<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/121178917″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> The action-sports community tends to be pretty well connected to not only the environment, but also to social issues. There’s been a steady trend over the years of athletes, artists and activists homing in on a particular cause and making a difference.
But this Aussie kid is only 10.
Waves for Water is the black ops of the nonprofit world. Pro surfer and artist Jon Rose has created one of the most effective disaster-relief organizations on the planet, not only raising considerable money and awareness for the cause, but actually getting boots on the ground to help communities bounce back after disasters and providing clean drinking water.
Backed by Hurley, they’ve come to the aid of thousands from typhoons, earthquakes and even Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey. But what’s equally impressive is the way he’s been able to inspire young people -- energetic little groms -- to get involved.
Aussie Winter Vincent learned about Waves for Water because of surfers like Rob Machado. He was moved to learn how many people in the world -- especially in those unpaved places where surfers tread so often -- didn’t have access to clean drinking water.
“I used to think that we all had all these things in life until I found out that not everyone had the exact same thing, like clean drinking water. That’s when it struck me how good my life was,” said the extremely mature preteen via Waves for Water. “Especially since we go surfing in brilliant waves every day and we can see how poor other countries are in these awesome spots that we surf.”
So he did what any kid would do (well, actually, very few kids) and started a fundraiser called “Wear Boardies to School Day.” Kids wore boardshorts and donated money to the tune of $700, which enabled Winter to purchase water filters. Then, on a recent trip to Indo, he delivered them to the locals and demonstrated how they work.
“I think the Waves For Water program resonates with the younger generation for a couple reasons. One, it’s all about empowerment, a true DIY mindset ... and with the explosion of social media, the ‘selfie’ generation, etc., it makes most sense that they’d gravitate towards something that they can craft into their own story. Two, at the end of the day, I think the main reason is because the entire philosophy and model is based on doing what you love first and helping along the way second,” says Rose.
“This is different from most social-service programs out there. Everyone can get into something that is encouraging them to follow their dreams and passions, and then just learning how to plug some purpose into it, rather than the old model of dropping everything you do to go join the Peace Corps. Winter is a perfect example of our philosophy in action: He’s a ripping surfer with a lot of promise in that world [who] also helps people along his path to success. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
Winter hasn’t stopped with his first initiative, either.
“I’ve been working on getting other kids to host ‘Surf to School Days’ to raise more money for water filters for our next mission to the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia,” he shares. “I have been visiting some of them to demonstrate how the Waves for Water filter works. So far, 18 schools have gotten on board, which is super cool.”
Not super cool. Beyond cool.
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