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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Best Day Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Children & Youth, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Health, Human Services, Youth Community Service Clubs, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Best Day helps children with special needs build confidence and self-esteem through safe, fun filled adventure activities which stretch their limits, expand their true potential, reinforce their achievement, and connect them with diverse populations in their community. Current activities include Surfing, Body Boarding, Kayaking, SUP (stand up paddling), Outrigger Canoeing, and Snow sports.

Results: Since 2008 Best Day has served over 9000 youth with special needs in 274 beach and snow events in California, New Jersey, and New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

Target demographics: youth with special needs aged 4-24.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1154 youth with special needs share exciting adventures surfing at 33 events with the support of over 4000 volunteers.

Geographic areas served: beach communities on the East and West Coasts

Programs: Best Day offers beach events in California and New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida

Community Stories

130 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing group providing my special needs daughter the experience or riding the waves every summer at the Jersey Shore.

Such a blessing for her and other kids to get out in a surfboard!

Many thanks to the hundreds of volunteers too.

1 Ken K.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Found out about best day through a friend of mine Shandon

1 Dannika M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for best day foundation is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The people we serve and the memories we are able to create together amount to wonderful days full of living life without limits and celebrating who we are. The work the organization does is incredible and seeing the impact a day at the beach can have is amazing.

1 Karen Nogueira F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Well organized experience for both the volunteers as well as the families participating! What an enjoyable and rewarding day for all!

1 Sarah R.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As volunteers our Girl Scout Troop has enjoyed countless smiles and heart warming moments watching kids with special needs have the Best Day on the beach trying something new and challenging in a safe environment! The children who participate in these activities and the volunteers who get to be Beach Buddies all experience joy and pride during these special events! We LOVE Best Day Foundation!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been volunteering with Best Day Foundation for few years and we absolutely love it! This amazing organization gives children with special needs the opportunity to try something new, challenging, exciting, and incredibly rewarding. We have been beach buddies with many children and each time we walk away feeling as if we are the lucky ones to be a part of such a special day! Thanks, Best Day Foundation for all you do!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best Day Foundation puts together a wonderful surfing event during the Summer. My son with Quad Cerebral Palsy has so much fun with all the activities. The organizers and volunteers make it safe and enjoyable for the whole family.
Every time is the Best Day!!! Looking forward to the next time!

1 Jessica V.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve never thought I could give my son the experience of surfing but thanks to the best day foundation I was brought to tears watching my son have the time of his life!

1 Joanne O.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can’t thank Best Day enough for all they do. It is a wonderful day for all of us, especially Francesca. As you can see by her smile, she has a great time and loves all the attention she gets. Best Day truly is the “best”!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was in NJ on vacation and saw the awesome work that you do! The smiles and laughter from the children was amazing, I was even able to volunteer and met some awesome staff. I live in OH, wish we had Best Day here!

1 Drew P.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has so much fun with this group and feels so included in all activities. One of our favorite nonprofits and will always support them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hola, soy madre de Charlie un joven de 20 años con Down Syndrome que jamas había tenido una experiencia con el mar, pero gracias a Best Day Foundation pasamos una mañana fantástica Charlie siempre rodeado de encantadores voluntarios, cuidado y protegido en todo momento, mi hijo disfruto del mar, feliz de descubrir lo maravilloso que es pasear en Kayacs y surffer sobre las olas, yo nunca hubiese podido dar esta experiencia a mi hijo, fue muy emocionante ver tan feliz a Charlie, muchas gracias a todos los voluntarios y organizadores de Best Day Foundation

1 Davila A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an organization that changes lives in the best way. As a volunteer I've witnessed parents cry with joy as they watched their children laugh with joy as they did things they never imagined they could do in the water due to their disabilities. To watch children that are wheelchair bound out in the water surfing, kayaking, and even paddle boarding really teaches us to appreciate and be happy with ourselves as these children do. I saw nothing but love and joy in their eyes that was a truly humbling experience.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son had an amazing time! He went way out of his comfort zone to try new activities because everyone is so supportive and encouraging! This organization is a shining light to the special needs community! Thank you for the good you do!

