Talia Gangini raises money for Maui Youth art education in Craft for a Cause this Saturday

Talia Gangini

Talia Gangini

Talia Gangini will combine two of her great passions, art and ocean sports, in an event this weekend called Craft for a Cause. Gangini will paddle from Maui to Lanai in a one-person outrigger canoe on Saturday, then from Maui to Molokai on a stand-up paddle board on the following Saturday.

Gangini is inviting community members to sponsor her journey by the mile, with all proceeds donated to the Hui’s youth scholarship program. Her goal is to raise between $3,625 to $14,500, to provide tuition for Maui kids that would otherwise not be able to attend a course at the Hui No’eau Visual Center.

“My quest is to raise at the least $3,625 to allow 25 of Maui’s keiki, who would normally not be able, to take art classes at Maui’s finest art center, the Hui No’eau,” says Gangini. “I know there are a lot of different causes to support, but I’m starting by making a difference in my own community.”

Taking the time between competing in Mexico at the third annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic, placing third in the SUP Elite Race and training for both the upcoming Waikiki Paddle festival and Maui’s Olukai Maliko race, Gangini created this fundraiser for the island’s youth. Trilogy will provide the escort sailboat to ensure that she arrives safely.

Her philanthropy efforts reflect her creativity. At 14, Gangini started taking jewelry classes at the Hui No’eau. From there she carved out a jewelry design business called Pashey Designz that won national press after some of her work appeared on the cover of the 2009 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

The same summer she began making jewelry at the Hui, she also paddled in the Molokai to Oahu Championships. Her team mate finished in first place. Gangini has now paddled across the Kaiwi Channel seven times (same with the Pailolo Channel from Maui to Molokai). All in a variety of crafts, including a traditional paddle board, an OC-1 canoe, by stand-up paddle board as well as a six-person canoe.

“We are completely wowed by Talia’s generosity and grace,” says Hui Youth Programs & Marketing Manager Kelly McHugh. “When she approached me asking if this ‘was OK with us,’ I practically buckled down crying, feeling so touched to have played a part in a program that this young woman felt compelled to support. She is an incredible, incredible artist and human being–and really sets the stage for future young philanthropists and the capability they have to make Maui a better place.”

Gangini has partnered with the non-profit Maliko Water Sports for the fundraiser. The suggested $2 per mile donation for Talia’s 42-mile journey can be made out to Maliko Water Sports by sending a check to 1026 Haiku Rd., Haiku HI 96708 but any amount is greatly appreciated. For more information or to donate via Paypal, go to taliagangini.tumblr.com/craftforacause.