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National City non-profits to host free surf camp for underprivileged kids on Saturday

National City natives give back
Free surf camp for national city and south bay kids.png
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 20:05:58-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV)-- Several local non-profit organizations are coming together to host a free surf camp this Saturday for underprivileged South Bay children.

National City native Chris Osuna believes that kids in his hometown can become anything. They just need to be introduced to it.

"We are stepping up, and we want to get kids active and motivated to be involved in something else other than the negative influences in the community," Osuna said.

He started "The JARO Project" in honor of his brother Jorge, who was killed in a road rage incident in 2014. JARO is Jorge's initials.

"We wanted to start something that he was passionate about, which is sports and helping kids in his community," Osuna said.

After several toy drives and free sports classes for youth in National City, he was looking to create a new event: a surf camp. That is when he connected with Jonathan Galendez.

"He was like, 'Yo, I heard you're doing this.' And then and I'm like, 'Yo, I am!" Galendez said.

The two graduated together from Sweetwater High School in 2006. They went their separate ways but found themselves back in National City.

Galendez said he grew up in a rough part of National City but found peace when he discovered surfing.

"I grew up fighting. National City, Lincoln Park, Skyline, all that," Galendez said. "And the only way we knew how to express ourselves was through violence. But in eighth grade, I learned about surfing by reading a book."

In 2020, Galendez was just launching his own non-profit, "For the Neighborhood," to give free surf lessons for inner-city kids.

"Happiness shouldn't be reserved to those who are privileged," Galendez said.

Osuna and Galendez teamed up for their first event earlier this year, providing boards, lessons, and food.

"The[se kids] live in San Diego, right? National City. But they've never touched the ocean before until our events," Galendez said. "I thought that was so touching and so heartbreaking at the same time."

So they planned another event for this Saturday morning. Kids will also get a chance to participate in a beach clean-up, and go home with goodies, thanks to another friend's non-profit, "Spring Valley Clean-Up" Crew.

"That's why we're here to offer school supplies and help even out the playing field," Victoria Abrenica, founder of Spring Valley Clean-Up, said.

The three friends hope this event helps evens out the playing field for opportunities and fun.

"There is no limitation as to who you can become. It'll be harder for you. But that doesn't mean you still can't win," Galendez said.

This Saturday's free surf camp will be at Tourmaline Park from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. All are welcome. Volunteers are asked to bring extra foam boards.