Founded in 2009 by a group of four friends, the Valpo Surf Project, began as a way to better the lives of young people in Valparaiso, Chile. While living in Valparaiso Andres, Henry, Jon, and Wiley recognized that hidden amongst the city’s unique beauty were families struggling with the consequences of poverty. The entire city of Valparaiso, which is set in the foothills of the Andes, faces the Pacific Ocean. The guys decided to use surfing and the ocean as a way to connect with the kids of Valparaiso.
After a grassroots fundraising campaign in 2009, the VSP’s Pilot Program was launched in 2010. The program began with 4 surfboards and 20 students in one classroom in the hills of Valparaiso. The four founders ran all aspects of the program. Jon, Henry, and Wiley took turns going home to the United States to fundraise and work odd jobs saving up enough money to buy another plane ticket back to Chile.
Since then the program has grown to include 4 different neighborhoods and a juvenile detention facility. The VSP currently works with over 125 students who receive over 30 hours of programming each month. 3 full time directors and 6 interns work with over 75 volunteers annually to grow the organization inside of Chile and beyond.
As the VSP continues to grow the organization remains committed to each student, empowering them with the tools to better their own lives and positively impact their communities.