Earlier this year, we saw the timber fall in phase one of our project to build the Community Outreach and Training Center (COTC). Now we are seeing dreams of having a designated space for our Ulu Pono Kids program come to fruition as the project starts moving forward!
One person in particular who is excited about this is Brittany Southwick, the Ulu Pono Kids program Director. She says, “It’s going to be a game changer for the kids in the Ulu Pono program. To have have a place that they can be creative and thrive. I can’t wait to see the growth in this program that can come from finally having a consistent facility.”
We are now in phase two! The foundation is being built that will sustain a community program for years to come. Businesses, schools, churches, and grants have helped us reach this point, and as the concrete begins to settle,we still need you to see this project through.
We invite you to partner with us in transforming Wahiawa into a safer and better place to live. You can join us by giving towards our 2014 Year End Giving campaign in mid-November, or if you would like to donate now, you can do so here, through STN General.
Surfing The Nations is a 501 (c) 3 tax deductible organization recognized by the US Government. All donations are tax deductible and tax receipts are available upon request.
Meet Mitchell Guapo. A fresh-faced, 18 year old native of the High Desert of California. After graduating high school, Mitchell came to Oahu and interned with Surfing The Nations. Seeing that Surfing The Nations was a great place from which to impact the world around him, he joined STN’s full time staff as the coordinator of Ulu Pono Teens program for at-risk youth. A life in Hawaii was already far beyond his wildest dreams, but little did he know the ride was about to get that much crazier!
A few months ago, the founders of Zhou Enlai Peace Institute from China came by to check out STN’s vintage shop, The Vintage. After receiving a tour of STN, they were inspired and asked if a representative from STN could come and speak at a conference they were putting on for Chinese youth. They were looking specifically for a teenager from STN to represent the youth of America. Mitchell’s young age made him the perfect candidate for this opportunity!
It was my first time leaving the country so I was stoked!’ explains Mitchell. He was given the task of preparing a 20 minute speech about how to achieve world peace, and deliver it to a large audience. ‘That was definitely one of the biggest challenges: getting mentally prepared to talk to over 1,000 people!’ Few of us can feel prepared to talk about achieving world peace at any age, much less at 18! Mitchell’s main points boiled down to this message: We can only achieve peace in our homes, communities and the world after we have found peace within ourselves.
He arrived in Shanghai after flying for over 11 hours. Mildly jet-lagged and extremely excited, Mitchell made his way to speak at the event in Tong Li. In the ballroom of a hotel, he looked at the place where he would be speaking from. “It was a massive stage, with a large LED screen behind me, a runway before me, and an audience made up of people from all over the world.” The whole set up was mind blowing. Nerves aside, Mitchell delivered his talk with the help of a translator, and received roaring applause.
Mitchell ended up staying in China for a total of ten days, spoke a few more times and made plenty of new friendships. When asked for his favorite memory of the trip, he was at a loss for words. “The entire experience was great; from the people to the city to the food, it’s hard to choose just one highlight. One the coolest things was hearing from the both the youth and adults about how inspired they were to see a counter-cultural lifestyle. They were surprised to find out that I was a full time volunteer, and moved by the fact that people believe in what I’m doing at STN enough to sponsor me to be on staff there. I’m glad I got to inspire them to live selflessly and out of the box in their own communities.”
Mitchell is back in action here at Surfing the Nations, continuing to mentor the youth in Wahiawa. At only eighteen years old, Mitchell has already been able to express just a few of his “out-of-the-box” passions and dreams at Surfing the Nations.