TESTIMONIALS2018-05-04T11:03:31-07:00

Testimonials

THE BRIGHTEST DAY

September 23rd, 2019|

I’ve have been having a hard time knowing just what to say to express my gratitude for the experience my children had on September 6 in Montauk! It was absolutely incredible and amazing for my family as a whole. Taking my kids anywhere out of our usual element is difficult and this was a source of worry for me. From the moment we walked up and checked in for attendance – Agatha welcomed us with open arms and kind words. Bob who was in charge of the water safety made a point of explaining why my kids couldn’t just run in the water – using rocks and drawing in the sand – I was shell shocked! Seeing someone who has never met us take the time to simply explain on a level that my son could understand was awesome – in a world of I said no because I am the adult and you are the child this was so reassuring. Several other moms chatted with me and reassured me that my kids would be fine – not to worry. The surfing itself was amazing watching both my children age 8 and 5 get up on the board – was a sight to see. My son tried a “typical” surf camp and was so deflated and disappointed because he couldn’t even stand on the board – even the longest one that they had and he saw many kids he knew from school younger than him being able to do it with ease and it really embarrassed him. However, working with Pat he did really well and 3 days later for the first time he had the confidence to swing on the swings and pump his legs and do it himself!!! A goal that we have had for years.
My “typical” daughter was allowed to participate as well which was so incredible!! She was able to get an opportunity that she will not forget! She is only 5 and the impression that was made on her is awe inspiring. Normally any event we go to she is an after thought here she was just as important as her big brother and welcomed just as heartily!
The weather wasn’t the greatest on the Friday however it was the brightest day we had as a family – Agatha made sure that both myself and my husband got massages and I feel like we have been welcomed into a new community that although I have only met them once have touched our lives in ways we have yet to see! We can’t wait to come to another event and my husband would like to volunteer to assist on the beach – thank you again to Agatha and her kind words and enthusiasm (even when my daughter almost refused to go in the water because she wanted to go with a girl – Agatha was there kicking off her boots ready to get her out there )
A walk on Water is truly a group of inspirational and accepting people from all over – I can’t wait to spend more time with them.

-Sue, Phin, Moxie & Brandt

NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS

September 16th, 2019|

I am writing you this letter in hopes that it will be read by others. My name is Mark Madrid and I went down to support your A Walk On Water event on August 24, 2019, but I had no idea that I would receive a very moving experience.

I grew up in Southern California, so I have always been in love with surfing and beach culture. In high school, I convinced by speech teacher to let me read Surfing Magazine out loud to her to practice my speech. In addition, I have been attending the U.S. Open of Surfing on a yearly basis for the last 18 years. My point is, I love the sport of surfing!

In early summer, I saw a news story about your A Walk On Water event. I had not heard about an event like this before, so I just wanted to come down and show my support. I thought to myself, “What a cool concept to get children with disabilities out surfing!” As a man with Cerebral Palsy, this was an event I really related to.

When I arrived, I was greeted by two very nice gentlemen who were most helpful in getting me down to the beach. After talking to some of the volunteers, I was told that I could also sign up to go out. I very quickly took the opportunity. Within an hour and a half of arriving at the event, I was catching my first wave ever! The rush of being on that first ride is something I’ll hold dear to my heart for the rest of my living days. The feeling I had was the same feeling I had the first time I flew on an airplane alone. I felt free…it would be the first of six waves that day. In one word, AWESOME!!!

I would really like to thank A Walk On Water for an outstanding event. All of the volunteers were kind, helpful, and considerate. I would really like to thank Dale and another man who helped me surf. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be out catching waves. Above all else, I was very humbled by the by children who were walking around with smiles on their faces due to the love, care, and support of the volunteers, organizers, and sponsors who made the event possible. It had a profound impact on me.

Thank you.

-Mark Madrid

A GIFT FROM HEAVEN

September 16th, 2019|

Thank you so much for bringing us all the way from Montana so Heath could experience the magic of surfing! He wasn’t sure what to expect as his motor disability makes balance and flow a challenge, but his instructor Robert Glover had him up on his feet and taking the waves in no time! It was an unforgettable and moving experience to see kid after kid riding the surf and approaching the shore with exhilarated smiles and laughter. The whole AWOW team took incredible care of us. It felt like a gift from heaven being able to join your crew for the day—thanks for a memory that will last a lifetime!

