Small surf town reaches out to special needs kids

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  • Special Needs Teacher Shares Lessons Learned on TEDx Talks
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
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    WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. – Jack Viorel’s teaching career began 25 years ago in a classroom with medically-fragile, special needs, and at-risk kids. “That first year was a big wipeout … I had to find a way to make it work,” said Viorel, sharing his story with TEDx Talks at the University of Tennessee in March.
     
    Nine years ago, with more experience and brimming with new ideas, Viorel moved his family to Wilmington, North Carolina and opened his own uncommon school.
     
    “To succeed in teaching,” maintains Viorel, “there are three fundamentals: inclusion, self-esteem, and a vehicle to open a child’s mind.” In Viorel’s case, he and his staff use surfing as a means to reach children and open their minds.
     
    “Surfing is our vehicle,” Viorel said. “It is not our goal. For the autistic child our goal might be to improve communication skills; for the child with cerebral palsy it could be mobility; for the child that’s blind our goal might be to shed limiting beliefs; for the orphan girl in India, it could be about building self-worth.”
     
    “We decided to include anyone, everyone, especially those most excluded,” said Viorel. “We are never going to tell anyone we cannot help them.”
     
    Thousands of students and many success stories later, Viorel’s techniques have gained acclaim and support. Services were expanded to include wounded soldiers to help with their physical and mental adjustment to life after injury.
     
    In 2015, IndoJax Surf Charities will serve a record number of people in the U.S. and India thanks to grants and support from United Health Care, the Helen Keller Foundation, AlertTile, First Bank, Eco Media, Trot Nixon Family, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, and many other organizations and individuals. Programs are provided at no charge to participants.
     
    “We want to leave the world a better place,” said Keller Johnson-Thompson, Vice President of the Helen Keller Foundation, announcing a three-year grant for vision and hearing-impaired children in 2014. 
     
    “We are pleased to support these inventive programs which bring joy, self-esteem, and confidence to children and wounded soldiers,” said Mary Baggett, co-owner of Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a long-time supporter of charitable surf camps at Wrightsville Beach.
     
  • Derek Rabelo of Brazil
  • July 13-17, Brazilian surfer Derek Rabelo, born completely blind at birth, will assist teachers and students at the 2015 Visually Impaired Surf Camp in Wrightsville Beach. Beyond Sight, the story about Rabelo’s dream to surf Pipeline will be presented Thursday evening, July 16, at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
     
    Rabelo, a professional surfer sponsored by Billabong, travels the world surfing in a non-competitive role. “Now 22, Rabelo has surfed four seasons in Hawaii where he has won the admiration of world champions Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning,” wrote Richard Noone of Australia’s The Daily Telegraph.
     
    “I love making a difference in a child’s life. I love helping a child to be successful, and I really love helping the underdog,” adds Viorel.
     
     
     
     
    Surf Camp Calendar
    Apr 13-26  Homes of Hope Orphanage, India
    Apr 18  Wounded Warriors
    May 26-29  Boys and Girls Clubs, Wilmington and Wrightsville
    Jun 22-25  Children from Belarus
    (Helen Keller Month-July)
    Jul 13-17  Visually Impaired Surf Camp
    Jul 27-30  Hearing Impaired Surf Camp
    Aug 3-6  Boys and Girls Home of Waccamaw
    (Autism Week)
    Aug 17-18  Surfers Healing
    Aug 19-21  Autism Surf Camp
    Aug 22  Cystic Fibrosis, Mauli Ola Foundation
    Sep 12  Wounded Warriors
    Oct 3  Reunion Surf Day
     
    Contact:
     
    Jack Viorel, Director
    IndoJax Surf Charities
    Jack@IndoJaxSurfSchool.com
    910-274-3565
      
    Robert B Butler | PR
  • Helen Keller Foundation to Support North Carolina Surf Camps
  • Courtesy of Jack Viorel
  • Wrightsville Beach, NC – “We want to leave the world a better place,” said Keller Johnson-Thompson, announcing a three-year program supporting North Carolina surf camps for visual and hearing impaired children.
     
    Johnson-Thompson is great-grand niece of Helen Keller, and serves as Vice President of the Helen Keller Foundation in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
     
    Helen Keller, both deaf and blind due to infant illness, left an inspirational legacy of achievement against insurmountable odds. Keller’s advocacy to “see the possibilities” continues today through the Helen Keller Foundation. 
  • Courtesy of Jack Viorel
  • “Water is magical,” said Jack Viorel, President of North Carolina’s Indo Jax Surf Charities. “As water opened doors for Helen Keller, surf camps tap inner-joy and self-confidence, removing barriers for the future.” Keller Johnson-Thompson agreed, saying, “We know surf camp will open doors and opportunities for these kids.” 
  • Courtesy of Jack Viorel
  • Alex Munroe, committed supporter of the Helen Keller Foundation said, “Surf Camp will provide a gateway for the children to jump into the water and follow Helen Keller’s example of taking risks.” Munroe’s company, Alert Tile, manufactures warning systems used around the world at crosswalks and on walkways. Alert Tile donates a portion of all sales to the Keller Foundation.
  • Courtesy of Jack Viorel
  • Indo Jax Surf Charities will conduct the Keller-backed visual and hearing impaired surf camps in July. The North Carolina camps are open to children regardless of state or nationality.
  • Courtesy of Jack Viorel
  • Wrightsville Beach and surrounding communities have a long history of reaching out to special needs kids and adults. Life Rolls On, for people with spinal injuries; Surfers Healing for children with autism; Wounded Warriors surf camps; Juvenile Diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis camps; all designed to help people realize possibilities and move forward in life.
  • Special Diet and Lodging
     
