Let me set the stage for you: Crowds numbering over 1,000. Flowers falling from helicopters like snow in the sky. Oversized photos of teenagers hoisted into the air. Leis made of flowers and money held in outstretched arms. What is this? A Hawaiian high school graduation, of course!
I was incredibly blessed to be able to attend a friend’s high school graduation this Spring. His name is David Dawson. David is one of the most caring and generous men that I know. He gives more than he takes and is always willing to extend an open hand. I met David over a year ago while I was a part of STN’s Service Team. We met in a hole. No, not a metaphoric hole, but a real dirt and mud one. I was digging an eight foot pit in order to get to a blocked sewage pipe and that is when David arrived on the scene. He had come STN to volunteer with us and thankfully, was there just in time. We talked quite a bit that day, as you tend to do in a confined space, and really got to know one another.
Over the next few months I got to know David quite well and was really impressed with his character and work ethic. We were doing hard work at the time, but David never complained or shirked his duty; he persevered and continued to serve STN and his community, Wahiawa.
David has lived on Ohai Street since he was eight years old. Living in a place notorious for violence and drug activity, a child’s future on this street often has far too many dark options. But David knew who he wanted to be. To stay focused in the face the temptation of drugs, fighting, and vandalism was a challenge, but he fought against the drift and used his football and volunteer work to stay on course. Going to college has always been a goal for him, and a dream for his family as well.
Through hard work and dedication, David graduated high school. His name was called and he went up on stage to receive his diploma, smiling the entire time. Not only did David graduate, but he also received a full tuition scholarship to the University of Hawaii, Hilo! I am incredibly proud of David. He put his mind to it and succeeded as a result. Dedication and determination are truly the ingredients in the recipe for success.
Thank you David, for being a true friend and for all your work in the community! ” -CJ
Header photo credit: western.edu
Today’s blog post is from our favorite Sheila, Ame Schadel. Ame came this spring from Australia to take part in our Service Team program. Service Team is a program where individuals assist with practical hands-on needs of STN such as painting, construction or service in the local community with our ongoing outreaches. The schedule and jobs are based off of the needs at STN has at the current time. It is a challenge, but the reward of living and growing in the community is unique and gratifying. Service team members must commit a minimum of one month and can stay as long as three months. Take a look at what Ame had to say about her experience:
‘I love those times in life when a really amazing opportunity presents itself and you choose to step out of your comfort zone. There’s a feeling of nervousness and excitement as you start making your plans. But the best part is, after you’ve made that step and you realize that the decision turned out to be the best one you could have made. This is exactly what happened to me when I had the opportunity to be part of the service team at Surfing the Nations.
I flew from Australia to Hawaii not knowing what to expect, nervous about making this new place home for the next month. Nervousness aside, I also had a feeling that this would be the start of an amazing adventure. I was ready for a new challenge in life, ready to meet new friends and ready to have a ton of fun while doing it.
Being part of the Service Team gave me the chance to see firsthand how Surfing the Nations is making a difference in the community and around the world. Not only was I able to help people within the organization, I was also able to help with weekly community events like Feeding the Hungry and the Ulu Pono kids program. Through these programs, my eyes were opened to the need that is in the world today. The need for primary things like food and shelter and also the need for comfort and encouragement. Seeing people line up for food and being able to look them in the eyes, give them food and encourage them was truly a highlight for me.
Another part of Service Team that made my time so enjoyable was all the people that served alongside me. It was great to be working on a project or helping build something with people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. We worked together, ate together and laughed together. The community of people at STN made me not only feel like I was part of the organization, but like I belonged to a family that was all working to make a difference.
Service Team was the best decision I could have made. It was an incredible way to see Hawaii, meet new people and ultimately make a lasting difference in a community, I loved it so much, I decided to extend my stay.
I would highly recommend taking this adventure and making it your own.’ – AS
The town of Wahiawa has welcomed a new addition to its local business family and the irony is that this “new kid on the block” isn’t really “new” at all.
On March 30th, The Vintage, a vintage clothing and antique shop, opened in a former liquor market, which used to be sandwiched between a strip club and a 24-hour porn shop.With the purchase of these properties by Surfing The Nations, the strip club, 24 hour porn shop and the liquor market were all turned into family minded businesses. The Vintage is the latest addition to this street transformation.
The Vintage has been carefully crafted by Swedish sisters in-law, Beatrice and Elin Ahlander. Both with a passion for design and background in retail, this powerhouse duo put together the one-of-a-kind store in only a matter of months(Beatrice even had her one year old with her most days)!
When you walk through the shop, you can see every item and display has been cultivated by their expertise. The shop caters to a large variety of tastes: From a much-prized pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes, to old books, children’s clothing, Hawaiiana memorabilia and home decor. Moms, fashionistas, collectors, and anyone that happens to be passing through is bound to find something that catches their eye.
Vintage shopping has burst onto the scene with force, disarming mall windows of the allure they once held. Vintage stores don’t put items in your face and scream for your business; rather, they hold out an invitation for people to go on their own treasure hunt.If an item is truly vintage, you can be sure of a few things: First off, it’s probably one of a kind; you won’t have to worry about someone else showing up in the same outfit. Secondly, it is going to offer a completely different look than what’s available in mainstream retail. Vintage shops open the door to the styles of several different eras at a time and unleash opportunities to shape a creative style of your own. Lastly, it has a value that can only be added to. When you find a vintage item, it already has a story, and that story continues on to a new chapter in your possession.
