in Hawaii. But in reality Hawaii has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use and youth drug addiction in the nation. Addiction is something that affects everyone, it’s a sneaky disease that has a way of devastating people we love. Fortunately, we’ve found a solution. Through healthy communities our kids are given a chance to grow up in a healthy environment, surrounded by people who understand the problem and will unconditionally guide them towards the solution. When you donate you help us make an impact on these kids and build a brighter future for our next generation.
We could not be more inpsired by the change and impact Rory and this program is having on these children! Children are our future and this program is giving them the support and encouragment to believe in themselves and their future! If you guys would like to support this mission and make an impact on a childs life, we ask that you donate to www.kealafoundation.com/give
Rory we absolutely adore you and your mission! You inspire so many with your love and grace, thank you for taking the time to chat with us!