A foundation for autism
Surfers Healing RI
History of the Rhode Island camp
In 2005, the DeSimone Family took their 6 yr. old son Anthony to the Belmar, NJ Surfers Healing Camp. For the DeSimones, it was life altering. They joy they experienced that day, watching Anthony surf, was unparalleled. The DeSimones attended the North Carolina camp in 2007 and in 2008, it was back to Belmar, this time traveling with friends who wanted to see Anthony surf.
On the drive back to RI, the conversation was all about the camp and the desire to bring the surfing experience to autistic children not only in RI, but all of New England.
After several attempts, contact was made with Surfers Healing in CA and a date was secured for the first ever RI camp in Sept. 2009. After locking in a date, it was up to a small team of 4 people to raise the $12,000 necessary to bring the camp to RI. While Surfers Healing is a free camp, funds must be raised each year to pay expense such as insurance, beach fees, equipment, a picnic lunch, tee-shirts or trophies for the children and a portion of travel expense for up to 20 volunteer surfers.
It was a labor of love. From Bake Sales to Yard Sales culminating with a Pasta Dinner called "Surfin' Suppa". The money was raised.
That first year, 50 children surfed. Onlookers clapped and cheered as the children rode in on the waves. What a glorious day!
This past September over 210 children surfed and we had a waiting list. The camp is in high demand because children with autism find the water calming & their families are able to spend a day relaxing on the beach with other families who know the struggles of caring for a child with autism.
The Rhode Island camp also serves the rest of New England. We have many families who travel from MA, CT, NH and NY to attend.
Acts of Kindness, Inc. is the sponsoring Rhode Island 501(c)3 charity (http://www.a-o-k.org/) for the small volunteer group (we now have a team of 6) that has raised the $12,000 a year necessary to bring this wonderful event to the children and their families. With Acts of Kindness sponsorship, individuals & companies are able to donate to Surfers Healing RI and their donations are 100% tax deductible. Please consider supporting Surfers Healing-RI.