Meet one of our latest grant recipients, The Wahine Project, located in Pacific Grove, CA. Read more about their organization, how their using the sport of surfing to change the lives of young women and read inspiring stories that'll get you moving.  

Organization Name: The Wahine Project

How is the Wahine Project helping young women? 

We create communities for which surfing changes the lives of girls.  They use the skills learned in the ocean to overcome challenges and become inspired to achieve their fullest and healthiest life.

Tell us more about what surfing projects that The Wahine Project has been doing over the past few years.

In the last 5 years years, we have worked with several thousand girls, bringing them to the ocean for life changing experiences.  We offer them instruction, equipment but more importantly, personal guidance in an environment supported by their female peers, allowing girls to face their fears and find a new sense of self after each ocean experience.

For many of our participants, they may have never seen the ocean before, nor have had the courage to venture in. Our outreach has spread up and down the California Coast into Mexico, Brazil, The Philippines and has even touched the shores of The Gaza Strip. Regardless of what country girls come from they unanimously comment that the ocean makes them feel “free”.

What’s surfing been life for the girls that you’re helping?

Our little surfer girls are learning everything from independence and personal responsibility to problem solving skills and hope. “It takes me away from everything else. How my hair looks, what people think of me. It makes me feel happy and proud of myself,” said one of our teens at a recent surfing session.

What’s been the most rewarding experience you’ve experienced thus far since starting the Wahine Project?

I’ve had hundreds if not thousands of extraordinary experiences, but one of my favorites comes from a single mother who's daughter is currently enrolled in our program:  

About 2 years ago, I became a single mom and was laid off from my job at the same time. We had to move into transitional housing and live a much more financially limited lifestyle. It has been hard for both of my kids but they seemed to handling it okay. Then this last January, my daughter Irie was the victim of a crime and things just seemed to spiral downward from there.

She was failing in school, getting into fights, talking to older guys, and even ran away. I put her in home school and have her in counseling as well. It still was not enough; I began looking for a physical activity that she could release some of her negative energy and replace it with positive.

That is when her learning coach told us about the Wahines and took her to her first lesson. The change we saw in Irie after the first time was immediate! Her attitude seemed to change and she had something positive to look forward to and more self confidence.

Both her learning coach and therapist also noticed the difference from the first lesson. Every week now she counts down the days until Saturday so she can surf with the Wahines. I cannot thank you enough for the positive impact that you and the Wahines have had on her life!”