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Surfers wield the power to heal

September 13, 2013

(Photo Courtesy Surfers Healing) Surfer Izzy Paskowitz catches a wave with a youngster during a Surfers Healing Camp in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The camp comes to Narragansett Town Beach this Saturday, Sept. 14.

NARRAGANSETT- The Surfers Healing foundation will be holding the surf camp at the Narragansett Town Beach this Saturday to help autistic children and their families experience the healing power of surfing.

Surfers Healing is a free surf camp for children and young adults (up to age 21) with autism. The organization, based in California, runs camps throughout the East and West coasts.
The camp was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz who realized that surfing helped calm their son who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Israel is a former competitive surfer who has used his personal love for surfing to help deal with the sensory overload that his son and most autistic children suffer with.
Each child is partnered with professional surfers from California, Puerto Rico and Hawaii who volunteer their time to the day camp. The children are able to get an individual 30 minute surf lesson and can also ride the boards with the security of the surfers holding them. The children who are comfortable in the ocean will be given one on one surfing lessons so that they can surf solo.
One of the sponsors of the camp includes the local charity Acts of Kindness (AOK). A volunteer and parent from this charity, Renee Snow said that the camp was life changing for her and her autistic son.
“My son went in and I was hesitant at first. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be but he loved it,” said Snow. “It was truly life changing for me because I just saw the transformation that happens with these children when they enter the water.”
Snow said that this is the fourth year that Surfers Healing will be at the Narragansett Town Beach and she has volunteered since the beginning.
Although the main focus is on the children, Snow said that the camp welcomes all families and friends to come to the event and cheer on the surfers. There will be a community food table with refreshments available for visitors and there will also be a food truck sponsored by Whole Foods which will provide the surfers with meals throughout the day.
The main goal of the camp is to enable the children to experience something that they don’t normally get to experience in life, said Snow.
“Some of these kids won’t be able to be on a sports team or do something like this at another time so my biggest goal is for them to experience this and have this day to shine.” said Snow. “Honestly my favorite part and the part that makes it all worth it is seeing the kids in the beginning who are hesitant to get into the water and then by the end of the camp they don’t want to come out of the water. Somehow being on that board makes them calm.”
The camp will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. Snow said that the event will be open to the public to show support for the surfers throughout the day. The camp encourages residents to volunteer because the event strongly relies on volunteers. For more information contact or visit the website at

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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