At the start of 2017 we started the process of choosing new non-profits to team up with, and boy was that hard! There are SO many organizations who are doing amazing, generous things and I think if we could, we'd support them all. After a lot of discussions and tough decisions we landed on two non-profits who are out in our community supporting injured active duty military and veterans, and at-risk youth and homeless dogs.
Operation Surf takes injured active duty military and veterans on a week long, all-inclusive surf trip (right here in Santa Cruz!) They are taught how to surf by world-class instructors, experience the healing powers of the ocean, and are in a safe and supportive environment where they can work to overcome their physical limitations as well as psychological ones. To see some of the Veterans stories watch this video.. and warning you may need a tissue or two!
UnChained uses the human-dog bond to educate at-risk youth empathy, respect, and responsibility. They pair homeless dogs with youth to teach them basic commands, socialization, and manners helping the dogs find their forever homes. "When a dog shows kindness to a child with a tail wag, or a gentle lick on the hand, regardless of socioeconomic status, race or physical appearance, the child believes what the dog says; "You're perfect to me!". This human-animal interaction can be one of the first steps to "releasing compassion in humans"."