ShoreBread consistently keeps amazing causes on their radar, and this week is no exception, as we shine our spotlight on Surfers Healing OC. This Thursday, August 16th, at the beach at 37th Street, a unique surf camp will take place, as Surfers Healing Ocean City takes full advantage of the healing powers of the ocean during their annual surf camp for children with autism. The camp takes place each year in Ocean City, thanks to the efforts of Surfers Healing: A Foundation for Autism, based in San Juan, California. This year’s event, slated to take place on the beach in front of the Castle in the Sand, is already at full capacity, but visitors are welcome to come out and enjoy the day at the beach and show support to the novice surfers.

Surfer’s Healing was founded by former competitive surfer Israel Paskowitz and his wife Danielle after discovering that their own son – who was diagnosed with autism at age 3 – found solace in the beach and the ocean. Many autistic children suffer from sensory overload, meaning simple sensations can be overwhelming or frightening. While speculation varies as to the reasoning, many autistic children seem to find a respite at the beach, whether while digging their toes into the sand, swimming in the waters, or surfing.

After discovering the benefits of surfing for their own son, Isaiah, Israel and Danielle decided to share their experience with other families with autistic children by founding Surfer’s Healing. Through their foundation, the couple began a host of day camps across the country, including one in Ocean City, MD. The Surfer’s Healing message boards are a true testament to the profound effects the camp has had on area families. “What you are doing is nothing short of God’s work,” “the smile on his face after his first run was priceless and we will always keep it in our heart,” and “this is the highlight of my sons year,” are just a few of the heartfelt messages posted about the day camp.

Surfers, volunteers, and families work together throughout the day to ease the kids into the water and into standing position on the surfboards. While not all of the children are able to overcome the sensory overload of the beach and the unfamiliar setting, all of the children get a chance at riding a wave. Some children simply enjoy the day at the beach with their toes in the sand, surrounded by a core group of supportive people. The event grows each year, with 78 families the first year, 120 attendees the following year and more than 200 children last year.

In addition, the Castle in the Sand will be holding a fundraiser Wednesday night, which will include a volleyball serving contest. Proceeds will go to the Surfers Healing foundation. The day camp will commence Thursday at 9 am with an opening prayer circle on the beach.

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