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Meet Mary Haberski of Daana Blue

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Haberski.

Mary, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Being from Chicago, I never had much experience with the ocean. In fact, I only saw the ocean four times prior to starting my passionate love affair with surfing. I was immediately hooked on the sport/lifestyle and began going daily. The more I went, the more disheartened I became about how much trash was on the beaches and floating in the water. I couldn’t make sense of the other surfers ignoring it and just coming in and out without taking any trash out of the ocean or off the beach.

What really inspired Daana Blue to be birthed into existence was a documentary called Mission Blue, it changed everything for me and I knew that my small part of collecting trash while surfing wasn’t enough, so I did something about it. I wanted to help educate people on the importance of the health of our oceans, in a fun and approachable way. Awareness is where it all starts, if we don’t know better, how can we do better?  So I decided to start organizing local beach cleanup events where I tied in all the things I love most, community, yoga, service, surfing, and FUN!

Has it been a smooth road?
In the beginning I had a partner for the first few cleanups but she was very busy and not as dedicated to the vision as I was, so we parted ways. If anyone tells you running an organization is a smooth road, they are likely trying to sell you something. Being that we offer the events free to the public, we do not have a revenue stream. This is our 4th year of operation and we have had maybe $500 in donations to date. As a busy entrepreneur and business owner, It is challenging to dedicate my time and energy to the organization as it takes countless hours to produce an event. While we have help from volunteers and people who help cross promo, all the back end is a one-woman show, planning, organizing, web design, social media, marketing, and in-kind sponsorship.

Outside of small donations, all operating expenses come from my pocket. Our tagline is “in the spirit of generosity’ and while this is a passion project, I am often not part of that stream of generosity. Yes, we should do things because it makes us feel good, but balance is crucial to the survival of any organization and lack thereof is a major reason why most non-profits fail. When people aren’t getting what they need to make the organization happen, burn out is inevitable. With that said we are so grateful for all the people who collaborate with us as it would not be possible to make this all happen without them!

I had to take a break from the organization because we got burned badly by LAUSD. They cut me from my own programming, took our ideas, and gave the kids a watered down experience, it was heart-wrenching. All I cared about was giving underprivileged kids a special day and that was taken from me. At that point I had it. We were doing monthly cleanups at that time with not a lot of people showing up so I stepped away from the project. Now we are doing quarterly cleanups and I am reaching out for financial sponsorship so I can pay people to help me out so we can serve at a higher level. It is all a learning process!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We offer quarterly, free, family friendly, beach cleanup events, where I teach a beach yoga class, we clean the beach, and Wave Huggers gives free surf lessons. After the event we celebrate our good deeds with our partner, Venice Ale House. Being in the spirit of generosity is what we do, so we partner with other earth-loving companies who donate quality products for our guests.

Our main objective is not cleaning every piece of trash on the beach, but to shine the light of awareness on the climate of the environment and give suggestions on how we can live greener lives. It’s important to us to be optimistic, we claim our selves to be an ocean optimistic organization, believing that people should fill themselves up first (yoga), then serve from the overflow. We also believe in gifts for good deeds and most importantly having fun!

Working with kids is a big part of our blue heart. We love going into schools offering workshops on ocean conservation and we partner with youth groups to organize cleanups. At Daana Blue we know that our mess is going to have to be cleaned up by the next generation, so we offer support in fostering their young and brilliant minds.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We don’t have enough ocean conservation organizations! We support our neighboring organizations because we feel we are one cause. LA is the perfect place to set up shop and get people on board with making a positive change for our environment, and in reality, us humans being sustained on this earth. I would say go for it and let us know if you want to partner up!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michael Witt, Louis Fisher

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