    For special menu and lodging needs contact Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a long-time supporter of charitable surf camps.  Call 910.256.2251 or visit www.blockade-runner.com
  • 2014 Surf Camp Calendar
     
    Indo Jax Surf Charities
     
    May 27-29                    Boys and Girls Clubs of Wilmington
    June 17-19                    Juvenile Diabetes
    June 23-26                    Children of Belarus
    July                              Helen Keller Foundation Month
    July 14-18                    Visually Impaired Surf Camp
    July 28-31                    Hearing Impaired Surf Camp
    Aug 11-14                    Boys and Girls Home of Waccamaw
    Aug 18                         Surfers Healing
    Aug 19-21                    Austism Surf Camp
    Sept 13                        Wounded Warriors Camp
     
    Life Rolls On
     
    June 21                        Life Rolls On
     
    Contact Information:
     
    Jack Viorel
    Indo Jax Surf Charities
    P. 910.274.3565
    E. Jack@IndoJaxSurfSchool.com
     
    Life Rolls On
    P. 424.272.1992
     
    John Pike
    Surfers Healing
    Wrightsville Beach
    P. 910.791.8240
    E. John@EasternSkateSupply.com
     
    Brittany Burdine
    Blockade Runner Beach Resort
    P. 910.256.2251
    E. Brittany.Burdine@blockade-runner.com
  • Surfers Healing / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Julian Kehaya
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • Surfers Healing / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Julian Kehaya
  • Surfers Healing / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Julian Kehaya
  • Surfers Healing / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Julian Kehaya
  • Surfers Healing / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Julian Kehaya
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • IndoJax Visually Impaired Camp / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • IndoJax Visually Impaired Camp / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • 2013
     
    Wrightsville Beach, NC ­- Named as one of the World’s 20 Best Surf Towns by National Geographic, Wrightsville Beach is a small surf town of 2,000 with a big heart for special needs kids and adults.
     
    Surf Camp Calendar May – Sept. 2013
     
    May 18: Jesse Billauer/Life Rolls On/They Will Surf Again
     
    IndoJax Surf Charities
    May 28-30:  Boys and Girls Club
    June 15: Burmese Refugees Surf Camp
    June 24-27: Children from Belarus
    July 8-11: Juvenile Diabetes
    July 15-19: Visually Impaired
    Aug 5-8: Clara Eppes Memorial Surf Camp for the Hearing Impaired
    Aug. 20-22: Autism
    Aug. (call for dates): Cystic Fibrosis
    Sept. (call for dates): Surf/Horse Camp with the Horse Boy Foundation
     
    Surfers Healing
    Aug. 19: Autism – Izzy Paskowitz/Surfers Healing
     
    Special diet and lodging

    For special menu and accommodation needs, contact Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a long-time supporter of charitable surf camps at Wrightsville Beach. Jason St. Clair at (910) 256-2251 or visit www.blockade-runner.com
     
    Registration contacts
     
    Indo Jax Surf Charities                                 
    Jack Viorel (910) 274-3565
     
    Life Rolls On
    Phone: (424) 272-1992
     
    Surfers Healing, Wrightsville Beach
    John Pike (910) 791-8240

    Blockade Runner Beach Resort
    Jason St. Clair (910) 256-2251
    www.blockade-runner.com
  • Life Rolls On / Surfers Healing / Surf Camp Photos
  • Jesse Billauer, founder of Life Rolls On, flanked by supporters Kelly Slater and Rob Machado
    Photo by Emily Goodman at Night by the Ocean for Life Rolls On, Marina Del Ray, CA
  • On the verge of becoming a professional surfer, Jesse Billauer was surfing in California when he was pushed headfirst into the shallow sandbar, fracturing his neck. Billauer sustained a C-6 complete spinal cord injury, which resulted in quadriplegia. He lost the ability to walk and had limited mobility of his arms and hands. Jesse left the hospital and knew two things: he had to surf again and help others be inspired to follow their passions.
     
    As founder of Life Rolls On Foundation, Jesse explains that "LRO is an avenue to hope, independence, freedom, happiness, inspiration, and teamwork," he explains. "It is about bringing people together and changing lives one day, one program, and one person at the time. Each of LRO's programs offers the opportunity for the physically disabled to open their minds, help them forget about their challenges and be thankful for the opportunity to still be alive."
     
    Life Rolls On into Wrightsville Beach, NC, May 18.
    Meet Jesse Billauer with professional surfers Cory Lopez and Garrett McNamara.
     
    See and feel the joy in the LRO photos from Emily Goodman, Malibu Beach, CA!
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Photography by Emily Goodman
  • Jesse Billauer, founder of Life Rolls On Photography by Emily Goodman
  • IndoJax Visually Impaired Camp / Wrightsville Beach / Photography by Richard Perry
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • IndoJax Surf Charities / Homes of Hope India / Photography by Matt Born
  • Aerial Tour of Wrightsville Beach
  • All aerial photos courtesy of Lemonstripe / Blockade Runner / NCPressRelease.com
  • Blockade Runner Beach Resort
    For special menu and lodging needs contact the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a long-time supporter of charitable surf camps at Wrightsville Beach.
    Take a tour -
  • Robert B Butler | PR | www.NCPressRelease.org