The Children's Lifesaving Foundation sponsored surf camps this year for children attending its Care Through College Center as well as children and families from five local shelters and transitional housing facilities.
Director of Programs Sean McCaffery and President Maria D'Angelo, who started the Children's Lifesaving Foundation in 1993, said that many of these children had never been to the beach and certainly had never been given the chance to get up on a surfboard. Tom Corliss and his Malibu Makos Surf Camp instructors were used to help make summer weekends at Zuma Beach a positive, confidence-building experience for these youth, who were often accompanied by their parents.
"It was amazing to see these kids actually get up on a board, and teach them the magic and serenity that comes along with learning to surf," McCaffery said. "I was astonished to see, once again, that eight of the children attending had never been in, or even near, the ocean."
Friends and volunteers lent a hand, helping to serve pizza on the beach, watching over the smaller kids playing in the sand and generally making sure Zuma Beach became a brief respite from the everyday lives of the children and families from shelters.
The summer was sponsored in part by the city of Malibu, Topson-Downs, the Rags for Riches Foundation, the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation, the Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation, the Oder Family Foundation and many individuals.
For more information about the Children's Lifesaving Foundation and its Sept. 23 fundraiser at Castle Kashan, go to www.childrenslifesaving.org.
-Francesca McCaffery and Jonathan Friedman