U4O’s 3rd Annual Wave-A-Thon Raises Funds to Expand Education Programs

At Unity 4 Orphans’ 3rd annual Wave-A-Thon fundraiser in San Diego, 25 surfers gathered sponsors and hit the waves to raise money for children living in poverty.

On a sunny Saturday in San Diego, we held our Wave-A-Thon fundraiser for the third year in a row, an event that’s a favorite for our dedicated volunteers and community members. We met on the sand at the end of Law Street in Pacific Beach, where branded U4O tents drew spectators, as well as advertised our cause to beachgoers.


Surfing for a Cause, Providing Education and Support to Vulnerable Children

This event really showcases the power of community, and together we raised $52,250 for the children we serve! The funds will go directly to our expand programs in Nicaragua, Mexico, and at home in San Diego, as well as launching our holistic model in Ecuador. 25 surfers participated–the most ever in a U4O Wave-A-Thon–ranging from 7 to 75 years old, showing that anyone can contribute to this awesome fundraiser that’s so classically San Diego.

Volunteers at San Diego charity U4O's Wave-a-Thon

The Wave-A-Thon is true to our company culture and embodies founder Joe Brandi’s personal style as well, as many of the surfers are part of his community and neighborhood. Most of the participants are regular U4O volunteers, and this annual fundraiser gives them an opportunity to give back financially, as well as give generously of their time.

“Our 7-year-old son has a big heart and prays for orphans, so when the opportunity came up for him to surf and raise money for this cause, he saw God answer those prayers!”

-Zack & Stephany Meyer, U4O supporters

A young volunteer surfing at San Diego charity Unity 4 Orphans' Wave-a-Thon

Community, Volunteers, and Sponsors Bonded for a Charitable Cause

At least as many spectators as surfers attended, including four U4O board members and others there to support their favorite surfers, ranging not just in age, but also experience. It was the first time surfing for one participant, and we also had boogie boarders, bodyboarders, and one stand-up paddle surfer. The highest number surfed was by 13-year-old Charlie Wilkinson, who caught an incredible 42 waves!

Surfer at San Diego charity Unity 4 Orphans' San Diego Wave-a-Thon

“This fundraiser really shows the impact of teamwork, because even a $1 donation is multiplied by the power of community, enabling us to reach our goal and bring our programs to even more orphaned and vulnerable children through education and holistic care.”

-Keem Schultz-Fares, Board Member

Donating Time and Raising Funds Brings out Volunteers’ Creativity

After the event, the surfers gathered at Joe Brandi’s house to celebrate their hard work and find out how much their collective efforts raised. Participant awards included two surfboards donated by Josh Colace and Tawne Asing, given to the top pledge earners, Kristan Peterson and Badbo Wilhoit. As Kristan boogie boards, the second surfboard went to the next highest earner, 17-year-old Mark Fares.

San Diego charity U4O’s 3rd Annual Wave-A-Thon

Special awards were given in a few categories, including “Most Creative Fundraising” which was won by Abi Henningsgaard and Julia Valencia. These innovative ladies gained pledges by completing dares suggested by their donors, such as standing in front of Home Depot for an hour holding a sign that said, “I’m single.” We’re amused by their ingenuity and thankful for their bravery!

Award winners received gift cards from our awesome event sponsors, Saltwater Culture, Rosemonts Cafe, and Triton Tours, and everyone enjoyed sandwiches donated by Chick-fil-A Clairemont. Thank you to each and every one who made this event such a success. We can’t wait for next year and hope to see YOU there!

Volunteer walking with surfboard at San Diego charity U4O's Wave-a-Thon

Special thanks to our gifted videographer, Bettina Hanna, photographer Noah Wardrip, as well as Salt Water Sunshine for capturing the unforgettable event in pictures and video. Don’t forget to click the button below to visit our photo gallery and follow us on social media to see more of their awesome work and get a bird’s eye view of this incredible, unique event.

View the full event photo gallery!

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