Category Archives: Surf Therapy

A Season’s End!

| September 29, 2013
Saturday September 28th, Ryan and I left LA at 5am to make the trek to Hollister Ranch outside of
Santa Barbara.  Neither one of us knew what to expect as we took the 101 North, watching the
sunrise across the water, I knew it would be a good day.  The AWOW founders and volunteers
greeted us in the parking lot and expressed their gratitude.  The entire day was designed to create
an experience, even such a detail as having the best coffee available for the parents, was one that
wouldn’t go unnoticed.  The day was meant to not only provide water therapy for special needs
children, but offer guided surf instruction to their siblings and parents alike. A Walk On Water, a
non-profit organization, put on their final event for the season using the private beach at Hollister
Ranch to create a safe atmosphere.  AWOW uses donations and proceeds from selling branded
merchandise to make this series possible, they don’t charge the families to attend and all
volunteers donate their time.  Seeing this event first hand, I cannot even begin to describe how I
felt, watching these kids paddle out with their instructor, and ride the wave in.   Wether they stood,
laid or sat on the surfboard, the entire shore cheered them on as they made it in.  The pure look of
joy, for a small moment, meant the world.  For some of these families, they cannot go to public
beaches because of certain needs or behaviors that cause people to stare.  But on this day, the
beach was all theirs. They could comfortably let their child play, kick sand and splash, while they
sipped their hot cup of Caffe Vita, knowing their child was safe in the hands of both the land and
sea instructors.  It was this day, as several parents explained to me, each in their own way, that
gets them through all the hard days.  To have one special day where their child was the happiest,
uncontrollably jumping with excitement for their achievements, where they said their first word,
‘surf’, where their sister was able to ride a wave in alongside her special needs brother.  I have
never felt so blessed to experience a day like this one.
If you want to learn more about AWOW, get involved as a volunteer or make a donation please
Gretchen Hackler
Caffe Vita-Marketing Manager