Written by Rosemary Leonetti/Syntax
The Long Beach Public Schools Extended School Year Program for Students with Disabilities once again teamed up with Surf for All to provide students in grades K-12 with a unique summer learning experience.
With the aid of specially trained surf instructors, the students have been setting off on longboards to ride the waves and experience the healing powers of the ocean as their families and teachers cheer them on. In addition to having fun, the children who participate in the program experience multiple educational benefits. According to the Long Beach School District, surfing helps them take a step toward independence, challenging them to overcome fears, build trust, establish relationships, enhance gross motor skills and listen to directions.
Surf for All is a local not-for-profit organization launched by brothers Cliff and Will Skudin and Long Beach resident Jim Mulvaney to help people with special needs. Through surfing, they have helped those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments and blindness, Down syndrome, autism, diabetes, as well as those with economic barriers, the Wounded Warriors, and cancer-diagnosed patients.
Surf for All is just one of the many recreational, enriching and practical learning activities offered to students in the Extended School Year Program for Students with Disabilities. In addition to their regular summer classroom instruction, students have participated in swim sessions at the high school pool and taken trips to Rockville Centre Bowl and Key Food.
This year students were also given the opportunity to take Tae Kwon Do lessons from Mr. Tim of Mister Tim’s TKD Kids. This comprehensive approach to summer learning helps students maintain the skills they acquired over the course of the traditional school year.
“We are pleased to be able to provide our students with many enriching summer activities while giving them a fun way to practice and maintain all the skills they learned during the school year,” said Sabrina Cantore, the district’s executive director of special education and pupil personnel services.
“We are especially grateful to the Skudins, who have been volunteering their time and talent to the children in our summer program for four years now,” she continued. “It has been a phenomenal experience for our students and their families.”