Pastor Mark Reynolds and Dan Colburn became friends the summer of 2016 and started meeting for breakfast on Thursday mornings at The Surfinista Cafe in Cocoa Beach, FL. They talked mostly about surfing and spirituality. Dan wanted to plan a surf trip to El Salvador and said, "Why don't we do something to help the people in Mizata while we are there surfing their waves." Mark agreed, and they began to plan a humanitarian project around the surf trip with the help of Renato Salazar, the National Director of Christian Surfers El Salvador.
Renato asked them to collect dental hygiene items, vitamins, and early learning books in Spanish to be distributed to impoverished children in Mizata. Dan and Mark, along with the other five surfers who joined them, made various appeals to businesses, organizations, and individuals, mostly in the Cocoa Beach area. They were stunned by the outpouring of generosity. In addition to collecting two large suitcases of requested items, they also provided clothing and a used surfboard donated by Stu Sharpe (Sharpe Surf). Cash donations were used to throw a community party for the kids and their families, playing games, watching a movie, and eating a pupusa lunch with ice cream. This event was held on March 26, 2017. Leftover funds were used by Renato to host two others events for the kids of El Salvador.
After seeing the needs of the children firsthand, Dan and Mark felt led to do another trip and expand the work in terms of scope and number of projects. Since this would depend upon generous donors, they decided to apply for 501c3 status to allow for tax-exempt charitable contributions. Paperwork began around a dining room table on July 6, 2017, and in the process they secured a website, email address, phone number, Instagram and Facebook page.
The surfers on that first trip agreed to contribute money and serve on the Board of Directors:
Pastor Mark Reynolds (Co-Founder)
Daniel Colburn (Co-Founder)
Ben Malik (Mayor of Cocoa Beach)
We received our 501(c)(3) status on July 18, 2017.
We hope that you will join us as we write the rest of our story!
Grace and Peace,