The Issue: Underserved Children Without Access to Recreation
Nearly 1 in 4 children live in poverty in California, according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California. Aside from obvious challenges they face—inadequate food, shelter, and education—underserved children and children experiencing homelessness confront a myriad of unexpected challenges such as the psychological effects of not having a stable home and access to regular activities. Giving these children a chance to get outside and escape their daily stressors for an afternoon can dramatically improve their overall quality of life and self-esteem. It can also give them something to look forward to and something to look back fondly upon.
The Campaign: Sponsoring Surf Camp for Homeless Kids
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation to sponsor a beach trip for children and families experiencing homelessness in the LA area. For every $10 raised, The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation can send one child experiencing homeless to the Camp4All Surf Camp, with a picnic lunch and snacks included.
Buses take children and their families to and from the one-day camp at Zuma Beach, where those interested in surfing receive a wetsuit, a surf board, safety training, and an afternoon of instruction. Small children and beginners can also ride boogie boards until they get used to the waves. After setting up tents and slathering on sunscreen, participants learn the essentials of surfing before heading out on the waves on their own. In the past 20 years, more than 75,000 at-risk youth in LA County have taken part in the Camp4All Program, and the 2014 program will serve 500 more.
The Children's Lifesaving Foundation
Maria D'Angelo believes in the Hope Effect. She arrived to America on a freighter from Italy, searching for a better life with her family, and to this day she remembers how much hope filled her at that moment. To share this sense of positive possibility, she began The Children's Lifesaving Foundation, which through countless acts has improved the lives of families and children living below the poverty level. The organization assists homeless families in finding apartments, provides tutoring services, and raises money for college tuition. And the team's works are so renowned that they've been featured in People magazine and on CNN, and were voted the 2013 Non-Profit of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Although today The CLF works to establish housing and educational opportunities for underserved families, Maria's quest began with a much simpler gesture. In 1992, while volunteering at a homeless shelter, she met an 8-year-old boy who never attended school because his mother couldn't afford to get him a physical. So Maria took him to a doctor. That one act, blossomed into other simple acts, which blossomed into the founding of The CLF, but the spirit of that simplicity remains. To improve homeless kids' quality of life, the organization runs a summer camp with surfing lessons, which leave children with a good memory and a bit of hope.