Here at Whalen, we care passionately about positive change in the world and affecting social change. It was important to our founder, Ken Whalen, to give back to those in our community in a way that would make a long-term difference. We believe that doing so as a community amplifies our efforts. Our partnerships focus on empowering others and impacting structural change. Currently, we have two ongoing outreach efforts, both aimed at helping to build a better world.
Seng Girls’ Vocational Training School & Home
Since 2009, Whalen has been the major underwriter of the Captivating International project “Seng Girls Vocational Training School (SGVTS) and Home” in Qinghai Province China. During the span of 10 years, over 300 girls’ lives have been impacted, giving them hope, creating genuine choices, and making their education dreams come alive.
Whalen continues its efforts in supporting high-school and vocational school scholarships for underprivileged girls in Western China. These girls are studying a career path of their choosing which will open doors of opportunity that would have otherwise not been possible.
Ken Whalen Surf Challenge
The Ken Whalen Surf Challenge takes place annually at San Fernando Court in Mission Beach, San Diego. This fun and free event is for kids and challenged athletes between the ages of 4 and 15. We provide boards, instructors, food, music, and games for the celebration. Many of the volunteers and local organizations return every year.
We host this Challenge to honor Ken Whalen, who grew up surfing in Mission Beach and deeply wanted to share his love of surfing with others. Ken was an avid runner and extreme athlete who participated in triathlons. During one race, he was especially inspired by another runner who was missing an arm. This encounter led to a partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides adaptive surf equipment to any participants who need it.
Although our first event started out small, after several years, we’ve grown very large! People enjoy the day so much, that in 2020 even with COVID-19, they wanted to celebrate. We had 350 virtual attendees and look forward to when we can gather again in person for the laughter, joy, and waves.