P. Mark Kirwin, Esq.
Mark Kirwin works as a civil litigation partner at the law firm of Kirwin Becker Law Group in Ventura, California. He has over 20 years of legal experience litigating and advising clients regarding complex cases; including, issues in the areas of business creation and operations, construction defect law, contracts, employment law, fenestration, insurance, and advises non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations.
Mr. Kirwin also works as a certified mediator and California Superior Court appointed mediator and arbitrator. He is licensed to practice in California and Colorado.
In addition to KIRF, Mark volunteers as the executive team leader for International Climate Change Team of Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB) and is its Designated Contact person for the UNFCCC. Mark in works on climate change dispute resolution issues at the Climate Change Treaty Negotiations by advocating for mediation and informal problem solving to address climate change disputes from the local to international levels. He has authored suggested treaty text regarding mediation submitted to the United Nations Climate Change Parties for consideration. You can read more about MBB at MediatorsBeyondBorders.org.
Mark is also a member of the Rotary Club of Ventura. He has volunteered for local community service projects in Ventura and elsewhere on behalf of the humanitarian organization. As a member of the organization's international committee, Mark assists the Rotary Club of Ventura with education projects and the Gigante Community Health Center in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua.
Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in History from
University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his Juris Doctorate
from California Western School of Law.
When not working or volunteering he can be found spending quality time with his children, writing and working out. His interests include writing, Tae Kwon Do, ocean swimming, trail running and surfing. Before becoming a parent Mark competed in triathlons and had finished in two Ironman Triathlons. Mark was born in Hamilton, Bermuda and he and his family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in the late Seventies. Mark has lived in California since he began law school in 1988.
Mark described what motivated him to start KIRF. Mark said, "I was inspired by the tragedy of the 2004 tsunami because we were so lucky to have survived and there were so many people that needed help."
Angela Rockett Kirwin
Angela Kirwin is an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at College of the Canyons
and continues to use her ethnographic research and graphic design skills as web designer and front-end developer at Rockett Studios.
She maintains these Instagram and Twitter profiles: Instagram.com/AnthroMama and @AgBioethics.
Her research areas include: California Indian cultures (specifically Prehistoric and Mission Era Chumash material culture), cross-cultural disaster relief, gender and social change in rural Bihar, India, WOOF'er (Work on Organic Farms) resistant sub-cultures,
applied consumer website usability research through Rockett Studios, biocultural adaptations and cultural rituals in sport sub-cultures (published online at MultisportMama.com), and howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) in Nicaragua.
Angela has a Masters of Arts degree in Anthropology from California State University of Northridge and a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration, Marketing from San Diego State University. Before starting KIRF with Mark, she has worked for environmental and education non-profit organizations such as Roots & Shoots, a program of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy as a web design and online marketing consultant. In the for-profit sector, Angela has enjoyed working in the outdoor industry for international brands Patagonia, Diamondback Bicycles and PowerBar. Angela used to be a nationally-ranked competitive triathlete. She qualified for and competed in the World Ironman Triathlon Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 1994 and the Boston Marathon in 2004.
Angela's current interests include local ethnobotany, American Indian heritage, environmentally sustainable food cultures, and finding news ways to make anthropology engaging and relevant to her students while helping them become aware of their own biases and more empathetic of people of different cultural backgrounds. Angela has lived in California all her life.
Angela was inspired to help others through KIRF by experiencing the 2004 tsunami disaster first-hand, meeting Dr. Jane Goodall and by her mother-in-law Diane Kirwin. After retiring from social work and raising five children, Diane founded the Shekhawara Village School (formerly known as the Kirwin James International School) with local Indian humanitarians in rural Bihar, India. No matter how young you are, or how old you are, anyone can make a difference. Angela has said more than once, "Everyone is important. Anyone can make a real difference for good in the world."
|KIRF was founded on January 1, 2005 by Mark and Angela Kirwin in response to their need to help victims of the Andaman Sea tsunami which struck during their family vacation in southern Thailand on December 26, 2004.
Mark and Angela Kirwin, along with their two children, survived the December 2004 Thailand tsunami through an ironic last minute change in lodging plans. The very next day after they switched resorts, tsunami waves hit the beaches south of Ranong, destroying all of the bungalows where they were going to stay and killing 170 on that beach. They’d also planned to catch a morning island tour boat to Ko Phayam but uncharacteristically slept in and missed the boat, which was later lost at sea. Witnessing the horrifying aftermath, the Kirwins were moved to do all they could to help. They volunteered at a Thai hospital, purchased supplies and prepared relief packages with the local police and military. The event had life-changing consequences, and soon after, KIRF (Kirwin International Relief Foundation) was born.
The secular non-profit foundation established a mission to help those affected by disasters, especially underserved communities, emphasizing aid that leads to self-sustainability.
When the Kirwins returned from the storm-torn coastal southern Thailand, they wanted to do more. They founded KIRF, held a fundraiser in Ventura, and Mark Kirwin twice returned to Thailand. He used the donations raised in the US to help build a sustainable fish farm; provide books, art supplies and clothes to school children. KIRF was able to provide generators, boats, food, clothes and water catching facilities to Moken islanders (nationless sea gypsies profiled by National Geographic magazine in the issue dated April 2005).
Excerpt from VC Life & Style Magazine, Winter 2006.