The Ohana Gala: Urban Surf 4 Kids’ Annual Benefit Night

Eli Etzioni
Oct 25, 2018 · 3 min read

“All the kids here know that they have an Ohana to go back to. That’s something very unique about Urban Surf. I never thought I was going to have a family… and then I [came] here and I met all these wonderful kids and adults who really love and care about us, it’s the best feeling ever. ” — Destiny, US4K participant and volunteer

The typical scene at a US4K surf camp

On November 10th, from 5:30pm — 10:30pm, Urban Surf 4 Kids is hosting its annual benefit night. The event will be at the Portuguese Hall in Point Loma, with dinner generously provided by Dukes La Jolla. A raffle and silent auction will also take place.

We are often asked: What exactly does Urban Surf 4 Kids do? The question is an important one, and it has many answers. At Urban Surf 4 Kids, we bring the joy and healing power of surfing to children who might otherwise never make it to the beach. At Urban Surf 4 Kids, we enable foster youth to create meaningful and lasting relationships with each other, staff, and volunteers through monthly mentorship programs. At Urban Surf 4 Kids, we help our kids build the self-confidence needed to define and achieve long-term goals like graduating from high school or college, since less than 3% of foster youth earn a college degree. All of this, and more, is what we do.

However, when it comes to truly understanding Urban Surf 4 Kids, there is another equally important question, and it one that we get asked far more rarely. That question is: At Urban Surf 4 Kids, who, and what, are we?

What we aim to be for the youth we work with, and for each other, is a family. We aspire to bring the consistency, trust, and love of a healthy family into the lives of foster youth and orphans, because in so many different situations, that love makes the difference.

Surf camps are awesome, but who we are at Urban Surf 4 Kids can be seen in the way that every child is taught to hydrate and put on sunscreen. Mentorship events are valuable, but the true character of our US4K mentors can be seen in the incredible conversations that happen on the drive back from each event. And service-learning trips are always significant, but the uncontainable excitement of our kids as they board what is often their first flight ever to the island of Oahu for our annual Dreaming of Aloha Achievement Trip shows how much this family means to them. Every surf camp that we host, every mentorship event we plan, and every trip we take the kids on is designed and executed with this ultimate goal in mind. We want to be a family for these kids.

In the native Hawaiian language, Ohana means family, and we’ve chosen to call our annual fundraiser the Ohana Gala for two reasons. The first is that behind everything that we do is our desire to be a family for the children we have the privilege of working with. But the second reason is that we cannot achieve our mission by ourselves. We need the support of those who share our passion, understand our vision, and want to help us make it a reality.

The money raised at the Ohana Gala will fund what we do. It will go towards surf camps, mentorship, and the 2019 Dreaming of Aloha Program. But it will also enable us, the US4K Ohana, to grow, thrive, and continue be a true family for foster youth who benefit hugely from our support. So, please consider coming to our annual benefit night, getting involved, and becoming a part of our Ohana.

Tickets for the Ohana Gala can be purchased at the following link: https://fundraise.urbansurf4kids.org/event/the-ohana-gala/e205026. If you can’t make it to the Ohana Gala but would still like to get involved by donating or volunteering at an upcoming event, visit Urban Surf 4 Kids’ website at urbansurf4kids.org.

Eli Etzioni

Written by

Passionate about social impact, surfing, and combining both. Currently working as the Development Manager for Urban Surf 4 Kids and intern at Lime San Diego

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