Making Waves with “Special” Kids

with Best Day Foundation

Gratitude: being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Upon first arriving to the beach to volunteer for the Best Day Foundation, I didn’t know what to expect. Leaving the event, I knew I would be coming back to volunteer for more events. I was totally hooked and absolutely in love with helping these disabled kids learn how to surf. Seeing their smiles and overall happiness was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.


Happy kid being carried out by our Best Day volunteers on a rescue board. At Best Day events, safety comes first. Volunteer and kid ratio is at least 6 to 1 at each team in the water. Volunteers can be anyone who is healthy, able and willing. There are several positions available for everyone. Photo: Reily Imagery

The Best Day Foundation is a volunteer organization that gives children with disabilities the opportunity to adventure out in the ocean through activities such as surfing, bodyboarding, and kayaking. To me, the Best Day Foundation provided hundreds of smiles and happiness throughout the day, which is most important. One word to describe the Foundation is amazing.

Tatiana was one of my favorite kids of the day, and so special. She was completely blind, yet fearless of the unknown ocean. Tatiana grabbed my hand and said, “Lets do this.” We walked together out into the waves with no hesitation from Tatiana. Every time a wave would come, I said “1,2,3, Jump!”  So, she would be prepared for what was coming. When we got out to where the white water broke, I told her to jump on the board so we could catch some waves. She was super stoked! Tatiana and I caught a wave together and rode it all the way into the beach. Immediately, she wanted to go back out for more waves. I was shocked by how brave this little girl was. Just in that moment, I tried to put myself in her shoes. I had a realization that I need to start being thankful for everything I have and everything I can do with my life. So many times, I find myself not being grateful for what I have, but this day changed my mentality. Tatiana and the rest of the children changed me by inspiring me to live life to the fullest, never let anything hold you back, and to always show gratitude.


Tatiana, the special kid, is stoked to get some boogie board fun with Volunteers, Madison and Paul. Photo: Ryan Struck Photography

It is easy to understand why it is called the Best Day Foundation; it truly was the best day for the kids and all the volunteers. I highly recommend everyone to volunteer at any foundation they are extremely passionate about.

I chose to volunteer for this Foundation because I love surfing. Surfing allows me to get away from the real world for a little bit and become one with the ocean. There is nothing more peaceful and calming than sitting on your board in the water. The event made my day because I was able to share surfing to special kids who don’t have the ability to surf in a normal circumstances.  These kids have difficulty orienting themselves and/or expressing their emotions, let alone learning how to surf alone.   Anyone who has experience in the water, should volunteer for this foundation. You can choose to be a water volunteer who simply lifts kids in and out of the water; or you can choose to be a land volunteer and just hang out with these special kids. There are one more events coming up on August 1st and 2nd in Brick III beach, which is in Central Jersey. Sign up to have some fun volunteering!

Surfing heals the soul and provides kids a well-deserved break from the struggle of their lives. This was a life altering experience, and I am so honored I was able to be a part of this day.

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe


Sometimes, we forgot that we are volunteering for these kids with special needs. These kids are actually healing us in a special way. Photo: Reily Imagery


Surf Mei Mei, Madison and Kelly getting stoked at one of Best Day Foundation events.
All photographs are sourced from  Best Day Foundation New Jersey Chapter
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