By Kerry Miller Share Del.icio.us
Her kind heart drove Coralie Chun Matayoshi from the world of practicing law to her current job as chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, Hawaii state chapter.
“I’ve been with Red Cross for almost four years now. It’s been a real challenge financially, (but) my heart is here and I’m very passionate about helping people,” admits the former executive director of the Hawaii State Bar Association who graced MidWeek‘s cover in May 2002.
She describes her change in career as a timing thing, saying that “it was the right time for a challenge of this sort. It’s humanitarian, and I just fell in love with the mission (of the ARC).”
A nice perk of her job is that the Kaimuki resident normally doesn’t have to travel far to the American Red Cross offices on Diamond Head Road. However, Matayoshi explains, her “two minute” commute has become a bit longer lately as the ARC headquarters building is undergoing a much-needed renovation.
“It’s a 30-year-old building that has never been upgraded. The inside got gutted out because all the plumbing, AC, electric had to be changed,” she says. “The inside is going to be completely new.”
The building’s courtyard also was filled in to add more office space, and Matayoshi says, it makes it more energy-efficient.
Besides the building upgrades, this coming summer will be a busy one for the local chapter of ARC. The organization offers its annual Summer Swim program with sessions for keiki, age 4-13, beginning June 16 and adults, age 14 and up, starting June 12. Teens are welcome to join the Summer Buddies program, where they would teach kids how to swim, become certified in CPR and first aid, earn community service hours and teach kids other things having to do with the beach, like Hawaiian fishnet making. For more information on these programs and to sign up, visit www.hawaiiredcross.org or call 739-8151.
On June 23 from 8 to 11 a.m., the organization holds its annual “True Blue Heroes Breakfast” at John Dominis restaurant. KSSK’s Larry Price and Michael W. Perry will broadcast live from the event,“We’re honoring heroes from the community and our own Red Cross volunteers,” says Matayoshi.
Though heading up the Red Cross is the main focus of her life right now, Matayoshi still lends her legal skills and time as an arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitrator Program, an arbitrator with the Better Business Bureau (Hawaii state) and is a mediator with the Neighborhood Justice Center.
Elsewhere in life, the mom (pictured above with husband Ron) says she’s “feeling old, because my baby is graduating from high school, one is out of college, and one is still in college.”
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