Every year Wilmington’s waves draw a wide ranging crowd to the coast. The relaxed vibes of sun-soaking bodies mixed with the rhythmic crashing of the tides prove sensorial bliss. For most the local beaches serve as a get-away from the stresses of life; however, for persons coping with autism, the ocean’s movement can be therapeutic.
This Saturday will yield the inaugural Rock for Autism Battle of the Bands concert at Courts and Sports. Monies raised will benefit Indo Jax Surf Charities and Surfers Healing. Indo Jax, headed by Jack Viorel, utilizes surfing to foster growth among disadvantaged individuals, while Surfers Healing, founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz, hosts camps all over the country throughout the summer. One will be held in Wrightsville Beach on August 18th in conglomeration with Indo Jax. Last year their services aided about 4,500 youths with autism.
Forever Original, a media and public relations firm in New York City, will help put on the event, which they anticipate will welcome around 1,000 people. The company, comprising UNCW graduates Nadya Nataly and Mohammad Saleh, found the surf charities a perfect way to give back to their college-town community.
HomeCare Management Corporation’s Wilmington chapter, a local outlet that provides intensive programs for people living with disabilities, will be in attendance, too. Saleh’s older sister used to work for the organization, which essentially aided his interest within the autistic community. “I have always seen the hardships they deal with and the great joys they bring to themselves and people around them,” Saleh describes.
Seven years ago the cause hit closer to home when one of Selah’s friends had twins. Early on the couple realized both children suffered from a developmental disorder that turned out to be autism.
“It was very hard on them,” Saleh says, “but, through the help of family, friends and autism field specialists, they were able to find ways to cope and communicate with their children.”
Surfers Healing and Indo Jax Surf can help ameliorate an autistic child’s development. Many affected by the condition are sensory seekers. Noises, textures and almost any stimulus that are mute points for most become intensified. The soothing nature of the water often generates pleasure and lessens the agitation whicn can come with austic reactions.
“Just being on the beach is relaxing but the act of riding a wave is being one with the motion of the ocean, and [it’s] incredibly gratifying on a sensory and spiritual level,” John Pike, Surfers Healing’s local coordinator, tells.
In a closed-minded world, those plagued by developmental disorders are often held back because of perceived inabilities. Allowing kids to engage in an activity like surfing boosts self-esteem. It generates adventure and permits a mode of physical activity. Teaching balance, coordination, trial-and-error, and surrendering to natural agents, surfing, particularly, comes laden in skill sets that go beyond riding the waves.
Rock for Autism will feature music by bands Bad News Beers, Bare Noble, Chip Gideons, Fresh Batch, The Highlands, The Midatlantic, Waking Tera, and Young Cardinals. Several even reached out to Forever Original through online registration. All of the bands are donating their time and talent for the cause.
98.7 FM Modern Rock will be broadcasting live from the concert with Local Lounge host Vaughn. DJ Fuzz Jackson will emcee the festivities. Patrons can enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities such as dodgeball, volleyball, corn hole, and face painting. There will be loads of giveways, too.
Attendees must donate a minimum of $5. For those who feel compelled, the donation levels span up to $25.
“The donation chart was designed to show everyone they can donate on any level they want; every little bit helps,” Nataly states. “This event has the potential to attract people from all age ranges. We’re so anxious to see the turn-out and to rock out with all of the bands.”