My friend Maui Goodbeer’s younger brother was murdered by a gang member in San Diego in 2003. Melvyn was not in a gang, just caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been you or me and two lives were lost that day – Melvyn’s and the young man who pulled the trigger.
In the despair following his brother’s murder, Maui looked for a way to have this loss count for something, that his brother’s death would not have been in vain. Maui decided he would help youth in need.
Maui a professional surfer, a “soul surfer,” as he calls himself, reflected on the goodness of surfing and of interacting with the majesty of the ocean. He wondered if the lives of at-risk youth could change if he could get them into the waves, much as the sea had bettered his own life.
And so STREETWAVES was born. The heroic comes alive when despair yields to beauty and goodness, no? Maui knew the ocean was a special arena for kids to express themselves and for personal growth. And more. Paddling into a wave, come of it what may, takes moxie and steadfastness, metaphors for succeeding in life. All of this besides being fun, and engendering feelings of friendship, love and respect with fellow surfers.
Hundreds of kids later and hundreds of lives transformed have proven Maui more than right. And who of us has not found magic in the ocean?
Maui is currently based in Delray Beach, Florida — having relocated from his Miami, Florida base — but his efforts extend far beyond South Florida. To learn more about Streetwaves, a 2019 Impact 100 Grant recipient, please visit the organization’s homepage at https://www.streetwaves.org
I can personally vouch for Maui’s goodwill, character and beautiful energy and encourage everyone to help him help the kids, anyway you can.