The Vintage has its own part in a story of restoring and rebuilding a community.
Come and see what role The Vintage can play in your personal style!
This past week was a busy and bittersweet one, as we said our congratulations and goodbyes to some of our Ohana. This week was the graduation of our 10 Surfers Leadership School students and our twenty-nine interns. It was an exciting time for the students to reflect back on the three months of their time in Hawaii and celebrate their accomplishments. For the interns, that meant reading books, passing tests, and working hard in several different departments at STN, including Waianae surf and swim and Feeding the Hungry. Many of them are going back to different corners of the world: Sweden, Canada and all over the United States. The SLS students celebrated the completion of their leadership training and apprenticeships (not to mention their Big Adventure!) and they are pressing on in their full time staff positions for the remainder of the year.
We are so thankful for the interns and staff that have chosen to come to STN. You guys are what make us run and what makes this Ohana incredible.Thanks for giving back!
This time of year is always exciting as we get ready for our bi-annual Ulu Pono kids Art Show!
This Saturday, from 6-10 pm, Surfing The Nations invites you to be a part of this amazing evening. There will be live music, pupus, and artwork from local renowned artists displayed alongside the art of the Ulu Pono kids.
This is a special night for the community as we acknowledge the accomplishments of each child involved in the Ulu Pono kids program and celebrate the creativity that thrives on our island.
To read more about this awesome program, check out our blog on the significance of art in the kid’s lives at http://www.thegrommom.com/the-hawaiian-renaissance-guest-post-from-surfing-the-nations/
Here’s the invitation made for you by the kids themselves! Hope to see you there!
Surfing the Nations was honored with to join Duke’s Restaurant Waikiki as they celebrated their 20th anniversary on January 18th. This day was not just a celebration of a thriving business, but an establishment that has truly upheld and lived out the spirit of Aloha. Duke’s has generously invested in and supported non-profits on the island for six years now through their Legacy of Aloha program. Surfing the Nations was chosen to be one of the recipients of a $2,000 donation along with other nonprofits: Nā Kama Kai, Mālama Maunalua, the Honolulu City and County South Shore Lifeguards, Holomua Nā ʻOhana, and Angel Network. In total, $12,000 was given to further the work of conserving the land and supporting the people of Hawaii. This is the third year Surfing the Nations has been invited and made Legacy of Aloha recipients.
We are so grateful to Duke’s for supporting us and dedicating themselves to giving back to the community!
photo credit: Honolulu Pulse
Thirty-two interns and six staff members are on the island of Kauai for the next 10 days! They will be bonding as a team through work projects in the community and activities like camping and hiking. The main focus is to serve the people of the island of Kauai and help meet the needs that are there.
The team will also be speaking at local high schools in the area and working with STN Kauai. (Did you know there was an STN Kauai base? More info to follow!)
We are stoked to send out our internship and watch them grow in leadership and selflessness as they live the lifestyle of ’Surfers Giving Back’.
Follow STN on facebook and twitter at @stn1040 for updates along the way!
Want a little taste of what Kauai is like?
Although we won’t be going on helicopter rides or lounging on a beach the whole time, the island of Kauai is definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen, so we want you to share in it too. Here is a honeymooner’s view:
Surfing The Nations has an amazing program called the Ulu Pono Kids program. Ulu Pono means ”To thrive on a righteous path’”. Ulu Pono’s goal is to help the youth of the area find that better path. Through the generosity of Friends of Hawaii Charities, Ulu Pono is able to offer a free after-school program during the school year called ‘Thriving Arts.’ It is through ‘Thriving Arts’ that at-risk youth are given lessons in art, dance, and music. This year, they’ve been studying ukulele and art following the theme of Imagination. Ulu Pono also offers a once a week reading intensive program called ”Genius Factory” where the kids have a reading buddy who helps them build upon their reading skills and other areas of academics. Not only do the kids have a chance to learn, but a chance to develop personally. I have had the privilege of witnessing transformation in these kids. Some of these kids are in very challenging and even harmful environments. I’ve seen children who don’t even have the confidence to speak a single word become bright chatter boxes, I’ve seen children who were known for their unruly behavior become leaders, I’ve seen these kids blossom when given love, instruction and a chance to thrive in their own creativity.
Giving alternatives to destructive lifestyles, holding out good choices to combat the devastating choices is a fundamental principle in effective activism: Don’t simply tear down, but build up. Don’t simply pit yourself against something; let your cause be to change, to transform, to restore.
On November 17th, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of the Ulu Pono kids as they showcase their art accompanied with ukulele performances. If you are in Hawaii, this is a night you do not want to miss. Local well known artists such as Patrick Parker, Clark Takashima ,Nick Welles and Clark Little will be displaying their work alongside the children’s. The night will include free admission, food, a great gallery to browse, vendors, live music and more. Most importantly, it will be a night in which the community gathers to empower the future artists of the island. Come enjoy the evening, get inspired and help cheer on and build up our youth.
Last month, we had a new surprise addition to the STN buildings.
Carson Myers, longtime friend and staff member at STN had been sneakily putting together a room where the artists of STN could create in their free time. Through Carson’s vision and hard work, the back of a run-down house became ‘The Back Room’ and Carson held an opening party to celebrate.
We love this room and are excited to see the amazing creations that come out of there. Thanks Carson!
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