We’re so blessed to have such a supportive community and live in beautiful San Diego, which offers us opportunities for fun and creative fundraising! The sense of camaraderie at this summer’s Wave-A-Thon gave us an infusion of excitement and hope that we’re thrilled to extend to the children we serve in Latin America.
Unity 4 Orphans’ 2nd Annual Wave-A-Thon took place on Saturday, August 28 at Pacific Beach. We were elated with the participation and enthusiasm of all the surfers, volunteers, and supporters who joined us in raising an amazing $36,482!
One spectator said, “It’s awesome to see people coming together to enjoy the elements and support the greater good!”
Our first Wave-A-Thon, held in December 2020, was not only a successful fundraising event, but also a lot of FUN! This special occasion became a unique U4O tradition and we’re stoked that we were able to hold our second event just nine months later and exceed the total donation amount of the first! Saturday’s event was attended by 25 surfers and just as many spectators and supporters.
San Diego did not disappoint, offering a beautiful partly cloudy sky and temperatures around 80 degrees, providing an additional character to the story: “America’s Finest City!” The afternoon kicked off with heartfelt thanks and a prayer from our founder, Joe Brandi, followed by the surfers hitting the water to catch some waves. As wave after wave rolled in, the participants provided nonstop entertainment for the group on the beach, who waited in anticipation for the next surfer to cheer on.
“Using the amazing resources we have in San Diego, it’s so much fun to see this creative fundraising event come together with the support of so many great people. I’m already looking forward to next year!”-Joe Brandi
Beth Pico of Christian Surfers Pacific Beach admirably provided leadership and rallied the surfers, keeping them fired up for the cause with reminders about fundraising. She also gathered raffle prize donations, was a key person in pulling the whole event together, and personally raised $2,095!
Pictures and videos to commemorate the day and share with others were provided by Bettina Hanna and Noah Wardrop, and they did a tremendous job capturing the magic of the afternoon and the spirit of joy and generosity shared by all in attendance. The perfect summer day drew many others to the beach, of course, and several beachgoers stopped to ask about the event and learn more about our mission. One woman opened her purse, and her heart, and gave right then and there, and another signed up for an upcoming service trip.
Three U4O board members lent their support to the surfers as well and we’re blessed to have Steve Castillo, Laura Fellows, and Keem Schultz-Fares as integral parts of our organization. We’d also like to give an important shout out to Woodstock’s Pizza for providing hot pies for hungry surfers on the beach! Participants were also able to choose a new pair of sunglasses, donated by Tucker and Heather Bowyer of Miami Wholesale Sunglasses.
Surfer Rosie Furr joined us on two orphanage service trips in Tijuana this summer and raised $1,641 through pledges. She was also inspired to share some encouraging words for others:
“There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than getting to do something I love, like surfing, while having the opportunity to give back in a small way by fundraising . . .”
Two of our biggest fundraisers, who also had a friendly competition with one another, were Brian Wheeler and Bri Boyer. Feeling confident in his skills, Brian shared that the prize for the most funds raised was a new surfboard donated by Joe Brandi, but that helping the kids was the biggest motivator of all. He had been gathering pledges for a few weeks and raised $2,711, just ahead of Bri’s $2,620. A regular volunteer at events and fundraisers as well as our monthly service trips, Brian considers it a privilege to be able to help serve U4O’s mission.
After our time on the beach, we gathered at the home of Christine and Tyler Wilkinson, who graciously hosted us to celebrate the success of the event and spend time in fellowship together. Jeremiah Rivera from Golden State Dogs donated delicious food to feed the entire group, and party goers enjoyed tunes played by Steve Antti.
We’re so thankful for the volunteers, donors, and surfers who made this epic event so successful and look forward to putting the funds raised to work for the children and families who are part of our educational program in Miramar, Nicaragua. The past year and a half has been difficult for many, but especially for children living in poverty. U4O aims to provide even more support to these kids through ESL education and counseling.
Thanks to our awesome surfers and sponsors for helping us to exceed our goal! We can’t wait for next year!