1 Jeanette D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fantastic!! Everyone was great and helpful. Thank you so much Best Day foundation for such a great day!

1 Karen M.9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ever year my heart is filled watching this amazing organization make sure everyone has the best day. They lift them up, both physically and spiritually, all day long. The children, teens and young adults are treated to an experience in the ocean that most people take for granted.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been surfing with the Best Day Foundation for the past three years. From the minute we register online, to arriving at the beach, to each surf ride, to the awards ceremony, to lunch service, to seeing us off the beach the Best Day folks put their hearts and muscle 100% into each participant. They recruit the sweetest teenage buddies that make my daughter feel so special for the day. Surfing with this group is one of the top highlights of the summer!

1 Robbie Campbell L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love love love this event and we look forward to going every YEAR!!!!! The staff is amazing and the volunteers are so supportive and understanding. Looking forward to next year !! I recommend this program for everyone

1 Annette G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great experience. Made a difference from a child that feared the water. That today was conquered.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best thing to happen to my son has been the ability to surf. Love this group!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son hates to get splashed but wanted to try surfing, so at least 6 volunteers carried him on a surfboard out into the ocean by lifting him over every wave! He got to “surf” in and loved it! We also were able to give our other son more attention on the beach because our child who has the disability was having a great time hanging out with his buddies.

1 Lauren D.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Truly creates the best day ever for its participants

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have loved volunteering with this organization! Best day gives experiences to individuals with special needs that they would not have been able to access as easily!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband was contacted last year to help out at best day foundation. He was so moved that he’s helping out again. This year he’s rallied two post from LACoFD explorer program to help out along with his wife and children. We are so blessed by the fact that neither one of our children have any disabilities, well we all have some type of disability we are human after all. Looking forward to giving back even if just for a few hours. That is truly rewarding. TIME.. give your time to those in need. Priceless .... imagine the possibilities, imagine the difference you will make. so blessed to be able to be part of something that truly makes a difference in this world.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Aptly named Best Day.... my son absolutely loves their surf days!!!!! Everyone involved is so AWESOME!!!! And the volunteers are THEE BEST!!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son , Tyler , is 13 yrs old teen who has Autism .He had his first Surfing camp day with Best Day Foundation in Seal Beach 2 years ago. Tyler had an amazing day of his life . He got to experience to do surfing the first time with a pro surfer . He had a blast in the ocean . We were impressed how well and organized of the whole team work from the Best Day Foundation of OC was. Most of them are volunteers who came from over the places to help out these Special kids for a day. They made sure the kids had a good time . Our son was very sensitive with noises and the crowd but the people from the Best Day made everything possible and comfortable for our child to enjoy his day . This year Tyler came back for the second time at Newport Dune last month in September . And he had another amazing day there as he got to do all kinds of water sports such as kayaking, paddling board , stand up paddling board ...
Thank you the Best Day Foundation of OC again , you truly deserve to be on the top nonprofit organizations of 2018
Enclosed here a video clip of my son Tyler Nguyen who enjoyed the ride on the surf board with one of professional surfer two years ago ( June 2016 ) and last three pictures from his second time camp on October 8, 2018 all with Best Day Foundation of Orange County , California.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Eli loves being in the water more than anything. Sadly due to multiple factors I myself am unable to take him to the beach for a fun filled day. Well, I can drive him to the beach but I’m not strong enough to get him to the water. Having this organization has allowed me to sign my son up for a wonderful day full of joy because they offer all the assistance he needs to be able to enjoy a beach day like any other kid. The assistance of the volunteers allow me to go back and forth to my car to bring anything my kid may need at any point rather than carry multiple bags everywhere he goes. Happy kid = forever thankful mom.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Best Day Foundation has truly been an amazing experience for my grandson Eddie "Heart Surfer" Sir. We look forward to many more Best Days in the Outer Banks!

