A non-profit organization in New York has created a group that helps children with special needs how to surf.
Elliot Zuckerman started a non-profit organization called Surfers Way. The organization decided to hold a fun event specifically designed for children with special needs. Surfers Way thought it would be a fun idea to help kids with special needs learn to surf in an environment that is not overwhelming and is less intimidating. He said that they really didn't need any special treatment. Zuckerman said, "if they were nervous they didn't show it." The event was free and it was held at Riverside Beach in Long Beach.
Zuckerman shared that most of the children who showed up to the event were autistic. Their parents brought them so they could be in an environment that they would feel very comfortable and they would be able to break out of their shell. Zuckerman says he loves hosting this event because everybody just seems to smile. He shares that he makes the kids smile and even the parents smile. Then he corrects himself and says that he actually makes the parents cry most of the time. It is a very special moment for them to watch their children stand up on the surfboard for the first time.
One father shared how great this event was for his daughter. He said that his daughter, and other children, just want to be treated like normal children. They want the same opportunities and the same treatment. This father shared how his daughter was a little afraid to get into the water at first, but then the staff was so friendly that they made her feel comfortable. Once she stood up she had a great time. Many of the parents had similar positive stories about their children thriving during this activity. Zuckerman shared that the event is also was designed to give the parents a day off. He just wants the parents to sit back and relax while their kids have a good time.
There are many volunteers that make this event even possible. And Zuckerman shares that his volunteers have a great time and some of them even have more fun than the children. One of the volunteers said that the event is just one big family and they all just go out to have a great time! The next event is August 7 and they are all encouraging parents to bring their children who have special needs to come and play with them!