Christmas is a holiday marked with a plethora of traditions. From opening all of your presents on Christmas eve to eating Christmas brunch instead of having a large dinner, the holiday is celebrated with customs unique to each family and individual. To get a taste of this variety, we asked a couple of our staff what their plans were this holiday season, along with a tradition.
Heading home for the holidays, Camie Abernathy of Paso Robles, CA, shares, “I am looking forward to being home and sitting by the fire. My immediate family meets up with the community of friends I grew up with (about 5 families in total) and we get ridiculous hats and musical instruments and have a party. Each family gets little gifts for the other families, like socks or ridiculous gifts, and we all bring deserts and just hang out. It is one of my favorite traditions.”
Flying to the east coast is Becky Harm of Titusville, Florida, where the humidity and tropical weather is similar to Hawaii’s. “My family has a tradition of watching a different Christmas movie every night in December. My life in Hawaii is so different, so the only tradition I have kept is keeping December festive. Growing up in the tropics I learned that the feeling of Christmas is not about the weather, but rather how much you put into it.” states.
Not everyone on staff is heading to their stomping grounds this year. Although remaining on Oahu this Christmas, Aquila David will be incorporating some old and new traditions this year. “This holiday season I am looking forward to singing classic Christmas music with a warm cup of chai in my hand.” He shared, “When I was growing up on the Island of Kauai, Christmas was a time for family outings. We would head to the beach early in the morning to watch the sunrise and drink Hot Cocoa together. This Christmas, it would be fitting for us who are here to watch the sunset together in the water surfing, doing something we all love.”
Merry Christmas from your Surfing The Nations ohana!
This holiday season, Walmart is running a Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign to help food pantries across the nation refresh their facilities. The competition is run via social media and the top 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000. Funds from this campaign would allow us to continue constructing the food pantry in our Community Outreach Training Center, and all it takes is five easy steps!
- Go to walmart.com/holidaymakeover
- Scroll down to where it says VOTE TODAY!
- Type Hawaii in the search bar
- Click VOTE under Surfing The Nations
- Share with all your friends and REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERY 24 HOURS!
(Voting ends 11:59 pm EST December 12th)
Today’s blog is an update on the Surfers Coffee Bar Kickstarter campaign! They’re doing great things in the Wahiawa community and campaigning to raise funds for a new espresso machine. Can you help them make it happen?
- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals
- a similarity or identity
- joint ownership or liability
The Surfers Coffee Bar in Wahiawa has seen every one of these definitions of community take form through the generous support of others. Our local and global community has shared in our goal, in our identity as a coffee shop that exists to give back, and taken ownership by investing in our future. We have seen over $11,000 raised out of our $15,000 goal! Now, we only have 6 days left of the Kickstarter campaign. We are still in need of the last few thousand dollars to make the necessary purchases to keep our work in the community going. Please take some time to check out the campaign, give what you can, and tell your friends about it! Thank you for your help!
Your Surfers Coffee Bar Ohana
*As defined by the Oxford dictionary
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!
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.