[Ride a Wave - Creating Special Days for Kids With Special Needs]
  Ride a Wave Impact
Ride a Wave touches the community it serves as well as the volunteers who make it all possible. Here is a small sample of the quotes from the letters and emails we receive about their experience with the program:
  Participants, Parents, and Organizations

"Just wanted to add my thanks and massive appreciation to everyone that had a hand in organising Sunday... It was our first time and we really didn't know what to expect... What a fantastic group of individuals my son loved it and I had a lovely day meeting such great people."

- Mary, RAW Participant's parent -

"Thank you to the absolutely fantastic RAW crew. My younger son Adam had a blast! The whole event exceeded my wildest expectations -- I had no idea they'd go so far offshore to surf, and that there was kayaking & boogieboarding as well. Everyone was awesome, and I feel profoundly grateful for the opportunity. Thank you! All the best."

- Johan, RAW Participant's parent -

"Just wanted to add to the thanks to all the folks at Ride-A-Wave!! Amazing volunteers made for an amazing day! My son was really nervous about going surfing, but they took their time and let him get really comfortable before taking him out. He was so proud of himself! Now he has something really terrific for "sharing" at school -- a million thanks for an amazing day!"

- Kristin, RAW Participant's parent -

"Thanks for organizing the surf day. My son was very hesitant in surfing and eventually decided to try it and had a great time. The RAW team was amazing and my son has been talking every day about Teresa (his beach buddy) and Tyler (his surfing instructor)."

- Anonymous RAW Participant's parent -

"This was our first time with RAW. I was so impressed by the organization, calmness and patience from the volunteers. My son struggled quite a bit and was very anxious about surfing. His volunteer "John" was truly amazing and understanding with my son. Even though my son didn't surf, he experienced boogie boarding and having someone stick with him through his challenges. I woke up the next day and thought to myself that most of the time I have to stop and ask myself if my son can participate in a particular activity and if he will be successful. RAW provided an experience made for him which was such a relief, change of pace and great experience. Thank you so much."

- Stephanie, RAW Participant's parent -

"We were First timers with RAW.We had rough night (sleeping issues) with our daughter and couldn't make it on time. We thought may be we could just observe and hang around for a while.

I submitted the waiver, and one of the volunteer came to my daughter and seeing her excitement she said "I will take her for a ride!"

They geared our daughter and took her for surfing and with in seconds they are gone out of sight in ocean. I was almost in tears. I cant express in words the experience my child had on that day and Volunteers in RAW made that happen. Thanks for doing such a amazing job and give our kids an exciting experience.

You made our day!"

- C, RAW Participant's parent -

"Thank you for the superb leadership to make this surf camp super great fun, and possible!

This is also the first surf camp for my 13 yo son, Darin. We felt very relaxed once his beach buddy glued onto him by firmly and gently held his hand. He looks like a very solid, calm, and reliable buddy to prevent my son from getting into trouble.

The kayak, boogie board, and surf teams are unbelievable! They are very calm, patient, and extremely friendly. They seemed to have the mission of making the kids feel comfortable, and eased them into attempting all activities, giving them the joy that they sorely missed. Darin had fear tummy-down on the boogie board. But Michael thought quickly and solved the problem by switching him to a bigger board! From that point on, he was able to ride it many times!

I can't thank you all enough for the great joy you provided my son and our family! We felt like we were in utopia planet for a day, where nobody darts weird look our way, every one is friendly and accepts Darin as is! This is hard to come by...Thank you."

- Ines, RAW Participant's parent -


"You all have given these kids and their parents, some of them for the first time, not only huge smiles, but hope and confidence that they can in fact try a nd succeed at new experiences.”

"You treated these children with dignity and respect, and for the day they were celebrated for their greatness! This experience in so many ways has changed our lives. Though I can’t possibly ever say enough, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

- Balance Foundation -


"What these people do... It's amazing. It really is a gift."

- Saskia, RAW Participant's Sister -



- Hunter, RAW Participant -


"Waves are big! Cool. It looks like fun, not scary!"

- Tony, RAW Participant -


"When Max gets onto the beach its all good. As soon as he feels the sand the smiles begin. And when he touches the water and tastes the kelp, he starts laughing out loud with joy and excitement. I get choked up at Ride a Wave to see so many volunteers willingly and eagerly helping my son and others like him get across the sand and into the water."

- Marion, RAW Participant's Mother -


"All of your efforts touched the lives of our kids in ways that we never could have imagined."

"Mikey came to the camp frightened and insecure… His self-confidence increased tremendously after his day on the beach with RAW. He has decided that he can be a friend to others and that he is not weird and different."

"Justin has returned to the beach upon his insistence. He now owns a wetsuit and wishes to learn to boogie board. Most importantly you taught him how to take risks!"

"Franci has been in special education since day one, and this was one of her first experiences whereby she was treated like a normal kid."

"Brett has a very rate syndrome. He has only slept one hour a night since birth. After his day on the beach with RAW and for three days following he slept for 10-11 hours nightly. This is truly a miracle!"

"We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your time and energy."
- Pediatric Therapy Center -


"I would like to thank you for a truly spectacular day on the beach. The generosity and patience of you and your crew provided all with a safe and fun day filled with many new experiences."