-Jenny

SURF HIGH SKY

July 12th, 2019|

My son, Skylar, was born with many challenges. His doctors and nurses did not think he was going to survive. Skylar the Fighter is now approaching 3 years old. He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is G Tube dependent. Skylar participates in 9-10 therapies each week (OT- feeding, PT- motor skills, Speech, Early Intervention and horseback riding therapy). My wife has dedicated the last couple of years to make sure that Skylar has all of the therapies he needs in order to thrive. My mother introduced us to A Walk on Water recently. We participated in our first surf therapy session in Ventura, Ca. We had the most amazing time at the event! It felt like a big happy family. Everybody in attendance was there for the same reason- allowing our special needs children the ability to have a great time in a wonderful beach setting with extraordinary instructors. AWOW was so welcoming from the moment we arrived to the registration tent. The volunteers, staff, and surf instructors were fabulous! We were on the wait list so we really didn’t know if Sky was going to have the chance to get out on the water. A couple spots opened up, lucky us! Sky was fitted for a wet suit and life jacket. I was very nervous to send our special needs kid into the ocean with someone I’ve never met before. We were guided to the North end of the beach to meet the surf instructors. Skylar was paired up with Anthony, who has been working with AWOW for approx 7 years. The surf boards appear to be longer than a typical long board and wider as well. Anthony assured us that Sky was in good hands. He is a very experienced surfer and that helped ease some of my anxiety. There were so many people in the water during the afternoon surf session. The safety crew wearing red rash guards seemed to be everywhere in the event someone fell off. Skylar and Anthony were in the water for about 60-75 minutes. We could tell that Sky was having so much fun. They caught 4-5 waves and Sky even stood up on the board with assistance. There’s an adrenaline rush that takes over when you watch your kid conquer the ocean on a surf board. It almost brought happy tears to our eyes. Special needs families struggle emotionally every day because life has not turned out the way we envisioned. Today we are all champions! Thank you AWOW for providing a safe place where dreams do come true. We have been on a “surf high” for a couple weeks now and are absolutely hooked. See you next time in Huntington Beach! Our family purchased a bunch of items from the merch tent in Ventura. We are so proud to wear AWOW gear in public. Thank you for giving us a memory we will never forget.

-Ryan

SAFE AND SUPPORTED

July 11th, 2019|

AWOW is an outstanding surfing organization of extremely caring, experienced, and committed volunteers, surfing instructors and therapists that have impacted in many positive ways the life of our son who is a person on the spectrum (ASD). Because our son has also other neurological conditions that limit him to participate in regular sports, prior to finding out about AWOW we could not even imagine that our son one day would be able to acquire the skills necessary to surf. Due to many sensory integration challenges, such as having defensiveness to the water or not being able to tolerate the water or the lack of mastering swimming skills because of a developmental coordination disorder, our son has had many disadvantages growing up despite the many therapies we have consistently provided for him.

In 2018, we first made it to the surfing event in Malibu along with an additional ABA therapist to provide support for our son in his efforts to experience surfing for the first time in his life. Needless to say, the event was super organized, accessible, and the volunteers and staff welcomed us by embracing us with kindness and assisted us to get situated into a safe and relaxing space for the entire family. The Malibu surfing event was definitely relaxing, therapeutic and transformative for our son.

This positive experience made our son feel safe and supported into what we consider his new community where he feels accepted without any judgement because even though he “does not look autistic” or “does not look disabled,” statements we often hear, our son now enjoys surfing and truly appreciates the opportunity he receives at each surfing event we get invited to attend, whether it’s Malibu, Huntington or Ventura beach.

We are willing to travel long distance, so that our son can spend time with other athletes and enjoy the calming yet powerful effects of the ocean under the care and supervision of the most dedicated surfing instructors. We trust our son’s safety and forever are grateful to the AWOW team for engaging our son in this memorable surfing experience. We’re looking forward to our next surfing event at Bolsa Chica!!!

Thank you and may God bless this organization so that other children with disabilities may have the opportunity our son has had so far.

-Celia

HAPPIEST EVER, HANDS DOWN

May 6th, 2019|

My son did his first ever surf therapy with A Walk on Water in Malibu last weekend. He absolutely loved it, it was the happiest I had seen him ever, hands down. My husband, who is quite concerned about athletics and our son getting hurt, was super secure with the entire day. Seeing our son ride the waves actually brought tears to my husband. We were in awe of the love and care all of the volunteers and surfers had for our whole family. I enjoyed getting a haircut on the beach considering it’s so hard to even plan something like that for me with our family dynamic. I think it was the first time that I felt special/normal and part of a community since the diagnosis. It was just a great day. Thank you so much!

