I Know That It Was a Day They'll Never Forget
Written by: Kaitlin Wright / The Felix Organization
Photos by: Jason Belsky / @jaybelsky
What an incredible day! The Surf For All team went above and beyond for our kids last weekend.
We arrived at the American Dream Mall DreamWorks Waterpark with seven enthusiastic foster youth, ready to get up on that surfboard. This group was unique because half of the foster youth were under the age of 11, and the others were over the age of 15; because of this, there was such a wide array of excitement, nervousness, and enjoyment, which was amazing to watch. There was also something so magical for these kids knowing that they got the DreamWorks waterpark all to themselves for a few hours.
The kids started with an amazing lesson on how to get up on the surfboard, all of them for the first time ever!Some of them were scared, but mostly excited. The Surf For All team did such an incredible job of encouraging, loving and rallying our kids. Then it was off to the water!
As I’m standing along the shoreline, I’m screaming and rooting for all the kids, hoping that one of them will get up yet knowing how challenging it may be for them. Then I look up and the first kid pushed on the wave stands right up and is screaming for joy, and it was such an amazing moment. It almost brought me to tears. Every time they got to shore they would say “Kaitlin! Kaitlin!! Did you see me stand? I can’t believe I can surf!!” and I would give them the biggest hug as they ran back into the water. They were all so incredible; almost all of them got up on the first try. And if they didn’t, they just kept going back out there and tried again. Seeing their smiles and their laughter and their joy in the water was so touching. I know that it was a day they’ll never forget.
We want to give a huge shout-out to Jeanine and all of the people who came out from Surf For All early that morning to give our kids a day that they’ll cherish forever. Also, we would love to give a huge shout-out to Dunkin’ Donuts for sponsoring this day by providing coffee for the staff and chaperones and delicious donuts for the kids who devoured about four donuts each after surfing for a few hours!
Lastly, thank you so much to our partner agency, Seamen's Society, for bringing such an incredible group of kids and to the foster parents and staff that got them to the bus bright and early on a weekend. Everyone created memories that will last a lifetime and we are grateful to everyone who made it happen!