[dropcap letter=”S”]ome people may not fully understand the beauty of surfing or the desire to be on the beautiful big blue, wading through salty waves full of promise and liberation, but you don’t need to fully understand it to appreciate it’s majestic and healing properties. The ocean is the one element that connects us all and no better way to share that unified experience than to brighten the lives of special needs children by giving them an opportunity to join in on the fun.
This past month, California-based non-profit A Walk On Water (AWOW), a family of waterman sharing the therapeutic powers of the ocean with those in need, joined forces with The Montauk Beach House (TMBH) to bring their services to the east coast for the first time. Nearly 100 Eastern Long Island families with special needs children participated in a weekend of confidence-building surf therapy at Ditch Plains Beach. After experiencing the overwhelming support of the local community, AWOW further solidified its long-term commitment to the east coast by officially announcing their intention to have a full-fledged Montauk chapter up and running in 2016.
“A Walk On Water has always prided itself on working closely with the local community, its businesses and its surfers,” said Pat Notaro III, Founder and President of AWOW. “We stepped into Montauk’s back yard for the first time and were overwhelmed by the love and generosity we received from this unique beach community. This event is just the beginning of our investment in AWOW’s east coast presence.”
The newest chapter will be headed up by Walt Lindveld, Creative Director of The Montauk Beach House and Pat Fallon, Co-Founder of Whalebone Media.
“As soon as I heard about AWOW and realized what a special and unique organization it was, I knew it was something that we needed to share with the East End,” said Walt Lindveld, Creative Director of The Montauk Beach House. “The local support was overwhelmingly positive in making AWOW’s first trip to the east coast a reality.”
Through a call to action via local charitable organization Long Island Communities of Practice (LICoP) and Whalebone Media, families had the opportunity to experience the transformative properties that the ocean provides through a weekend in the water with AWOW (supported by CoreysWave instructors), while instilling a sense of confidence, accomplishment and joy in the participants. Coffee, breakfast and lunch were provided at the beach throughout the weekend via generous sponsorship from Left Hand Coffee, Happy Bowlsand Ditch Witch.
“The community showed up in a big way to support these families,” said Larry Siedlick, Owner of The Montauk Beach House. “Through our partnership with LICoP, we were able to bring families together to create an experience that not only benefitted the child, but that created stronger bonds between parents and siblings through surfing. It was important for us to find a way to utilize the strengths of our local community to be able to truly make a difference in other people’s lives.”
AWOW is currently in the process of raising the necessary funds to support their Montauk venture. For more information or to make a donation, please visit http://www.awalkonwater.org/. Dates for future surf events will be announced before the end of the year.
Speaking of the ocean …
Join me in Santa Monica in our efforts to keep our oceans clean and our seafood protected and fished responsibly while sipping beer, wine, cocktails, champagne and enjoying live music, yummy seafood, and lots of fun at Off The Hook Santa Monica Seafood Festival taking place Saturday, October 17th from 3-7pm.
Dawn Garcia is an LA born and bred Hispanic Latina. Growing up in a mixed race family that assimilated, and another that didn’t really allow for curiosity, the culmination of both became the driving force for pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo, and devoting her life to the fight for equality and social justice. In a quest to go against the grain, she started writing at a very young age to process trauma and better understand her innate desire to live out her free-spirited nature. She is a journalist and screenwriter who has developed original TV series’ and films. Her genres of choice are drama, dark comedy, and comedy. Her strengths lie in empathetic story lines, descriptors and dialogue — both natural and raw — and while diffused with humor, inevitably she hopes to show the thread that connects us all.
She is currently developing a comedy TV Series for MGM Studios/Gato Grande Productions. She is a mother, an activist, and lover of life.