Families began gathering on Folly Beach shortly after sunrise, tents and umbrellas popping up around them. At 9 AM, they formed a circle around Izzy Paskowitz, the man who started Surfers Healing.
Founded in 1996, Surfers Healing is a non-profit organization that gives autism families “one perfect day” — a day at the beach. Professional surfers from around the globe descend on coastal towns in the US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico to spend a day teaching kids with autism how to surf.
Last week, we got to see it for ourselves.
Lining the shore, families watched, cheered, and cried as their children stood up on surfboards. Some kids entered the water tentative or scared, but the waves that carried them back coaxed out so many smiles. They returned to land calm and proud.
“It’s the same thing that’s drawn me to the ocean my whole life,” one surfer said when we asked him about the magic we witnessed on the waves. “If you’re looking for answers, you won’t find them.”
Many of the surfers have invested themselves for years in Surfers Healing, dedicating months out of the year to touring the country and putting on the camps that mean so much to these families. “It changed my whole life; it gave me purpose,” one surfer told us.
It changed us, too.
If you would like to support Surfers Healing, you can use code SURFER when you order popcorn and 50% of your purchase will go toward helping them continue to provide these incredible camps free to kids with autism.