Teaming Up to Help Kids Walk on Water

Category: Jeep® Life  Video 

By: Sean Swentek

A Walk On Water (AWOW) is a non-profit that provides life-changing surf therapy to children with special needs or disabilities. The ocean’s transformative properties empower our participants, who enjoy a much-deserved day of laughter, love and acceptance alongside their family. For one perfect, restorative day at the beach, there are no labels. Everyone is an athlete.

AWOW works closely with our local communities, businesses, volunteers, and watermen and women — brought together in service of a shared mission — to help those most in need experience the calming and therapeutic effects of the electrifying, living ocean; and, in the process, showcase the best of surf culture.

When the Jeep® Brand approached AWOW about a potential partnership, it just felt like such a natural fit. They have always focused on getting people outdoors and into nature, and nature-based therapy is what AWOW is all about. The entire Jeep® Brand team was incredible to work with, and you could tell they really “got it” in regards to AWOW Surf Therapy. Many of their team inquired about volunteering their time with AWOW, and we continue to receive regular support inquiries.

The Jeep® Brand was kind enough to also donate some sweet soft top surf boards that we are able to use for water safety and for those athletes whose skills are improving and are beginning to move beyond assisted tandem surfing to surfing their own waves. Additionally, they made a significant financial contribution towards our 2018 Huntington Beach event, helping to offset some of the costs of providing free Surf Therapy to almost 100 children in need.

It was almost surreal to look out at our sea of volunteers and see WSL pros Filipe Toledo, Courtney Conlogue, Tati Weston-Webb and Kei Kobayashi hanging out side-by-side with our amazing AWOW volunteers. To have the best in the world joining your team is something all of us will never forget! From the moment he arrived in the morning to help, Filipe was just one of the crew, helping to get kids in and out of wetsuits, and then providing some of the most memorable moments of surf therapy those athletes are likely to ever receive.

Filipe acquainted himself so well with the team, and everyone commented how down to earth and humble he was. You could tell he was really feeling the stoke of giving back through surf therapy; the permanent smile on his face said it all! Filipe told us he’s down to help out anytime he’s in town, and we look forward to continuing to provide AWOW surf therapy alongside him and other WSL pros for many years to come.

Thanks to the financial donation from the Jeep® Brand and WSL, we were able to reach almost 100 children with special needs and their siblings with life-altering surf therapy. This partnership has shown the immense value of working with brands who truly care and are focused on making a meaningful contribution in our surf communities. Jeep® Brand’s sponsored WSL surfers brought an incredible amount of joy to the lives of our AWOW athletes and families, and their contributions will forever be remembered by all in attendance.

Event better, with the Jeep® Brand “Make a Wave” video series launching, people worldwide will be able to witness what we accomplished that beautiful day in Surf City, USA. Jeep® Brand and WSL helped empower children of all abilities to do what kids do best: laugh, play and surf. Shakas and smiles as far as the eye could see.

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