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Specially Designed Education Services | Shaka Soul Surfers: Harnessing the Power of Surfing for Inclusivity and Unity

Shaka Soul Surfers: Harnessing the Power of Surfing for Inclusivity and Unity

Specially Designed Education Services (SDES) is passionate about connecting functional skills to the community. We love to see social skills and independent living taken to the community and generalized to real life experiences. Making those real world connections continues to be at the heart of who SDES is and our mission toward inclusivity and functional life activities for all people living with disability. 

When it comes to creating inclusive spaces and fostering unity, we recently learned more about one organization that stands out for its commitment to spreading joy, acceptance, and kindness to individuals with disabilities and their families. Shaka Soul Surfers, led by the inspiring Estefania Holt, is a nonprofit organization that has transformed many lives through the power of surfing. Estefania’s journey from special education teacher to founder of Shaka Soul Surfers showcases the profound impact of compassion and community on building a more inclusive society.

The Power of Inclusivity in Recreation

At the core of Shaka Soul Surfers is a simple yet powerful belief: everyone, regardless of their abilities, deserves the chance to experience the joy of recreation. Through surfing, Estefania not only provides a fun and engaging activity but also fosters connection among individuals with disabilities, their families, and community members.

🏄‍♀️ Key Highlights 🏄‍♂️

  • Surfing as a tool for inclusivity and unity
  • Breaking down barriers through shared experiences
  • Bringing families and communities together through recreation

The Power of Play in Communication

Research supports the notion that play is a powerful medium for communication, particularly for individuals with disabilities. Engaging in recreational activities like surfing enhances not only physical health and coordination but also improves social skills and overall well-being.

⭐️ Benefits of Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities ⭐️

  • Enhanced communication and social skills
  • Improved physical health and coordination
  • Boosted self-confidence and self-expression

Creating Shared Experiences for the Whole Family

A standout aspect of Shaka Soul Surfers is its emphasis on including the entire family in the surfing experience. By welcoming parents and siblings to participate in sessions, Estefania cultivates a space where families can bond, share moments, and support one another. This sense of togetherness fosters a strong support system for individuals with disabilities. Here are some of our key takeaways from the discussion recently on the FAST 15 podcast to illuminate the importance of recreation: 

👪 Family Bonding in Recreation 👪

  • Strengthening family relationships through shared activities
  • Fostering understanding and empathy among family members
  • Promoting a supportive and inclusive environment for all

The Impact of Shaka Soul Surfers on the Community

Estefania Holt’s passion and dedication have not only transformed the lives of those directly involved in Shaka Soul Surfers but have also made a significant impact on the broader community. By promoting acceptance, kindness, and inclusivity, Estefania inspires others to embrace diversity and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to flourish.

🌟 Empowering the Community Through Inclusivity 🌟

  • Inspiring compassion and unity through shared experiences
  • Encouraging community members to support individuals with disabilities
  • Creating a more inclusive and welcoming society for all

Embracing Unity and Inclusivity Through Recreation

In a world where differences are often perceived as obstacles, organizations like Shaka Soul Surfers remind us of the transformative power of unity, compassion, and shared experiences. Estefania Holt’s efforts demonstrate that through the simple act of surfing, families, communities, and individuals can come together, fostering a sense of inclusion and acceptance.

As we strive to build a more inclusive society, let us learn from Shaka Soul Surfers’ example: recreation can serve as a powerful catalyst for unity, communication, and mutual understanding. By joining hands, playing together, and supporting one another, we can create a world where everyone is valued, accepted, and celebrated for who they are.  

For those interested in learning more about the inspiring work of Estefania Holt and her journey with Shaka Soul Surfers, be sure to listen to my (Barb Beck) conversation with Estefania on the latest episode of the FAST 15 podcast. Our discussion delves into the impact of surfing on individuals with developmental disabilities, the importance of family involvement, and Estefania’s vision for a more inclusive community. You can find the episode at SDES – Podcast. Tune in for an enlightening conversation that will leave you inspired and motivated to embrace inclusivity and unity in all aspects of life.

Stay Upright and Hang Loose 🤙, Champions!

Barb Beck

Creative Content Director, SDES

©2024 Specially Designed Education Services


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SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

Virtual Teaching Materials Pricing 1st year: $1000 non-recurring configuration fee plus 12 x monthly charge.

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Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.

Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
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Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Per Month
Per Year*
Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.