Sandy Feet Initiative

MISSION VIEJO, CA   |  http://www.sandyfeetoc.org

Mission

Sandy Feet Initiative is a volunteer based organization where the siblings of children with special needs receive recognition and support through beach based programs.

Ruling year info

2017

Executive Director

Mo Langley

Main address

27525 PUERTA REAL 285

MISSION VIEJO, CA 92691 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-2162075

NTEE code info

Youth Community Service Clubs (O51)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Swimming, Water Recreation (N67)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Sandy Feet Initiative is a volunteer based organization, set up directly address the problems faced by the brothers and sisters of children with special needs. Founder, Mo Langley, experienced Program Manager, noticed that these siblings would sit on the sidelines while their brothers and sisters enjoyed activities at the beach. There were no programs offering support specifically for their unique situation which sees them: --Taking care of their sibling --Worrying about their sibling’s health --Coming second to their sibling’s needs --Exposed to their parents’ anxiety and stress --Spending little or no time 1:1 with their parents

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sandy Feet Initiative Sibcamps

We provide weeklong and after school beach camps which provide a safe place for siblings to learn, have fun and meet other kids who also know what it is like to have a sibling with special needs. The safe and instructional beach events include yoga, water play such as surfing and boogie boarding, beach clean-up and open discussion about their shared experiences!

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with disabilities

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Sandy Feet Initiative programs aim to support the siblings of children with special needs, helping them to develop coping mechanisms at an early age preventing problems later in life. We are creating a community of support for this very special population, a safe place where they know the other members understand them.
The children tell us that the shared commonality of being a sibling of a child with special needs has created a strong bond with the other children and Sandy Feet gives them a safe place to be themselves! For example, one of our activities is identifying our super powers...where the kids open up and show all of us what makes them special! This usually turns into a dance contest or singing contest and is a favorite activity all around.
By teaching the kids ocean safety and instructing them in boogie boarding and surfing, we are giving them the gift of the ocean, which has proven to be very therapeutic! One of my favorite things to tell my stressed out teenagers is to "Go soak your head!" They come back to the group fresh and focussed with big smiles on their faces. Often, instead of having open discussion time, we just go play in the waves for 15 to 20 minutes.
Through our group discussion time with the kids, we aim to empower and recognize them for all they do and all they achieve. We let them know we see who and what they are and encourage them to take care of themselves. We often discuss topics regarding communicating with their parents about what it is THEY NEED, since it is often put on the back burner. When we ask the siblings to write down a anonymous question for their parents, we often see that they want more 1:1 time or they are afraid that they will "catch" their siblings' disability. we, in turn, communicate these questions to the parents, again anonymously. We hope to facilitate open discussion within the families as well.
Our goal is multifaceted, we support and empower the siblings, we recognize the siblings and we aim to support the families.

Beach based programs provide a safe place for siblings to learn, have fun and meet other kids who also know what it is like to have a sibling with a special need. Our safe and instructional beach events for siblings include yoga, beach games, water play such as surfing and boogie boarding, beach clean up, and open discussion about their shared experiences.
We actually run two separate programs, a Sibshop for children 7 through 12, as well as a separate program for our teens, called Sibteens, for teenagers 13-18. Our teens volunteer with us for our younger Sibshop, creating an atmosphere of “pure magic”. The younger kids look at the teens with so much admiration, they can see their future! Three of our repeat participants have promised to stay with us so they can be teenage volunteers.
A typical Sibcamp day begins with a "drop-in" game, that keeps the siblings busy and engaged during drop off and sign in time with their parents. Our next step is to send the parent's away and have an open discussion activity, usually lasting 15-20 minutes. For example, we planned an anti-bullying activity in which the kids had two sheets of paper. On the first sheet they wrote down a negative name or self thought that they or someone else called them. Once they were done, they were instructed to tear up that comment into little pieces and throw it away and release themselves from the negativity. Then they were instructed to write a note for themselves about what they, or others liked about them. Once they were done with that, they were encouraged to share that positive note and save it to remind themselves of who they are!!!
Our next activity is to review safety and respect rules for the day, followed by GETTING WET IN THE OCEAN! The rest of the day is very much intuitively run according to the kid's energy and involves ocean play and beach games interspersed with snacks, reapplying sunscreen, and picking up 5 pieces of trash every day.

Sandy Feet Initiative follows the Sibling Support Network’s Sibshop model, which includes play with open discussion. Several of our team are Sibshop Facilitator trained and lead a team of safety trained volunteers, whose only requirements are that they love the ocean and they love kids! Our team also includes several elementary and middle school teachers who have a 30 plus years experience working with children. Also among our “team” are two adults who are still care for their sibling with special needs, making them uniquely qualified to participate in open discussions. Our operations are performed by our CPA/Treasure and our Executive Director, all on a volunteer basis.
Mo Langley, Executive Director and surfer, has 7 plus years of program directing. She contributed to the Triathlon Team of Team in Training for 2 years and directed the Orange County Chapter of The Wahine Project, a program that empowered young girls by introducing them to surfing. She has been a Certified Personal Trainer since 1999, making her uniquely qualified to direct a sports program. She has taught hundreds of people ocean safety, ocean swimming and surfing over the last 15 years.

Since 2017, Sandy Feet Initiative, as stated above, has served 127 siblings of children with special needs in Orange County and San Diego County. And, since we are volunteer based, we have logged almost 1500 volunteers hours, split between program volunteers, board members and administrative and executive staff!

In order to better serve our community and facilitate exposure and fundraising, we have a few other programs as well.

We recently began a partnership with Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Once a month, we visit the Family Support Center (free of charge) and visit with the siblings of the patients who are currently, or often are, at the facility. We spend two hours with the kids, ages 5-15, playing games, doing artwork and discussing their experiences at CHOC. Beginning in March, 2020, we will be doing a program specifically geared to the siblings of children in the Epilepsy Unit, one of the top epilepsy centers in the country.

For the past two years we have partnered with Girl Scouts of Orange County and host ´”Catch a Wave” surf clinics 3 to 4 times a year. During these three hour clinics, we teach the girls yoga, teach ocean safety, present surf instruction, and teach environmentalism by performing a beach clean up. We charge a small fee and use the clinics as a fundraiser to support our sibling programs. In turn, we explain to the scouts how important giving back to the community is. We offer these clinics to Girl Scouts all over the country. Recently we hosted 15 Girl Scouts from Las Vegas who chose to use their “cookie” money to give back to their peers through Sandy Feet Initiative, as one of their troop is a sibling.

Another program that is in the planning stages is a cooperative program with The Friendship Circle of Orange County. This foundation promotes friendship and inclusion for individuals with special needs and offer two week long camps a year. We are taking steps to offer Sibcamps during these weeks for the kids, and give the parents some respite time!

Sandy Feet Initiative’s goal is to support siblings of children with special needs, as well as raise awareness of the issues that face the siblings of children with special needs, in turn supporting the entire family. Our growth so far has been very exciting and surprising, there is quite obviously a great need for sibling support in our area. In November, 2019, we will be hosting our own Sibshop Facilitator Training Workshop and hope to create at least ten more Sibshop programs accessible to the kids in Orange County.

Financials

Sandy Feet Initiative
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Sandy Feet Initiative

Board of directors
as of 7/6/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Natalie Velez

Steve McGrody

Brian Luhmann

Tricia Tsuma

Ali Cali

Tom Spry

Keith Flitner

Tiana Kallenberger

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/27/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/27/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.