Monday, May 11, 2009

Surf Pals started as a concept Sept. 11, 2002 when Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and I met with the folks from Surfers Healing (a California based charity that invented surf camps for autism) in Rockaway Beach for a mini-outing with half a dozen local children on the spectrum. Their founder, Izzy Paskowitz, had been a neighbor of ours in San Clemente (CA) and his son and mine are pals on the spectrum.

The first try was a great success (go to www.surfershealing.org to see the video of that day).

Harvey and I decided to accomplish two things:

Move the event from Rockaway to Long Beach (our home).
Provide more, season long opportunities for local kids to surf (Surfers Healing, based in California, makes only one trip a year to Long Island. They continue to host an even in Long Beach, that we support, but it is a long season and wanted to grow locally in ways the California guys couldn’t).


From that Surf Pals was born. Elliot Zuckerman was an enthusiastic and active supporter from the early days and later became a key member of the organization. He assisted in raising money and is unmatched with the kids in the water.

As he has retired from his New York City job and planned to devote more time to his Long Beach surf school, Elliot is well positioned to take over operations of a surfing for autism venture. I, alas, am far from retirement and can’t devote time to continue to run an organization that started with five kids and has grown to hundreds.

So we wish Elliot well and will continue to provide moral and other support as needed. Elliot had been the surf master, I was the conduit to the autism community. Now that the relationship has been established, the venture should grow organically.

Elliot has been the keeper of the equipment and has been very generous about making sure it was available not only for Surf Pals outings but also for individual surfers who team up with specific children on the spectrum. My vision had always been to create a “Big Brothers/Sisters” group matching individual surfers with individual families for season long surfing in addition to a couple of major events (we have at least one pair, surfer and kid, who are in the ocean 10 months a year). Elliot should continue to maintain custody of whatever equipment came from Surf Pals as I know he will use it well in his planned venture. From my point of view the equipment is not owned by any group but rather the autism community; it isn’t important what entity maintains physical custody. Elliot is, has been and will be a good steward. The idea is to use whatever equipment available for the good of the disabilities community and right now, Elliot is in the best position to do that.

Surf Pals is continuing as a corporation in hibernation (obviously not a legal term) to see how Elliot’s group fares. If, as we all hope and pray, Elliot’s group flourishes, Surf Pals will eventually fade into the sunset and probably go out of business in the coming years. If Elliot finds that he is unable to continue his autism program we want to have a corporate structure in place to dive back in and reconstitute some type of recreation program.

My guess is that Surf Pals will do no fund raising this year as Elliot assures us he has all the resources he needs—or plans to acquire same through his own fund raising ventures.

I remain active in autism related events including Nassau Suffolk Autism Society of America, Long Island Blues ice hockey, the Lakeview stables, the AHRC and other groups. My skills are better suited to invention and political lobbying than surfing or long term management.

We want to thank you for your past support of what has been and hopefully will continue to be a great program, regardless of moniker.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me or Harvey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving

HAPPY LATE THANKSGIVING TO ALL. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF RESTRUCTURING THE SURF PALS BOARD TO MAKE IT AN EVEN BETTER EXPERIENCE NEXT SUMMER. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED IN THE SPRING FOR THIS SEASONS LINE UP.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

THANK YOU LONG BEACH

THIS IS A LETTER TO THE EDITOR WE SUBMITTED TO THE LONG BEACH HERALD THIS WEEKEND. I'LL LET YOU KNOW IF IT RUNS:

As a co-founder of Surf Pals, a local volunteer group dedicated to assisting "Kids With Autism Surfing," I want to thank everyone who helped make our event Monday July 28 such a success.
Coming on the heels of one of the most difficult beach weekends in memory, it was quite poignant to see more than 50 children enjoy the placid face of the the ocean and the healing power it contains.
Autism is a medical tsunami affecting more than one in 150 kids, making it larger than pediatric cancer, AIDS and diabetes COMBINED. It is a neurological based disorder that makes communication difficult. The Long Beach community has become a leader in assisting children and families faced with this condition.
The residents of this barrier beach not only have "Long Beach Sand in Our Shoes" we've also got "Long Beach Love in Our Hearts" and it was on display for our kids. Long Beach has become a community renowned for charity and community spirit; we see it on display for Polar Bears, Michelle O'Neill, Sean Ryan, SJK and too many more events to mention. There is no community on Long Island that is more giving, not just with checkbooks but also through personal involvement.
Beyond the chores provided by Surf Pals volunteers, their mere presence is invaluable. Our kids with autism feel locked away and as much as they enjoy the ocean, the biggest thrill may be the opportunity to perform for cheering spectators. Kids with autism don't hear much encouragement; on this day it was round after round of "Curtain Calls" and "Standing O-s" for every ride down the face of a wave. These "disabled" kids were quite proud to have the opportunity to display their abilities.
Along with the co-founders of Surf Pals, Harvey Weisenberg, Elliot Zuckerman and Jack Mulvaney, I'd like to thank the whole community especially singling out those who got personally involved including Charley Theofan, Joe Brand, Jack Radin, Mike Tangney, Mary Giambalvo, the folks from the Recreation and Auxiliary Police and Sanitation departments, Monarch Beverages, Dunes Deli, MacKoul Insurance, Maria Aramanda, The Inn, Pilates for Every Body, Assemblyman Weisenberg's staff and the city's premier surf schools Surf2Live and ZooYork.
A special mention of gratitude goes to the Long Beach life guards who had just gotten through one of the toughest weekend's in their history. The men and women of this service not only preformed heroically in the face of danger during the ferocious weekend rip currents but they were also handled our children with a sense of dignity, respect and humanity. It is not easy to develop the muscles needed to be a Long Beach lifeguard; I would argue that the level of kindness they presented to our kids that day is requires even greater strength.
My son, Dan Mulvaney has autism and has lost nearly all of his speech. He is a well known smiling face around town and sometimes asks me to be his voice. In this case, as one of the first Surf Pals to hit the beach back in 2002, Dan wants to relay his thanks and looks forward to seeing you at the next Surf Pals event Sept 2 in Long Beach.
Jim Mulvaney
Long Beach

Monday, July 28, 2008

Surf Pals will have more than 50 children on the autism spectrum surfing today (Monday) at Azores Beach (Pacific Blvd., 11561) in Long Beach. Today's surfari will be especially poignant as it comes on the heels of an unprecedented number of ocean drownings across the tri-state area. Today's event celebrates the healing power of the ocean and demonstrates the abilities of so-called disabled children.

Jim Mulvaney 917 952 8717

Sunday, July 27, 2008

POSTPONE JULY 27 SURF PALS

DUE TO INCREASING WAVE HEIGHTS AND RIP CURRENTS SUNDAY'S SURF PALS EVENT IN LONG BEACH SCHEDULED FOR JULY 27 IS POSTPONED.
WE ARE NOW ON FOR MONDAY JULY 28, SAME TIME, SAME PLACE

Monday, July 7, 2008

THE INN

OUR SECOND ANNUAL FUND RAISER AT THE INN in LONG BEACH IS COMING UP THIS COMING SUNDAY. LOTS OF GREAT RAFFLES INCLUDING JEWELRY, TRIPS, ART, GIFT CERTIFICATES, CLOTHING AND EVEN A CHANCE TO UNDERGO SECRET AGENT TRAINING.
THE PARTY IS SUNDAY JULY 13 4 PM TO 8 PM AT THE INN on Beech St., in Long Beach.
For directions go to their web site www.thelongbeachinn.com