-Anupama

SINGING THE ABC’S

May 6th, 2019|

This was everything I thought it would be and more! From the excellent communication prior to the event that helped us be organized and ready to go, to the warm welcome at check in. Volunteers were aplenty and always smiling, reassuring and excited to be there. The vibe was relaxed and positive which reduced the anxiety and sensory overload. While Henry was nervous about the initial experience, the beach support to get him on the board with Cheeets was amazing. Taking the suggestion to sing the ABC’s with Hens, Cheeets quickly paddled out to begin their bond. Team Henry grew over the weekend. To see the genuine support from the AWOW family left our hearts full and thankful. We look forward to another trip across the desert to our new surf spot in the BU.

-Eric

NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING

May 6th, 2019|

I’m a mom of an autistic son and this was our first time participating with AWOW. I have never experienced a more welcoming event than I did this past weekend in Malibu. From the moment we walked into the parking lot, there was someone to offer help with our wagon. We were even greeted at the opening by the sweetest woman and she showed us where everything was. EVERYONE was nothing short of amazing. Thank you Kathy Biddle for telling me about AWOW. This is something we will never forget.

-Christina

THE ICING ON TOP

April 30th, 2019|

Thank you AWOW for the most amazing day in Malibu. Your beautiful team treats everyone like royalty. My daughter Holly was extremely reluctant, and I honestly didn’t know if she could be pushed out of her comfort zone. But…with the help of many friendly faces, Denise, Diana, Sadie (and many others), she was finally on a board with Joe. Her nervous giggle, as they came to shore, was the icing on top. You are all TOP NOTCH! Looking forward to our next adventure!

Thank you for such an awesome opportunity!

-Tricia

 

COMMUNITY

April 25th, 2019|

My children participated in their first AWOW event in Malibu. Everyone involved with the event were very welcoming and warm. They immediately treated us as family. My 3 children all have special needs and are usually afraid to even step foot on sand and cling to my body when trying to get them into the ocean. AWOW volunteers were able to get my children into the water and love it so much they didn’t want to leave. This is an amazing program filled with so much love, happiness and support. My children were calm and relaxed after the event and my son with ASD was more responsive the past couple of days after the event. We will be going to upcoming events that are already full just to take part of the community feel of the event even though they won’t be able to surf and we look forward to hopefully getting a spot in the future. Thank you to all involved in this amazing program. I will never forget the joy on my children’s faces that you brought them.

-Lauren

 

A WETSUIT FOR CHRISTMAS

November 24th, 2018|

Thank you soo much for the surfing opportunity you gave my son Adam as well as his older brother Kyle last week at Solana Beach!! Adam had a blast and was very comfortable in the water with your caring ,passionate,wonderful team !! We drove two hours from San Bernardino and it was well worth it! Loved seeing all the kids there laughing and riding the waves…Adam can’t wait to surf again …Santa will be getting him a wetsuit for Christmas now lol..hope to see you guys next year…..

-Susan

 

BARRELED

November 21st, 2018|

Thank you to AWOW for your amazing generosity and healing surf therapy. I brought my daughter Gracie to the event at Cardiff by the Sea. From the moment we got out of the car, the kindness from your volunteer staff was overwhelming. From dragging my wagon down on the sand, to putting Gracie in her wetsuit, playing in the surf and ultimately when she was paired up with an instructor, every moment and layer of help was well planned and executed. I don’t often feel like I have someone who truly walks along side of me, when dealing with my highly energetic, developmentally delayed beautiful girl.  Today I felt connected and supported. AWOW really excelled at anticipating our needs and created a fun, family focused environment for the kids. Lastly,  I have to give a HUGE shoutout to our instructor Dale. He was the example of selflessness of that characterizes AWOW. He lost his house in the recent Malibu fire and 2 days later was on the beach with us. He was so good with Gracie and was really patient. The highlight of our day was him putting her in the barrel of the wave!  She came out of the water wanting “more surfing” and even though he was exhausted he paddled her out 2 more times for waves. My love and support goes out to A Walk on Water. Thank you for the memories. 

-Mindy

 

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