1 Angela K.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best Day Foundation is absolutely wonderful! The volunteers and the activities couldn’t be better. We are forever grateful for the opportunity that they gave our son and can’t wait until we can go another event!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best Day Foundation allows students like me to volunteer and make a difference in a meaningful way by providing the opportunity to connect with kids with special needs and cheer them on during a day filled with risk-taking, fun, and magical memories! I personally love seeing the huge smiles on the kids' faces after getting off the surfboards and tandem boogie boards!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Joshua has been participating in Best Day Foundation surfing events for 9 years and anxiously looks forward to the BEST DAY ever....every summer

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Andrew, has cerebral palsy. We live in AZ. Andrew loves the ocean. We drove to CA so that he could participate in this event. All of the volunteers were amazingly positive and helpful...and there were SO MANY volunteers! They had thought of everything -- shirts, food, medals --- and all things related to adapted water sports, including the gear. All we had to do was show up! Andrew LOVED his time with Best Day Foundation and it was well worth driving hundreds of miles to attend. He can't wait to do it again! What a special organization!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best Day lives up to its name every time. It gives children with special needs a once in a lifetime experience to get out in the water and experience something that we might take for granted. There aren’t words to describe what it’s like to stand on the beach amongst a sea of volunteers and participants all smiling from ear to ear rain or shine!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This foundation allows our special needs kids to do something that they ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity do. Everyone is so patient and kind and does not stare or judge our kids for them being just a little different. Everyone is just so loving and open arms and is willing to do anything to help our kids. They make our kids and parents feel special. Unfortunately we do not get that often. Just love them. Thanks, Melody Kesterson

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Serving on the board of another nonprofit gives me some interesting perspective.....let me simply state that what the good folks of Best Day Foundation are doing is nothing short than miraculous! The ocean has magical powers for sure, but couple that with a group of selfless people giving everything they can to help people that otherwise wouldn't safely be able to experience the joy of surfing and the ocean and you are able to see the human spirit shine on every level. Give your time or support this group financially - it's an amazing gift to be involved in any way!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This Foundation is so Aamaaaaazing! My child with Autism had a blast. Even me as a parent enjoyed watching my child for this experience. From the staff to the volunteers, they all did a great job! May God Bless y’all!

1 Writer

Client Served

Rating: 5

WOW!!!!!!!!! What an amazing experience for our son with autism. Your volunteers are some of the sweetest and most encouraging people on the planet. Thank you so much for offering such a wonderful fun day at the beach for some very special kids. We LOVED it!

Our video recap can be found here: bit.ly/BestDay2018.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son with cerebral palsy cannot talk nor walk. And yet, he was able to go surfing! With utmost thanks, our family will always remember that special day made possible by Best Day Foundation's awesome organizers and volunteers. We remain forever grateful for our James' one-of-a-kind adventure! :)

2 Angela Klein R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and son love to surf and we happened to see Best Day Foundation down in Ventura last summer. We were so impressed we decided to volunteer this summer at C Street in Ventura, CA. I can't begin to tell you how AMAZING the volunteers are. They went above and beyond to make it the best day for the kids. I loved seeing the children remember the volunteers and to see the children and volunteers so excited to see eachother again. They obviously love it or they wouldn't come back. My 14 year old son was so stoked to help the children finish the obsticle course and laugh and cheer with so much joy. I told a friend who has a child with special needs and she's all signed up and ready to come. I really wanna get the word out about this awesome group. Everyone loves a fun day at the beach. We will definitely be back again to volunteer this summer to have another Best Day!

