Photos of Maui foster children stand-up paddling

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Haleakala Times- Write up

Foster families enjoy day of stand-up paddle surfing

Foster families enjoy day of stand-up paddle surfing
Paddle surf participants get in the water.

Paddle surf participants get in the water.

MAKAWAO — Maui Youth & Family Services (MYFS) and Keiki Kokua’s foster children and their foster parents recently enjoyed a day of fun at Maliko Gulch, where they were treated to complimentary stand-up paddle surf lessons by Maria Souza of Ocean Sports Education, followed by lunch and camaraderie.

The children were given a land lesson where they learned how to balance on large exercise balls. Each student was then accompanied by an adult into the water, where they all able to stand and paddle their boards around the bay.

MYFS Clinical Director Charlie Schlather was pleased with the results.

“It’s great to expose our youth to new experiences, and at the same time, foster parents get a chance to connect with each other,” he said.

“Big mahalos to Maria Souza, Nicole Sanchez, Danette Watze, Jim Bouhuys, Lisa and Robert Tusberg, and Tiago for volunteering their time and expertise, and Alda St. James at Keiki Kokua for organizing the event.”

Charlie said any individuals or businesses who wish to make donations for the surfing program may contact him at

“Our foster youth really enjoyed paddle surfing. At first they were reluctant, but Maria is a natural teacher and they all ended up getting wet! It would be great to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going; however, we don’t have the equipment and would really appreciate any donations of stand-up paddle gear.”

The MYFS foster program works with more than 40 youth each year, providing family-based care, individual and family counseling, and case management.

Maui Youth & Family Services is a comprehensive social services agency whose mission is to “Build better lives with Hawaii’s families.” MYFS has been accomplishing this mission for 30 years by offering a continuum of services for adolescents and their families, including foster care, prevention, outreach, outpatient treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health treatment programs. Visit for information.

Keiki Kokua of Maui also works closely with foster parents and children with practical assistance, social support, networking and referral to help parents to successfully raise and nurture the children in their care. Visit for more information.