BENEFITING: The Jay Moriarity Foundation
Help Aaron McKinnon get back in the Race! Aaron is a Capitola Junior Lifeguard instructor, Jay Race record holder, Cal Poly graduate, and incredibly humble and unselfishly giving person.
Aaron McKinnon hopes to pursue a Masters Degree in Journalism in Denmark through the European Erasmus Mundus Program in Journalism. We want to help him get there and earn his Masters Degree.
In addition, our friend Aaron has had significant health issues that have prevented him from participating in paddleboard races since he won the Jay Race and broke the course record (1:49:01) back in 2014. We want to raise money to help Aaron with his ever increasing medical expenses.
Below is a letter from Aaron addressed to the Jay Moriarity Foundation.
"By financially supporting my pursuit of a Masters Degree, the Jay Foundation will enable me to have the time to focus on both my education and my health, allowing me to concentrate on my studies without having to balance this with working abroad.
My graduate degree in journalism will allow me to achieve my dream which is to return to Santa Cruz with a global perspective and new ideas that will bring my coastal neighbors closer together.
My commitment to this cause is demonstrated in many ways. For instance, I created a web series on volunteer organizations in Santa Cruz County which allowed non-profit organizations the opportunity to share stories of hope and persistence that reflect our community’s collaborative nature. My commitment to the development of ocean awareness and safety, along with a deep respect and love for the water, is demonstrated in my work with youth from the beaches of California to the shores of Lake Tahoe. My work with junior guards, the Washoe Tribe Youth, and others has helped spread awareness about the enjoyment to be had in our oceans and lakes.
Training for the Jay Race showed me how personal goals are not achieved alone. I practiced the Jay Race Course over 100 times before winning but I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends that believed in me along the way. This diverse group of people also supported me through some challenging health issues. For the past several years, this community has humbled my heart and rejuvenated my spirits. In a similar way, the support of the Jay Foundation will support me as I continue to heal.
The Jay Moriarity Foundation Community continues to inspire my pursuit to use the ocean as a place for all people to play and learn together, and I am honored to receive this scholarship award. The award supports the efforts of those who seek to "Live Like Jay". I will use this award to continue my education in Denmark, where I will pursue a Masters Degree in Journalism through the European Erasmus Mundus Program in Journalism. Upon completion of the program, I plan to work in broadcast journalism and continue my work in documentary film-making. I want my work to promote cultural awareness to enable individuals with disparate ideologies to work together toward common goals. This goal is also reflected in the work of the Jay Moriarity Foundation.
At my first Jay Race, Frosty and Kim told stories of Jay that illustrated how his positive attitude helped to forge a community in our city and beyond. His good will seemed to go beyond the premise that kindness can warm a heart, but that it is also an invitation to connect and to feel connected.
It is my goal to truly live that motto in my work, and most importantly, in the way that I live my life. Thank you for your help." - Aaron McKinnon