Hi, my name is Angela Maki Vernon. I am one of the founders of Ocean’s Love, a surf school for intellectually challenged children. I would like to share my story about how we started Ocean’s Love.
Being a professional surfer, I had always felt the love and healing energy from the ocean. I have learned to respect, appreciate and love Mother Nature through surfing. I also happen to have a disabled brother, and as I grew up together with him in Japan, I had realized that there is a lack of compassion and awareness for the disabled in the community. So since then, I've always wanted to do something that would make a difference for those in need of support.
A year before starting Ocean's Love, I came across a surf school for autistic children and decided to volunteer – and that experience changed my life forever. As a volunteer it was my job to take the children onto the surfboards. At first they seemed very shy and scared, but when they caught a wave, their face brightened up instantly! I heard them shout, "One more wave! One more wave!". When I saw how quickly surfing could make them happy, and how the healing powers of the ocean could make these kids smile so brightly, I thought to myself- this is what I need to be doing in Japan! The positive energy of the ocean in my heart is what makes me the person I am today. It is a wonderful feeling you experience in the ocean, and started to think how it would be nice to share this energy with many more people. This is what motivated me to start Ocean's Love, to create an opportunity to share the ALOHA from the ocean with special children.
Because of the lack of awareness toward the challenged in Japan, those children do not have proper care cannot go to the beach sometimes. There are many challenged children who have never seen or heard of surfing. Surfing schools for disabled children were never around before I founded Ocean's Love, so it was very difficult to have people understand why we thought it to open up our school first. But thanks to our many supporters and participants, Ocean’s Love was founded. It is bringing more awareness and understanding to our society as it puts a smile on the children's faces. And we are happy that the school is continuing to grow, serving more and more children in different areas of Japan.
I’ve learned many things from these children such as: the most important thing in life is to appreciate what you have, love all, simply enjoy the moment and be open-minded. It has been a grateful experience for me.
The first kids that started coming to our school, have grown up to be young adults after a decade, and we’ve learned recently that they now face new challenges, one of them being finding a place to work. This is exactly what my brother went through last year, going through so many interviews and just getting rejected left and right. These kids sometimes do not even get a chance to try it out. This reality sadden my heart deeply, and made us to move forward! Ocean's Love's next step is to help to create jobs for the challenged!
We invite you to support Ocean's Love and our vision, to bring the joy of surfing and an opportunity to experience of healing energy from the ocean to one more child with intellectual challenges.
Ocean’s Love is a surf school for children with mental and physical disabilities. This non-profit school was started in 2005 by model and professional surfer Angela Maki Vernon. The school's mission is to provide these children with the amazing experience of being in the healing ocean and learning to surf, while bringing happiness into their lives. Ocean’s Love provides the perfect environment for people to communicate and play with children who are disabled, in an effort to understand them more. The first school was started in Chigasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture only once a year, but now there are many more Ocean’s Love surfing schools happening every year all across Japan. Ocean’s Love became a non-profit organization in 2012 in hopes of spreading this awareness all over Japan. The organization is filled with love and the smiles of everyone involved, including the children, parents, volunteers and sponsors. We truly appreciate your support, for you all help to put smiles on these children's faces!
Please support our charity today
You can choose to make a difference by making a donation. Donations enable us to do so much more to help the challenged kids live a happier life.
Bank of Hawaii Specified Non-Profit Corporation Ocean's Love
Account # 0095269966
Routing # 121301028
please make out your donation to
”Specified Non-Profit Corporation Ocean's Love”.P.O. Box 11854 Honolulu Hawaii, 96828