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Adaptive Surfboard Decorated by Students with Disabilities Donated to MossRehab

May 24 2022

A surfboard with student handprints on it.

On Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 am, representatives from MossRehab will once again meet with students from Carusi Middle School (Cherry Hill, NJ) at the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame (120 W Main St, Tuckerton, NJ)  to thank them for a custom, one-of-a-kind surfboard designed by Carusi science teacher and surfboard shaper Luke Alvarez that features inspirational artwork created by students with disabilities at Carusi. The surfboard will be used Sunday, August 7 at this year's They Will Surf Again, a free, one-day event in Wildwood, N.J. that gets persons with disabilities into the ocean and riding waves with the help of volunteers. (They Will Surf Again had been canceled the last two years due to COVID-19.) This year's artwork features cut-outs of the students' hands with words that come to mind when they were told about They Will Surf Again, including KINDNESS, LOVE, HAPPINESS and TRUST.

Also attending the surfboard presentation will be members of the Wildwood Beach Patrol who will thank Mr. Alvarez and the students for their ​commitment to making the beach--and the waves--more accessible. (The Wildwood Beach Patrol is committed to making Wildwood's beaches the most accessible in New Jersey and have had lifeguards and staff attend MossRehab's Disability Etiquette Training annually.)

This is the 6th surfboard Mr. Alvarez has designed and donated to MossRehab, the presenting sponsor of They Will Surf Again-- the flagship event of the Life Rolls On organization.  (Along with its sponsorship, Moss has sent over 500 volunteers and countless former patients to They Will surf Again since 2012.)

When shaping the boards, Mr. Alvarez, whose company is named Generic Brand Surfboards, works with input from MossRehab therapists and surfers who have participated in They Will Surf Again events in the past. The result are boards with larger proportions, making them extremely stable and capable of carrying the weight of two riders (a surfer and volunteer) when necessary. The deck of the board also features a thick pad for comfort and grip and attachment points for adjustable hand straps. 

"After a 2-year hiatus, MossRehab is excited about about getting back into the water with our surfers," said MossRehab Chief Operating Officer Thomas Smith. "Over the years, it has been exciting to see this event grow with community support such as that provided by Luke Alvarez and the students of Carusi Middle School.  This year's board, carrying the joyful artwork of the Carusi students, will add even more excitement and inspiration. On behalf of everyone who will use this surfboard this year, and in many years to come, thank you Luke and the talented, generous students of Carusi." 

“I excited to get back with MossRehab after a 2- year pandemic delay to shape another adaptive surfboard to be used by persons with disabilities,” said Alvarez. “This relationship has allowed me to involve students at Carusi to help create things that help other people in a tangible way. Plus, going to Wildwood for the event is amazing!”

“This community partnership affirms the commitment we have made as a school and a district to connect beyond our classrooms, while focusing on student wellness," said Dr. Neil Burti, Principal of Carusi Middle School. "It also underscores our efforts around accessibility, exceptionality, and equity. Mr. Alvarez is a dedicated practitioner who continues to find ways to support our vison, while making a tremendous impact on the lives of children. His commitment to students, passion for surfing, and understanding of the larger role a school can have, are all exemplified through this effort.”

They Will Surf Again will be held Sunday, August 7 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the beach at Baker Avenue (behind the Convention Center). Registration to volunteer or participate begins June 20.  Learn more, or register, at LifeRollsOn.org/NewJersey.

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