When you support Valpo Surf Project’s summer programming, you are doing much more than providing a fun day at the beach – you are offering a lifeline to kids who are struggling with the challenges of poverty.
One of the most vulnerable VSP communities is located at the top of one of the many hills that make up Valparaíso, Chile. The views are breathtaking, with panoramas of the colorful city below and the ocean. Living in this neighborhood is not so pretty. Makeshift houses are crowded together in small spaces. Shootings are commonplace, and stray bullets can fly through windows unexpectedly. 98% of people live in poverty, with one-third of those households run by single mothers. Young children are left to take care of even younger siblings while their moms work. Their family members have drug problems or participate in drug trafficking. It’s nearly impossible to get to the city center for school, health services, or even the grocery store without a car.
South America is approaching its summer months, where VSP students will be out of school and even more exposed to the everyday realities of their neighborhoods. Schools are an important partner and resource for child development and safety. Teachers help us identify problems at home and seek additional services if a child is in danger. Although school resources and protection are not available year-round, Valpo Surf Project is.
VSP students spend their summer surfing at a beach break called La Boca. Our iconic blue vans, piled with surfboards, climb the hills every weekday to pick up VSP students. From there, we start the 45-minute drive to the beach, where kids fight for the aux cord, sing their favorite songs, and chat with the staff. Once we arrive, the fun continues. Wetsuits get passed out, sunscreen applied, and the kids head out into the ocean. Nothing beats being out in the waves with friends and mentors. When it’s time to go, many kids drag their feet getting out of the water, not wanting to let go of their time surfing. The session wraps up with a nutritious lunch, and we are back on the road. After a long and rewarding day, almost everyone is fast asleep on the way home.
Although summer is a beautiful and fun time of year, it’s also a difficult period for our students. Your support of VSP summer programming is incredibly important because it provides relief from the harmful situations prevalent in their neighborhoods. While you are providing enriching activities that build confidence, friendships, and overall well-being, your donation goes so much further. Summer activities are critical safe spaces where VSP staff can make sure that everything is okay at home and provide resources to keep kids safe and healthy. Chilean Child Protective Services has stressed that VSP is fundamental to the well-being of children in Valparaíso.
We have a goal to raise $50,000 this holiday season to bring our summer programming to 150 VSP students. Give the gift of a fun and safe summer to the kids who need it most. Donate today.