Taylor Lampman: Let me start off by saying, I am a 15-yr-old SFA Volunteer and I’ve been doing it for 2 yrs now. SFA started off as a requirement for me to do, and honestly I wasn’t looking forward to doing it, but now I rearrange my life for it. I am happy to wake up at 4am and get the event started. I never realized how much we actually do for these kids, and tears come to my eyes when I think of the impact.
Amy Spalter Schwartz: Hey SFA and all volunteers…I am awestruck at what a difference you all have made in my son’s life, but not just Spenser’s life, but our whole family. When he is out there surfing, he is a completely different child. This is the ONLY extracurricular activity he has had ANY interest in sticking with.
Julie Greco: Surfers For Autism…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! The friendliest crowd I have ever met. My son had never seen a board until yesterday, and now he won’t stop asking, “beach please”. I believe you have just recruited yourselves a new surfer for life and it means so much….all our love.
Kelly Wilson: Don, Kim and all Surfers for Autism, staff and volunteers. WOW!!!! What an incredible event and day for our child. We have never seen him have such a great day. It was so beautiful to see so many children and families having such a great time. A truly awe inspiring day. This was our first event and look forward to more. THANK YOU and bless you all.
Ana Pimentel: Thank you so much for the beautiful day we had yesterday. My daughter was so happy and had such a great time. EVERYTHING was wonderful. The event was very well organized, but I have to take my hat off to all the volunteers. Each and every one of them was absolutely magnificent with the kids. You could tell in their faces that they were truly enjoying what they were doing and that makes all the difference in the world. This event would be impossible without you. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! This was our first event but most definitely not our last.
Caryn Jones Hamblen: Words cannot express our gratitude for today. What an amazing event! Dylan said it best, “This is the best day, ever!”
Melissa Scott: The first time my son went, we were on the beach and when he went with the volunteers I was like, oh no, there are so many things I didn’t tell you. He doesn’t like water in his eyes, he doesn’t like to be touched, he won’t look you in the eye when you are talking but he is listening, he is not athletic and stumbles when he walks and may never get up. But off he went and after 4 tries he was standing up. He made eye contact and was high fiving-he was hugging people he didn’t know and he smiled and beamed from ear to ear. These volunteers just have a calm about them that is amazing! And when I think of them I cry in a good way For a whole day my kid was just a surfer and that was it!
Steve Cassell: It’s hard to comprehend if you haven’t been to an event. These volunteers are so accommodating and inviting. There wasn’t anyone there judging or staring at my son Stevie, wondering why he was stemming or why he kept watching the sand run through his fingers. Nobody cared and nobody criticized. Every volunteer had the same agenda, ‘how can I make this a good day for Stevie? I was skeptical but now I convinced. Thank you to every person that is a part of the SFA army. As a father of an 11-year-old son with Autism, I cannot express my gratitude for the day that you provided for us. We look forward to your next event.
Jennifer Lynn Kaplan: Thank you!!! This was the most amazing thing ever!!! All the volunteers were wonderful!! I cannot express how much this means to all of us!!! Tears of joy in my eyes. You people are the best!!! Can’t wait to do it again =)
Kara Collins: To understand life through the eyes of a parent of a child with Special Needs is impossible. The crushing heartache that they are not “typical” and sometimes “weird” and the one kid in class that doesn’t get invited to a birthday party. Instead of days filled with soccer, baseball, play dates and social outings they are filled with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and behavioral training. It is exhausting, but if there were more hours in the day we would fill those too, in any way, to help our children meet their maximum potential. For 7 years I have lived this life and feel blessed to see the progress that has been the reward. I thought I knew about it all, every possible outlet, diet, therapy, music, movement, social group…and then I heard about surfing. Surfing? Then there was my friend- a parent of a fellow Spectrum Child and an SFA volunteer that convinced me to let my guard down and give it a chance because it would “change my life”. Change my life? Come on. Really? It’s just surfing…right? Well, really. I will never forget the joy I saw on my daughter’s face that day, the pride she felt that she was enough- just the way she was. She made friends and no one cared who spun in circles or said something inappropriate, they just welcomed you for who you were. Now we own Boogie boards and sun shirts and count down the days until the next event, when she isn’t a girl with Asperser’s- she is just a girl who is 7 catching a wave.