"Kelly had the time of her life. She kept talking the whole way home about how exciting it was to ride the boogie boards."

"These surfers help everyone look past the burn. Now, you get to be just a child having a wonderful experience."

"Thank you for giving the children of the AARFB life long memories."

- Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation -


"I like the speed, and because it's so fun."

- Marissa, RAW Participant -

“I was scared stiff, but she went out there. She was just so big and brave and rode the wave in and was just delighted. It thrills me to see her doing the things that normal kids can do. She can be independent and really accomplish something.”

- Camilla (Marissa’s mom) -


"“Yesterday MY SON SURFED!!! None of the other stuff matters. THANK YOU for the opportunity and experience! Our future has hope.”

- Shannon, RAW Participant’s Mom -


“It was scary the first time. It was cool and a little windy, but it was fun.”

- Laura, RAW Participant -


"Thank you to big hearted Ride-A-Wave volunteers.”

- Jacob's Heart -


"By the time I went boogie boarding later with Dennis, irrefutable total delight swept over my heart."

"Giddy with joyous happiness was I standing on the surfboard, dear ocean surrounding me. Fear vanished, destroyed by mother nature's goodness. Definitely dream come true for me."

"Unsatiated need for ocean fulfilled at least for this day."

- Hari, RAW Participant -


"Ride A Wave gives me a great sense of community. I typically go home charged, feeling like I played hard and also like I gave something back to the world."

"I’ve always thought that I was meant to help others play and enjoy their lives in a healthy way. The people in the Ride Wave tribe are the kind of people I want to surround myself with. We get to establish the foundation for the kind of friendships that help make healthy supportive communities."

- Dave, RAW Volunteer -


"Ride a Wave nourishes my soul. It is immensely rewarding to share the joy I receive from the ocean with those who might not otherwise get a chance to experience it."

- Max, RAW Volunteer -


"Raw is about community, love, and commitment. People from all walks of life come together and give their blood, sweat and tears all summer long to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities and their families."

"There's nothing I'd rather help someone with more than surfing. Because the ocean has been one of the most positive forces of growth, challenge, and empowerment in my life, and I'd like to share that with the world. Because secretly, I think I might be having more fun than anyone else on the planet when I am volunteering with ride a wave!"

- Johnny, RAW Volunteer -


"We may help out, but it's actually purely selfish. Look at those volunteer smiles. They're every bit as bright as the smiles on all our kids."

- Kathy, RAW Volunteer -


"This is the very best surfing that I do."

- Fritz, RAW Volunteer -


"It's very satisfying to get to see the immediate and direct impact that my efforts help bring. I know that it's not just merely fun for them to ride waves. It's so much more meaningful than that. They get to be embraced and declared legitimate by their brothers and sisters in the tribe of those who ride waves. Deep down we all know what's up. They are SUPPOSED TO BE out there with us every bit as much as we are out there."

- Christian, RAW Volunteer -


"Seeing them smile, lying there on the front of the board, they're surfing. It is a wonderful experience and gift to be able give."

- Zeuff, RAW Volunteer -


"You see the smile on a child's face when they do catch that wave or they do that accomplishment that they never thought they'd be able to do. That's worth, that's worth more than anything."

"There's a lot of emphasis on people surfing large waves like Mavericks. But when I look at a child and the courage it takes to go out on the ocean with someone they don't know and catch a wave at Cowells, and they have a physical or developmental disability, that accomplishment is much more impressive than someone taking off on a giant wave at Mavericks."

"The transformation you see in these kids is amazing. They want to go, but they're so scared of the water. You tell them you'll never let go of them. By the end of the day some of the kids just want to be in the water. It erases their disability."

"A lot of teachers who deal with children who have some developmental needs, they come back and say it's changed their students' perspective on life. 'I just realized, hey, I went surfing! I can do this!'"

"The ocean's huge, and a lot of the kids you see down here are -- some of them have never been to the beach before, let alone been in the water. And for them, the idea of going out surfing is sometimes just beyond comprehension."

"I can tell you all about it, and it won't do it justice. When you see the kids' faces and their parents' faces, it just says it all."

- Danny, RAW Founder -


"Every tiny little step these kids take can open up a whole new world for them. It can give them the confidence and stoke for the day, forgetting even that they have special needs."

" It's amazing how much emphasis they place on safety. The volunteers get briefings from nurses and paramedics so we know exactly what we're in for. The kids are in extremely good hands."

"Everyone goes away from the day feeling elated. I tend to have more faith in human beings at the end of these days - more faith that the world can be a good place."

- Brooke, RAW Volunteer -


"Every time I show up for a Ride A Wave camp, I can't help but feel lucky to be a part of such an incredible organization."

"Being a part of Ride A Wave has changed my life. I now set my summer calendar around Ride A Wave camps to make sure I don't miss a single day. I've never met or worked with a more incredible group of people. To be able to do that, and play with some amazing kids at the beach… Well, life doesn't get much better than that in my book!"

- Brooks, RAW Volunteer -

Our volunteers say that helping RAW is one of the best things they do. So, come and give us a hand! You don't even have to surf to help out! Or please help our program with a tax-deductible donation.

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