2 Stephen Wayne Leighton J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is one of the best organizations around. The smile on all the kids faces thru out the day is incredible. And people just coming to the beach not knowing about the event and just watch they start to smile. Been volunteering for 4 years now and ill be with this group until i move and hopefully find another chapter to paddle to

1 Maryann V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son Matthew joined Best Day Foundation in Brick, NJ for a surfing adventure four years ago and we’re still talking about it. We had such a great day. All the volunteers were so caring and enthusiastic. What a wonderful group.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a wonderful day! Tons of volunteers, and really skilled surfers and kayak riders kept our kids safe. At the event we attended, there were one or two volunteers assigned as one-on-one aides for our kids, and they facilitated rides on surfboards, boogie boards, kayaks, and outrigger canoes. They were flexible and positive and provided a joyful, new experience for our son. Impossibly, my wheel-chair kid is a Surfer!

2 Mary M.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Best Day Foundation makes a genuine and profound impact. It is a privilege and a tremendous joy to participate in their events.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They fully exhibit their mission and care about all participants. This is a great organization!

1 Penny S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son participated in a Best Day beach event. My son is seven and on the autism spectrum. He likes water but it generally is a struggle to get him to participate. My husband started texting me photos and videos mid morning. Each left me more stunned than the last. There was my 7 year old on a surf board in the ocean! We drove from Tucson to San Diego to attend and it was well worth the effort.

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

Ventura Event wasn't organized, many activities were unavailable. Jess the staff volunteer's 2 brothers were on canoes several hours for personal use not putting on kids. They were giving out donated bags that were empty to kids. They didn't give cold drinks to kids or snacks had to bring own snacks and drinks to the beach event. Parents were complaing about there kids not being able to go on activity such as canoeing and surfing and boogie boards. There was 2 volunteers in water helping kids the rest of volunteers were playing with balls in the water not really helping. Very Disappointed in experience!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

So much fun! Last year i moved to Santa Barbara and didn't know anyone. Through this organization I met new friends, made great memories and loved volunteering with such fun kids! Can't wait for this year:)

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a 25 year old quadriplegic who used to surf constantly. But after being a passenger in a car accident and losing use of my muscles from my chest down I didn't think I'd surf again. I met some volunteers from Best Day Foundation who helped me get back in the waves. I honestly don't know where I'd be without Best Day Foundation.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful foundation. It provided my son an opportunity to participate in water activities that we would never be able to confidently. The smile as on his face as he rode that wave on the body board was priceless. I can't say enough how wonderful, caring and experienced the volunteers and buddies were and it warmed our hearts that they enjoyed their time with our son as much as he did with them. Thank you Best Day for allowing our whole family the chance to enjoy a worry-free day at the beach!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Volunteers at this event were so dedicated, warm, and intent on having a good time. Our daughter went into the ocean to body surf for the very first time. She was very scared but with five volunteers surrounding her as she braved the waves and climbed on the surfboard to ride back to the beach, she arrived with a smile & greater confidence.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Both of my sons were able to participate in a Best Day event in Ventura, California. Both boys absolutely LOVED it! The volunteers were so attentive to the individual needs of my sons, and they both felt so PROUD of all they were able to do. They were encouraged to work through the fears and try news things. It was awesome for them!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great day for the kids! My son [12 yrs. old] has participated a few times and has really enjoyed it. What a unique experience! The staff really makes this event wonderful. They are having so much fun putting smiles on the kids' faces; the good vibes are infectious!

1 Kimberley5

Client Served

Rating: 5

We as a family had truly the Best Day. My son never stopped smiling, and he feels like he made friends. He talks about his beach buddy and brags about being a surfer now. We plan on signing up every year from now on. My son has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everyone involved in this event was very supportive and skilled in getting the children to have a wonderful time and feel successful. My son could not get enough turns and while he's only five, the hours in the ocean surfing seemed to evaporate.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

