children with autismSAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Surfers Healing, a non-profit working to enrich the lives of children with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing, is competing for grants ranging from $125,000 to $1 Million through the American Giving Awards, presented by Chase. Residents can help ensure their favorite charity's success by simply voting for Surfers Healing through the American Giving Awards program on Facebook.

Twenty-five past Chase Community Giving grant recipients – 5 charities in 5 categories – have been chosen to participate. Surfers Healing will compete in the Champions of Health & Wellness category. Fans are being asked to vote for their favorite charity. Voting will run until Midnight ET, December 4, 2012.

The charity with the most votes in their respective category will receive $1 million, runner up will receive $500,000, 3rd place will receive $250,000, and 4th and 5th place will each receive $125,000 grants.

"Every year we take over 3,500 autistic children who normally suffer from sensory overload and give them the profoundly healing experience of surfing at no charge," said Co-Founder, Izzy Paskowitz.

"For some kids, this experience becomes a rare moment of calm and connection. Every year we have to turn families away. Even $125,000 would allow us to reach many more autistic kids with this life changing experience."

About Autism:

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. When Isaiah Paskowitz, son of Izzy and Danielle, was born, one in every 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Today, the CDC estimates 1 in every 88 children are identified with an autism spectrum disorder. Currently there is no cure for autism.

Surfers Healing is competing with 24 charities across the country for these grants from Chase. With the support of our volunteers, fans and local residents, Surfers Healing has the opportunity to get much needed resources to continue their work.

"Surfing with Izzy was the greatest experience for my autistic grandson," said Patricia Bagley. "The expression of joy on his face when he rode the waves in was priceless."

Ann Gunderson, mother of a non verbal autistic son, said, "It is incredibly heartwarming to see him out there. It brings a sense of normalcy to our family."

Michael Eisenstein said, "The self esteem and physical self awareness that Surfers Healing helps develop is a wonderful tool for kids all along the spectrum of autism. I saw a few kids crying before going out on the boards, I only saw big grins when they came in."

Toni Dicorato-Bitonti, parent of an autistic child, said "This was our first time and it was truly the best day of our lives."

How You Can Help:

You can help Surfers Healing receive up to $1 million by visiting the Chase Community Giving Facebook page at: and cast your vote. You may need to allow the Chase app to connect to your Facebook. Follow the directions until "Thank you for voting!" pops up.

If you have questions about Surfers Healing, visit our website at .

About Surfers Healing:

Surfers Healing was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Isaiah suffered from sensory overload. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite. A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea. With Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. They decided to share this unique therapy with other autistic children and expose them to a completely new experience of surfing.

Surfers Healing ( offers events in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada. On a typical day, around 200 autistic children gather at the beach with their families for surfing, food, fun and goodie bags. At their scheduled time, each autistic child gets to surf, one on one, with one of our passionate and expert volunteers. Lunch and refreshments are available for the whole family. All of this is provided at no charge.

Not only do the autistic children receive the therapeutic experience of surfing, but the whole family has a beautiful day at the beach filled with acceptance and empathy. It's one of the only days that they don't have to worry about stares from people that don't understand what it's like living with autism. Surfers Healing is not a cure, but hopefully our surf camps will help raise awareness of autism and through local press and television coverage that might someday lead to a cure.

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