Four years ago Keith Lovgren and Josh Harper had a goal in mind. That goal was to embark on a journey of creating something that was all about giving back to others. Together Lovgren and Harper launched Waves of Impact. One workplace is proud to be a sponsor of Waves of Impact, which exists to show individuals facing exceptional challenges the thrill of riding waves. The non-profit focuses on youth and veterans that live with certain challenges and who unfortunately don’t always experience normalcy in their everyday lives. Keith and Josh wanted to provide an opportunity that these individuals would never forget and would offer a sense of courage and confidence despite living with disabilities. The staff, consisting mainly of volunteers, is dedicated to providing the best experience by making them feel safe and at ease.
Our involvement with Waves of Impact began through a friendship one of our employees, Jason Anderson, had with Josh. They first met in 2007 at a Billabong sponsored surf camp in El Salvador. Jason was aware of the camps that Josh was involved with that took place in Southern California, Texas and New Jersey. They talked often about bringing the camp to the waves of Northern California and in 2015, their discussions became a reality. Jason has volunteered his creative services to Waves of Impact over the years. This particular annual event is one that we look forward to most. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of something that is changing lives. This is one of the many things we pride ourselves in here at One Workplace. Physically being a part of the Waves of Impact camps is surely a heartwarming experience for all involved, but what touches us most is the feedback from the parents of the participants and how the experience lifted them and their children up when they needed it most. One parent whose son is 12 and is autistic, expressed how her son had always dreamt of going surfing but they never dared to give it a try until Waves of Impact.
“There are always worries like what if the coaches don’t understand him; what if he acts out and we get rejected? Thanks a lot to the great coaches and the nicest volunteers, my son was able to get on the surf board and had great fun! Seeing him enjoying like normal kids just brought tears to my eyes. But I know all this cannot happen without your generous support. We appreciate your generosity from the bottom of our hearts.” – Parent of Youth Participant
Waves of Impact shows us that no matter what obstacles a child faces physically, they possess the power of living life like any other child regardless of what may appear to be a physical set back. Having the opportunity to see the children go from high levels of anxiety due to fear but immediately after entering the water they have a very noticeable change in their reaction to being unbelievably calm and at peace. Because many children with autism struggle with sensory overload, simple sensations can overwhelm them. The weightlessness and rhythms of the ocean offer a therapeutic experience. They come out of the water feeling so much accomplishment and joy. All participants are given gold medals at the completion of the camp. The enjoyment on their faces is almost like they just won an Olympic medal in surfing. The parents are always just as pleased as the children are. A mom whose daughter is 3-years-old and totally blind reached out and expressed how she left the camp feeling like her child was just like any other child.
“For the first time we felt that our child is just like any other child on this planet who can enjoy nature as much as we do. We were thrilled to see her sitting and standing on the surfboard with the help of the experienced coach behind her, who was truly extraordinary. We were so proud of her being fearless in the ocean.” – Parent of Youth Participant
As a sponsor for an organization like Waves of Impact, which has had such a positive effect on so many lives we are proud to volunteer our time in an effort to be of service to others as well. A mother of a 21 year old participant of the camp reached out to us directly to personally thank us for our involvement.
“My husband and I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. Your sponsorship has given our 21-year-old autistic son, a rare opportunity to experience something that he can only dream about. To our amazement, yesterday was more than just a rare and an awesome experience for our son. It turned out to be very therapeutic for him in a big way. He has been very lethargic the past several weeks after having been taken off his medications for anxiety and mood regulation. We were not hopeful that he would make it to the surf camp. But he didn’t want to miss it. Even though he was so tired, he had one of the best times of his life with the loving help and kindness from all the terrific volunteers. He was so happy afterward that he could not stop smiling and laughing the rest of the day. His euphoria continues even now. The experience seems to have invigorated him with new positive energy. For that, we will always be grateful for what you and all the awesome volunteers have done for our son.” – Parent of Youth Participant
Limitations are only for individuals who allow societal standards to dictate their lives. Waves of Impact gives participants the chance to do something that they only ever dreamed of. It provides a ray of hope for those who have fought all of their lives to be accepted for who they are and not judged by what the world sometimes may not fully understand. If you’ve ever dreamt of having your child experience an activity but were afraid for them to embark on a new journey because of specific challenges, the opportunity to surf for the day could change that. The excitement and physical aspect of surfing is one thing, but the overall therapeutic experience, which provides healing and joy is the real highlight. It’s worth the involvement, whether a participant or volunteer.
For more information on Waves of Impact, or to sign up to participate or become a volunteer, visit their website: www.wavesofimpact.com