Surfers Healing was founded over twenty years ago to help kids with autism feel the joy of riding the waves. Pro surfer Izzy Paskowitz and his wife Danielle founded the nonprofit in 1996 after their son Isaiah was diagnosed with autism and they discovered that the ocean brought some calm to him when he was feeling overwhelmed. Since then, they’ve helped countless kids feel the rush of dropping in and the tranquility that can only come from floating on the waves. But there’s another group of people whose lives are forever changed when they participate in a camp with Surfers Healing.
Having a child with developmental disabilities can be volatile and isolating. That’s why being on a beach with families that experience the same things can be so meaningful. The knowledge that you aren’t alone. The feeling of community that comes from being surrounded by families that are just like yours. It’s an amazingly inclusive feeling for families that often feel like outsiders when activities can’t accommodate their kids.
And then there’s the moment.
The one we always think about when we talk about Surfers Healing.
The kid with the instructor on the surfboard. Standing, arms straight out or straight up. A face of sheer triumphant joy… Amazed at what their own body can do.
But as that happens, there’s another image that doesn’t go on the website or Instagram. It’s just too personal, too private for that. And it’s what we see on the beach at every single camp. The parents, siblings, and friends, mouths agape, tears welling up or rushing down their cheeks. Joyfully crying, high-fiving, and hugging each other and anyone else who’s watching nearby. That moment, and many others, is why we’re so proud to be partnered with Surfers Healing.
Surfers Healing is about the kids. It always has been. But by providing a safe and inclusive place for the families of children with autism, and challenging people’s perceptions about what kids with autism can do, they’ve also immeasurably helped an army of loving caregivers who face daily challenges.
We’re all in this together.
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 and their families.