Cal State Fullerton alumni Raquel Lizarraga ’10 and Henry Reyes ’10 recently won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the work that their nonprofit, International Surf Lifesaving Association, has done to help prevent people from drowning. Here’s more of the story about ISLA:
“This is another chance to get the issue of global drowning in front of our world’s leaders.” Said ISLA Co-Founder/President, Henry Reyes.
Reyes and ISLA’s Vice President of Operations, Will Koon, received Gold awards for accumulating over 500 hours of service. Olin Patterson, Director/Co-founder of ISLA, along with Raquel Lizarraga, ISLA’S Vice President for Development, both were awarded Silver for their 400 hours of service, and ISLA’s IT Manager, Michael Lopez received Bronze for his 200 hours.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Obama Administration for our efforts to prevent drowning,” Lizarraga said upon receiving the award. “Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide with two people drowning every minute. When a few of us started ISLA with our first trip to Nicaragua, we had big dreams. Now, we are seeing our dreams become a reality. Not only do we have over 200 volunteers going on multiple trips on every continent, but even the President recognizes drowning as a global issue and the importance of the work we do.”
Since its inception in 2008, ISLA has expanded to volunteering in over 9 countries. The organization has provided 1,628 preventative actions, including 220 rescues, 188 medical aids, and 14 international lifeguard trainings and workshops. With ongoing operations in the U.S., Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Macedonia, ISLA has set the goal of leading one trip per month in 2015 to a different country in its continuous efforts to decrease drownings around the globe and increase lifesaving skills and awareness. Comprised entirely of volunteers; the organization serves to provide training, medical supplies, disaster relief, and emergency personnel to communities in need around the world.