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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2019 1 year ago

Fun Run hosted by surfing outreach youth organization aims to prevent drowning

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by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Local organization Urban Surf 4 Kids is partnering with Sunshine Health for its first-annual First Responders Fun Run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, at the Daytona Beach Bandshell. 

This outreach program works with orphan youth and foster kids, and uses water sports to teach kids how to have fun, as well as give back to their communities

Children surf with Urban Surfing 4 Kids. Photo courtesy of Riverlilly photography

and neighborhoods through service projects. The upcoming Fun Run aims to help prevent drowning, and Urban Surf 4 Kids is collecting up to 10,000 signatures for the #EveryFosterYouthSwims petition to enact a law that every child in foster care or who is considered at-risk would be required to learn how to swim, according to a press release. The organization is also hoping to raise $42,000 to provide swim lessons and water therapy programs for every foster youth in the county.

The organization was started by DeBora and Wesley Stewart while on vacation.

“We definitely want to stay and impact the community;” said DeBora Stewart in a press release. “Consistency and longevity is the very core of what we do and strive to do.”

Hunter and Rozeanna Dienst. Photo courtesy of Riverlilly photography

Through Wesley Stewart's enthusiasm for paddle boarding, surfing and love of water, and DeBora Stewart's experience of being a former administrator for Hospice, the Florida chapter of Urban Surf 4 Kids was born. The first chapter was started in San Diego. 

Two of the children taking part in the event are 13-year-old Rozeanna and 10-year-old Hunter Wolfe Dienst, of Ormond Beach. They are active participators of Urban Surf 4 Kids events, and are children coming from a single parent home, which the organization also benefits. 

“I have no fear of the water,” said Hunter Dienst in a press release. “It's fun. I feel confident, like I can do anything. I love [Wesley Stewart]. He's almost like a real dad to me. I trust him. I hope he never goes away from me.”

Register for the event at

Halifax Health offering swimming lesson scholarships

Children ages 1-16 are eligible for a swimming lesson scholarship, offered by Halifax Health-Healthy Communities and Safe Kids Volusia-Flagler.

The scholarships are made possible through funding from Halifax Health-Foundation, Volusia County, Halifax Health-Employee Community Service Fund and community contributions. A limited number of scholarships are available, and financial assistance is based on household size and gross monthly income, according to a press release. Only one scholarship will be provided per child per calendar year. 

The application requires a $5 registration fe, and is pauable by cash only when application is submitted. Scholarships are not intended for advanced swimmers or those involved in an area swim team.

Applications are available online or at the following locations:

  • City of Daytona Beach Leisure Services, 301 S. Ridgewood Ave.
  • Daytona State College, building 310, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.
  • DeLand Family YMCA, 761 E. International Speedway Blvd.
  • Four Townes Family YMCA, 280 Wolf Pack Run
  • Holly Hill Family YMCA, 1046 Daytona Ave.
  • Ormond Beach Family YMCA, 500 Sterthaus Drive
  • Port Orange Family YMCA, 4701 City Center Parkway
  • Southeast Volusia Family YMCA, 148 W. Turgot Ave.


Thousands raised for childhood hunger

More than $40,000 were raised at VCan2020's A Night to Imagine to help end childhood hunger and homelessness in Volusia County by 2020. 

Hard Rock Hotel General Manager Androse Bell, Food Brings Hope Founder and Chair Forough B. Hosseini, and Nina Hosseini of the Volusia Young Professionals Group. Courtesy photo

Over 250 supporters attended the event at the Hard Rock Daytona on May 16. The event was created in partnership with the Volusia Young Professionals Group, Hard Rock Daytona, and was presented by Holub Development, according to a press release. Champion Elementary and Turie T. Elementary students created art for the event's silent auction, and the rest of the money was raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and a raffle. 


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