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“High unemployment, drugs, crime, prostitution and young people dropping out of school are daily issues. We believe Jesus is busy doing something special in Ocean View and we want to be part of it! We also believe that there is a new generation being raised who want to bring change, who are not discouraged by the circumstances around them, who are focused and want to achieve something in life. We believe there is a lot of potential here,” he says.
“More kids know about us and are interested in joining. This is amazing and we are excited and thankful for that. We really want to focus on Ocean View – this is where our heart is and where we are called to. I realised that there was a hunger to learn in the kids, a hunger for more, a willingness to commit to something. I then took the kids to a swimming pool first and taught them how to swim.
“They learned to swim and are passing on their skills to other kids. We gather on a Friday afternoon, take them out of their daily environment and bring them to the beach (Muizenberg, Glencairn or Witsand depending on the waves),” Müller says.
“Celina and I do proper warm-ups and then hit the waves. I believe there is a healing happening, when we spend time in God’s creation. If it is trauma, abuse, challenges or struggles – the kids forget about that for a few hours. I am always amazed by how openly the kids talk about their feelings, their struggles and what is happening in their lives that bothers them. I am also amazed by the progress the kids make in their social skills, how they look out for each other and how they surf. It is incredible and we are very proud of them,” he says.
The kids are between eight and 13 years and his goal is that the kids can live life to the full, reach their potential and have a life with passion and purpose.
“At the same time we’re trying to build bridges between communities. We have one kid from Kommetjie in the programme and it is amazing to see how the kids become friends and overcome the hurdles from the past. “Surfing is my personal passion and I think there is nothing more inspirational than passing your passion on to others. The five lessons that surfing taught me that I can translate into my everyday life, are: believe in yourself; commit to your actions; practice, practice, practice; quality over quantity; and cheer people on. So if being in the surf helps me, why should I hold back in sharing this with people who need it the most?” Müller says.
The kids started to swim in March and are now already able to stand on a foamie and take a wave by themselves. The Kommetjie Surf Shop makes the programme possible by offering their rental surfboards and wetsuits for free and he sees some of them competing one day.
HopeTown Surf is part of a bigger youth movement in Ocean View led by Doris and Stefano Lindsay to serve the purpose of disciplining, mentoring and encouraging the youth of Ocean View.