Alson ‘Tuak’ Kelen – Director
“Working for WAM is win-win-360. While promoting and conserving our precious culture, we’re utilizing it to provide a future for our young people and a sustainable livelihood for our fragile nation.”
Alson, who is a certified counselor, has been involved in the traditional canoeing culture of the Marshall Islands for a number of decades. For four years, he assisted the Waan Aelõñ Kein (These Islands) project to document the step-by-step construction of Marshallese canoes. In the late 1990s, he co-founded the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program, a registered Non-Government Organization.
As well as being the ongoing Director of WAM, Alson has worn many hats over the years, including the following:
- Mayor of Bikini Atoll (November 2009 to 2011); Councilman for Bikini Atoll (November 2007 to November 2009); Chairman of Marshall Islands Shipping Corporation (2006 to 2015); and President, Council of NGOs (2005 to present). Member of the National Nuclear Commission 2018
Alson’s many achievements relating to canoes includes writing and compiling the following: Traditional Canoe and Canoe Model Building Workbook, English version; Traditional Canoe and Canoe Model Building Workbook, Marshallese version; Canoe and Canoe Model Building Manual, English version; Canoe and Canoe Model Building Manual, Marshallese version.
Tamie Bowman – Associate Director
“It’s a privilege to be part of the WAM organization. They have developed a unique program that combines preserving Marshallese culture through canoe building and sailing with teaching life skills that assist in navigating the ‘real world’ job market.”
Tamie started work as WAM’s Associate Director in October, 2015. She hails from Washington State and she and her husband, Joel, arrived in the Marshall Islands on their yacht Good News in December, 2014. The Bowmans have lived in Micronesia since 2008, mainly based in US Territory of Guam. Tamie was excited to learn about WAM and the program’s efforts to teach traditional canoe building and sailing skills to the youth of the Marshall Islands. As Associate Director she is assisting Director Alson Kelen in all aspects of program operations, the writing of grant applications, promoting the organization … and managing the website!
Qualifications: Tamie has been involved in various business and volunteer activities and is now actively receiving training to raise her skills in program management and grant writing.
Kristin Del La Torre – Finance Officer
Binton Daniel – Master Canoe Builder
“I like working at the WAM program because I enjoy teaching the trainees how to learn the names of the different woodworking tools and how to use them. Next I teach them how to build canoes and the skills to sail them. My goal is that they will learn these skills well enough that they can pass the knowledge on to their families and friends.”
Qualifications: Trained in Gardening hosted by PIMA; Trained in Canoe Building by Master Canoe Builders Zedkeia Baso, Pinam Henry, and Samuel Jambin
Isocker Anwell – Trainer
“I live in Laura, at the western side of Majuro, and enjoy working at the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program as a trainer. My goal is to work with the youth and teach them tool names, tool usage, and work skills such as canoe and boat building. I also teach them how to cook healthy food.”
Qualification: Certificate of Completion in the Waan Aelon in Majel Program. Joined WAM in 2006.
Gregory Jokray – Trainer
“I come from the island of Ebeye in the Kwajalein Atoll but have been in Majuro for the last six years. I currently live in Laura with my wife and children. I enjoy working at WAM because it’s important that our young people learn the importance of the canoe in our culture. I like helping them better their lives as they attend the WAM training programs.”
Qualifications: Attended Job Corp 1996-1999 for Basic Carpentry; Agricultural Training in Republic of China (Taiwan) 2000 and with the training went to Arno Atoll to train others till 2002; IPC 2002-2003 Carpentry School for Building Construction; Pacific International Inc. (PII) 2015 Carpentry School
Suemina Bohanny – Counselor
“Iakwe! My name is Suemina Bohanny, I am from the Island of Majuro and my clan name is Ribit. The CMI Peer to Peer program enabled me to develop my quality skills and knowledge regarding counseling and working with youth. On January 10, 2017, I jumped aboard on to the WAM “Canoe” of the Marshall Islands as a counselor to help sail and navigate the lives of youth in the Marshall Islands. I admit, it’s not an easy job but working with WAM and the youth that attend the program has increased my knowledge of our culture and also enlightened me about the challenges youth in the RMI are facing today.”
Qualifications: I graduated Cum Lade from the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) with an Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. To date I have attended workshops and taken online courses that have elevated my experience in counseling. Recently, I had the privilege to take the Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) exam provided by Pacific Substance Abuse and Mental Health Certification Board (PSAMSHCB) and the International Certification for Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc. (IC&RC) at Guam and as a result, I am proud to say that I passed as a Regional Certified Prevention Specialist. It’s an honor to be a part of the WAM team.
Sealend Laiden – Counselor
“My name is Sealend Laiden; and, my clan name is Kalo. I’m originally from Ailinglaplap, but I’ve been residing on Majuro for 8 years now. As a WAM Counselor and Certified Prevention Specialist(CPS) I’m providing services to youth in the Marshall Islands to better their lives on campus as well as in their communities. In my role as a counselor I provide group and one-one-one counseling, life-skills education, job readiness training, and most importantly hope of a better future for the young men and women of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.”
Qualifications: I graduated from the College of the Marshall Islands on May 21, 2016 with an Associate degree of Arts in Liberal Arts. As a former CMI Peer Educator, I’ve gained experience in helping young-adults. I started my career as a Life-Skills and Substance Abuse Counselor at WAM on August 3, 2016 and recently became a Regional Certified Prevention Specialist. WAM offered me a unique opportunity to expose my true potential in providing assistance to youth in the Marshall Islands.