"When are we going surfing?"
This was the question our programming staff got asked the most throughout the past two years. As the uncertainty around COVID-19 continued, all our staff could say was “hopefully soon”. Towards the end of last year, Chile finally started lifting pandemic restrictions and changed “hopefully soon” for a definitive “this Saturday''. The excitement of our kids, their families, and VSP staff was palpable. The way parents and students were talking about surf sessions made it apparent VSP is much more than just getting waves. The return to in-person programming meant kids could rejoin their community, be with their friends and mentors again, and regain a sense of normalcy.
Our staff was ready, our kids were ready, and we finally had the green light to gather in-person. But there was one big issue. We needed more people to help our team run surf sessions. With the border just reopening and Chilean universities not fully returning to classes until March, our pool of interns and volunteers was seriously depleted.
Fortunately, there was another group who also asked “When are we going surfing?” throughout the pandemic. Graduates of VSP.
Nobody knows how important time with your mentors and days in the ocean are than our graduates. Who better to help us get back to the beach, than young adults who grew up in the program and embody VSP values. Graduates have always maintained a strong relationship with VSP. Many have continued to be involved in the organization, working around busy university, job, and family schedules to be there for VSP students. This summer they went above and beyond. They ran the show.
This is the true impact of your support. What more can we hope for than to see students who you have supported over the last twelve years become stewards of the program. You invested in our students, now they are investing in themselves and the next generation of VSP. We are so proud of the young adults they have become and that they are more involved in VSP than ever.
This summer in Chile was a tremendous return to the waves for our kids and graduates, but our work does not stop there. The consequences of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of young people are vast. VSP is uniquely positioned to address these challenges through the powerful tool of mentorship. Please help our staff and graduates reach over 300 students in 2022. Your donation will fill a critical need in our students’ lives post-pandemic and continue to create the next generation of VSP leaders.