Ryan Suenaga Scholarship

JamsLess than a week before Hawaii social worker and social media stalwart Ryan Suenaga lost his life, he posted to Twitter: “One of my life goals is to leave 10 percent of my estate to a scholarship for Buddhists from Hawaii studying social work.”

Ryan’s devotion to his job, and his passionate feelings about both the trials and triumphs of social work, was a key part of who he was, and one of the many reasons why we loved him so much.

So while the news of his death only just beginning to emerge Easter evening, his friend Cody Onizuka (@codyonizuka) publicly vowed, “I will do my best to make it a reality for you!”

Working with Susan Murata (@smurata) and Linh Hoang (@linhchic), Onizuka has worked with the University of Hawaii Foundation to do just that.

Ryan’s fans, friends, and family can now make a tax-deductible donation to the UH Foundation to the @rsuenaga scholarship fund.

You can donate online, or mail a check (payable to “University of Hawaii Foundation“) to:

University of Hawaii Foundation
P.O. Box 11270
Honolulu, HI 96828-0270

Just be sure to specify “@rsuenaga” as the program or account whether donating electronically or by mail (entering @rsuenaga in the memo field of your check, for example). You will receive a hardcopy receipt for your tax records.

On Tuesday, May 10, there will be a public tribute to Ryan at Macaroni Grill at Ala Moana Center. There, Cody, Susan and Linh, along with several members of Ryan’s “Tweeball” (Twitter basketball) team will be on hand to collect donations for the scholarship fund.

May Day Memorial

Sunday marked a week since Ryan’s passing, and I helped organize a small gathering so that some of his friends could take a moment to remember him. We met at Kakaako Waterfront Park to laugh, cry, and remember. We were joined by Rev. Miki Nakura of Higashi Hongwanji Mission in Kaneohe (Ryan was a regular visitor to the temple, and Rev. Nakura will be presiding over Ryan’s formal services later this month), who shared a chant and brief message before we threw lei into the sea to say goodbye.

It was a beautiful, moving tribute, and friend and photographer Marc Orbito captured some powerful images that I wanted to share:

In case you missed it, memorial services for Ryan will be held at Hosoi Garden Mortuary on Sunday, May 22. Visitation from 10 a.m., ceremony at 11 a.m.

3 Responses

  1. Aloha Ryan,

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Still in shock here on the East Coast over Ryan’s passing since the morning I heard about it. I went through the stages of grief before my day started, and have been crying again tonight while reading and watching the post-coverage.

    My heart breaks when I think of his passing and loss to the world, but am reminded that he is free, and I pray, in peace.

    He is dearly missed even across the ocean and beyond timezones.

    Love to Ryan, and to all of you,

  1. July 19, 2011

    […] in the championships and the opportunity to donate money toward the charity of our choice, the Ryan Suenaga Scholarship Fund. 808 Sports Leagues […]

  2. December 31, 2011

    […] One of Ryan’s dreams was to establish a scholarship fund for Buddhists who were aspiring social workers. Many of his friends helped to make that happen. You too can contribute to this fund. […]

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