In 2017 the grandparents of four were awarded guardianship of their abused and neglected grandkids, whose parents were involved in the opioid epidemic. Their two older girls, who suffered from years of trauma and abuse, joined us for Spring Session last year.
Their Grandparents shared that "We immediately noticed change in both girls, but our oldest, Morgen, responded especially well. To this day Morgen still tells her counselor that this program literally saved her life. Each week Morgen made gradual steps toward becoming a better person filled with life, energy and self-worth. The mentors and staff of Surfrider Spirit Sessions guided both our girls to becoming good students and responsible young people. The change in the life of these two young girls is remarkable.
Despite their journey of overcoming the years of neglect and abuse, they both are much happier and much more mentally stable. We as the grandparents are so thankful for what this program does for at-risk teens. We hope other kids, like our grandchildren, can have the opportunity to not only learn to surf, but also have a life filled with hope, self-worth and success.”
"Our daughter, Tiffany, was always a happy teenager and communicated with us daily. However, one day we started seeing more and more negative behaviors and changes. Tiffany started hanging out with the wrong crowd, lying, and her grades dropped badly. We could no longer trust her. She eventually ran away leaving just a note and later tried to hurt herself because she was so wrapped up in a bad situation and could not think clearly."
When Tiffany entered counseling, she was asked to be a part of Spirit Sessions. After her first day, I noticed her being calmer and she started to tell us everything that they did and how she caught her first wave and how good she felt. She wanted to go the next Saturday and the next one too, until she finished the whole season. Yes, she had a negative beginning on her teenage life, however, because of the Surfrider Spirit Sessions her life is more fulfilling, she is more responsible, and her grades are back up again. She is now working with the program as a Junior Mentor and helping other young teenagers by sharing her story. We can trust her again. Our lives are forever changed, and we are thankful our daughter is getting ready to go to college.
We could not have done it by ourselves. Surfrider Spirit Sessions is indeed the "best of the best" programs and we are forever and deeply thankful for their honorable work with Tiffany. Please, we need this program in our community. Allow them to continue working to benefit teenagers."
“My son Logan was first invited to participate in a one-day Spirit Surf session back in the Fall of 2017. I can definitely say that he was hooked after his first experience. Surfing has become a leisure activity that Logan loves and is among his favorites! He skipped his favorite sport baseball to make sure he would show up every Saturday to surf. I believe that the spirit surf program provided not only a physical outlet but a safe place where Logan could intermingle and relate with other kids his age, maybe facing a similar trial in life or with no father figure. The "hui" or sharing circle was a time he could learn from future Junior mentors and adult male mentors.
Spirit Surf has also provided consistency and friendships with people who were instrumental in making it a memorable experience, especially Logan's mentor. Jordan actually took Logan over the summer to borrow a board from Spirit Surf and went surfing! Junior mentors and adult mentors play such an integral role in the lives of the youth. Within the year I have seen an improvement in Logan's behaviors at home and he continues to learn how to apply what he is learning to real life. This program has definitely taught Logan how to conquer his fears, share in large groups, fellowship, building relationships, and live pono. He is able to see the importance of being a part of a community and increased an attitude of gratitude.
I would definitely recommend this program to any single parent or for any child who may be lonely or at risk of harmful behavior. Spirit Surf is a place to get to know yourself and network with others, a place to find encouragement and to have fun! I hope that Logan will continue his passion for surf and will one day give back to Spirit Surf because they really have made a positive difference in his life and the lives of other at-risk youth.”
“Surfrider Spirit Sessions assists the Family Court in offering youth who have taken missteps a path to staying out of trouble and moving forward in a positive direction.
Over time, each of us as members of our island community can realize the tremendous benefits programs such as this make available to troubled youth, by encouraging them to respect themselves and others, pursue positive goals and have hope for the future as they become young adults. This, in turn, may decrease the odds that any of them may end up in the adult criminal justice system.”
Christine El. Kuriyama, Deputy Chief Judge, Family Division, and Senior Judge of the Family Court of the First Division
“Unique community driven programs like Spirit Sessions are rare and very much needed. And sadly, the State cannot provide these kinds of services. We, as a community, need to realize that these children belong to all of us. As a community we owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful Spirit Surfing volunteers that fie their tie m to helping our kids change their lives. Without Spirit Sessions many of these young people would continue their individual lives of crime – eventually becoming adult offenders. The mission of Spirit Surfing is one that all of us should embrace for in doing so – we enrich the future of the Sate.”
Judge R. Mark Browning, Senior Court Judge, Hawaii State Family Court
“We’ve got plenty of kids and we need a positive place to direct them to. Keep it up guys; we need you. You guys are heroes, truly! And everyone who supports this program and is part of this program is a hero, they’re all heroes too.”
Judge Karen M. Radius, Retired President, Board of Directors for Surfrider Spirit Sessions