YESOD “YEE” WILLIAMS

FOUNDER OF CHEEPONO FOUNDATION

Yesod “Yee” Williams, a 1997 graduate of Konawaena High School in Kealakekua, Hawaii, is the drummer for the reggae rock band Pepper. Yee, who also hosts the Disposable Heroes Podcast, credits his upbringing on the Big Island for shaping him into the person he is today. Yee formed the CheePono Foundation as a way to support the dreams of Big Island youth who are limited by the constraints of living on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A passionate surfer and musician, Yee will use the foundation to support Big Island youth surfing and percussion education as well as other programs that encourage Big Island youth to dream big and reach for the stars. Hear more about Yee's story!

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Yesod Williams

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JIMMY ULUALOHA NAPEAHI

SURFING & CULTURE ASSOCIATE

Ulu grew up surfing the rugged breaks on the Eastside of the Big Island and fought through all of the obstacles he faced to become a professional surfer. This makes him uniquely qualified to serve as CheePono’s advisor for all things surfing and Hawaiian culture. Ulu can often be found surfing his local breaks on a traditional alaia, a thin, round-nosed, square-tailed surfboard ridden in pre-20th century Hawaii. The foundation will be working with Ulu to develop programs that help young surfers explore traditional Hawaiian surfing as well as clinics and training programs to better prepare our aquatic athletes to compete against all comers in modern surfing contests. Hear more about Ulu's story.

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MATT BARBACCIA

KONAWAENA HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC

SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT

Matt moved from his hometown in Rochester New York to Hawaii's Big Island in 2017 and took a job as a math teacher at Konawaena High School. His passion for music has earned him the music position at the school where he now focuses on building opportunities for students to pursue their musical passions. Matt has worked in nonprofits most of his life, starting his own charity in 2016 called Ride4Parkinsons. He began working with the CheePono Team in August 2020 as a liaison for Yee's alma matter, and has recently joined the CheePono Foundation as a web designer and content provider.

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