Above The Wake is a non-profit organization that introduces Autistic children, teenagers, and adults to a safe and interactive environment where they can participate in water-sport activities. Above The Wake invites families affected by Autism to the charitable events that provide coaching and encouragement for paddleboarding along with numerous boating activities such as being towed on a tube and riding ZUP Boards. Above The Wake's mission is, "To create positive experiences on the water for children with Autism and cognitive delays, break down stigmas, and unleash potential for greatness through individual, teachable moments".
Tom Hart, CEO of Above The Wake, founded the non-profit to create awareness about Autism and the associated struggles with the disease. One of the major difficulties that face families affected by Autism is garnering support from local communities to help encourage healthy activities with with Autistic public. Initially, Tom purchased paddleboard's in his hometown in Michigan where he hosted the first Above The Wake event. He also used his own personal boat to teach lessons on the ZUP Board. The event success provided foundation for his organization to continue developing events for years to come.
This year, Tom and his Above the Wake crew, partnered with Ski World Orlando to host fifteen families on Lake Ivanhoe overlooking beautiful downtown Orlando. The University of Florida Gator Wakeboard Team came from Gainesville as support staff for the event by give the kids paddleboard lessons as well as rides on two jetskis. Ski World Orlando sponsored the event with paddleboard's and a Mastercraft boat to help Tom teach ZUP Board lessons and even take a few adventurous kids on a fun tube ride.
The smiles that day from the children, parent's, and supporters were simply priceless. The Orlando local's also came out to support the event cheering on each child as they passed the dock. The Above The Wake event concluded with raffle prizes donated from various supporters including autographed pro rider boards.
Above The Wake and Ski World Orlando will be hosting another event in April 2016, and would love for you to help! If you have interest in helping make next year's Above The Wake Autism Event even bigger, jump over to our contact page and send us a message on how you will like to help, or even questions on how to donate. Hopefully, you will be in pictures from the next event alongside these wonderful kids.
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The Ski World Orlando Staff
A day with Above The Wake will make you wanting more.