Located in central Chile, Valparaíso is a city where most people live in the hills surrounding its industrial port. VSP works in the city's poorest neighborhoods, which are affected by violent crime, drug abuse, and chronic unemployment.
VSP provides a vital role in our students' lives. Our students have few positive role models and limited educational and social support. Through surfing, academic tutoring, & environmental stewardship we engage, educate, and motivate our kids.
Kids enter VSP as young as 8 years old and graduate at 18. Many of our graduates are the first in their families to attend college. They are also returning to VSP to volunteer as mentors, giving back to the next generation in their own communities.
Surf sessions are the heart of our relationship with our students. In the ocean our students take a break from the stresses of their everyday lives, engage in healthy physical activity, and spend quality time with their mentors.
We provide English classes, individualized tutoring, and college and career preparation. Our academics are opening doors for our students they previously did not know existed.
Our environmental activities encourage environmental consciousness, community service, and leadership skills.
Founded in 2009 by a group of four friends, the Valpo Surf Project began as a way to better the lives of young people in Valparaíso, Chile. While living in Valparaíso founders Wiley, Jon, Henry, and Andrés recognized that hidden amongst the city's unique beauty were families struggling with the consequences of poverty. The entire city of Valparaíso, which is set in the foothills of the Andes, faces the Pacific Ocean. The guys decided to use surfing and the ocean as a way to connect with the kids of Valparaíso.
After a grassroots fundraising campaign in 2009, the VSP's Pilot Program was launched in 2010. The program began with 4 surfboards and 20 students in one classroom in the hills of Valparaíso. The four founders ran all aspects of the program. Jon, Henry, and Wiley took turns going home to the United States to fundraise and work odd jobs saving up enough money to buy another plane ticket back to Chile.
Since 2010 the program has grown to include:
12,000+ Instances of Participation
5,000+ Mentorship Hours
9 Staff Members
As the VSP continues to grow the organization remains committed to each student, empowering them with the tools to better their own lives and positively impact their communities.