It was a perfect bookend to Earth Week 2021: On the morning of Saturday, April 25, a group of volunteers armed themselves with heavy-duty garbage bags and set out on a litter-finding mission along a stretch of Sugar Beach in North Kihei.
Three hours later, they had rounded up an entire Toyota Tacoma truck bed’s worth of trash. “It was filled to the brim with trash bags,” said Connor Carrigan of Keller Williams Realty Maui, who coordinated the beach cleanup.
Among the volunteers were a number of Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members, several of whom are part of RAM’s Young Professionals Network (YPN). Carrigan currently serves as the chair of RAM’s YPN; he joined the group nearly two years ago and was elected chair in January.
Carrigan came up with the idea for the beach cleanup in March. He’d driven past Sugar Beach en route to Lahaina several times and had noticed trash strewn along the roadway. “It really needed some love,” he said. With that in mind, Carrigan reached out to Brady Spangler of Guaranteed Rate, who enthusiastically agreed to sponsor a beach cleanup and help recruit volunteers.
The RAM member volunteers included Carrigan, Rich Wu of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers (who currently serves as the vice-chair of RAM’s YPN), Shelley Krynsen of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, Gray Marino of Title Guaranty and Chloe Marino of Coldwell Banker Island Properties. They cleaned the beach alongside friends, business partners, two- and four-legged family members, and total strangers. (Several beach-goers spontaneously joined the group that morning.)
As far as service projects go, Carrigan says a beach cleanup ticks all the boxes: It’s an opportunity to get outside, socialize, get some exercise, and give back in a meaningful and tangible way. “It’s a great way to bring everyone together and make a difference,” he said.
This isn’t the first time RAM’s YPN members have rallied around a worthy cause. For two years running, the group has hosted a pau hana Toys for Tots toy drive at Maui Brewing Company in Kihei. The toys they’ve collected have been delivered to local charities like the Salvation Army, Family Life Center, Mental Health Kokua, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Pacific Cancer Foundation, Molokai Youth Center, and Aunty Jan’s House of Blessings.
YPN is comprised of RAM members from various brokerage firms, as well as affiliate members. Although YPN stands for “Young Professionals Network,” it also welcomes members who are new to the business of real estate. “Our members are young in age and young at heart,” Carrigan said.
Among other things, YPN gives its members the tools and encouragement they need to pursue leadership roles within their local, state, and national Realtors associations; stay on top of industry news and trends; take an active role in policy discussions and advocacy issues; and give back to their community by volunteering for causes they feel passionately about.
Carrigan says plans for another YPN member-involved service project are now in the works. He’d like to organize another beach cleanup in 2021 and is open to ideas or suggestions for other projects. “If there’s a good way for us to give back, we’d love to act on it,” he said.
To learn more about RAM’s Young Professionals Network, contact Carrigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maui News – May 24, 2021