They provided an opportunity for my son to experience something he may never be able to do on his own. What a great group of volunteers in support of special needs kiddos and persons with disabilities everywhere! We truly had the Best Day ever!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family had a great time at Best Day at the beach. My son was able to surf for the first time and the joy in his face was just so rewarding. I was unsure if my son would be able to do the surfing, since he can't swim yet, but all the volunteers made it safe and possible for him to have a great day! We are so grateful , Thank you all at Best Day Foundation!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best Day for the child who participates...Best Day for those who volunteer...Best way to spend a weekend! Great people doing even greater good.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Charlie participated both in the Orange Country and San Diego Chapters. He had such a wonderful time in both events. Surfing is the one sport he never says no to. At both events he never came out of the water once. It was such an honor to have professional surfers to show up and volunteer their time to surf with our kiddos. Keep up the great work!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was the first event we had ever been to for special needs kiddos. generally speaking, kiddos with aspergers have a hard time finding acceptance, so it was very heart warming to see him so welcomed and genuinely cared for by all the staff and volunteers.

1 Jen J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization did an amazing job this year at camp Pendleton! This was my daughters first year participating in one of their events. My daughter has autism but this organization as well as their volunteers made her feel very comfortable and super excited about participating! Way to go guys!

1 Syndi S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am honored to provide a testimonial on behalf of Best Day Foundation. I took my five year son who is on the Autism Spectrum to a Best Day event and truly experienced the beauty, kindness and love from the amazing volunteers and parents! This was such a wonderful day for my son, who was able to ride in a kayak and on a paddle board. We have already signed up for another event to try surfing!!! Thank you Best Day!!!

1 redtila

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Friend told me about this foundation, since her son had participated in the past..
My 5 year old has Apraxia, so its hard for him to communicate, and gets teased alot from other kids due to his severe speech delay, and when i saw that this foundation accepted kids with Apraxia, i was soo happy.:)

From the min it starts, they welcome all participants with a fun running activity, and they clap while the kids run, it was soo amazing. My son felt soo special and loved. It actually made me tear up..

They pair your kid up with a buddy, and the buddy is with him all day. My son's buddy was AMAZING!! she was soo nice and patient with him!!! Even on some events that he was afraid to do, she was extremely patient and helped him get his mind off of it, and he felt more comfortable as time passed. She was absolutely amazing!! We are friends til this day.:)

The whole day was absolutely amazing. My son tried surfing and kayaking. He had a great time.

I would highly recommend this foundation. They make your child feel incredible and so special for the day!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great time. Absolutely worth the $30 participation fee. My child made lifetime memories.

1 Christine178

Client Served

Rating: 5

Seeing the genuine smile on my son's face! I was prepared for his anxieties to get the best of him, and for him to be scared and overwhelmed, but all of the staff and volunteers were fantastic at being encouraging, making our son feel comfortable, and SAFE. I was so impressed with how comfortable I felt with him being in the ocean with strangers. I appreciated the security measures taken, with having multiple people to one participant while in the water. Our son felt so genuinely happy and confident that day. In general, he's a very pensive, and serious kind of fella, so to see him radiating so much pure joy, and excitement made us happy to tears for him! Thank you for such a wonderful day!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing organization! My 9 yr old son attended one of their beach days in Santa Barbara; our family was so impressed with the organization of the day! He was able to try kayaking, boogie-boarding and surfing with the help of amazing volunteers! Our son is autistic, very shy and often does not know how to properly express himself; the volunteers in the water and his buddy who was coordinating his next event were so friendly, encouraging, and helpful; our boy had such a blast and was so proud that he even had a wipe-out like a real surfer. Although our son is considered high-functioning, he is unable to keep-up with typical sports classes, so we are SO thankful to BestDayFoundation for giving him the opportunity to try these sports in such a welcoming environment that made him feel happy and accepted. Best Day also provided snacks and lunch, and our son could not have been prouder to receive his medal at the end of the day to the cheers of all the volunteers! We hope this non-profit continues to provide these fun days for our kids!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was born with a rare craniofacial syndrome and had never even boogie boarded before this incredible day with Best Day Foundation. It was amazing for me to see her having an experience she would probably never otherwise attempt. They were so good and safe too, it assuaged my fears. We hope to attend future best day events. Thank you!!!!