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GSFF – Irvine and Olive Crest: Sailing to Better Times

IMG_0754The Irvine committee of the GSF Foundation has been a dedicated partner with Olive Crest, a nonprofit that has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families, in a variety of ways over the years. Olive Crest boasts many innovative programs that the Foundation supports with grants, donations, and more personally through affiliated organizations in which GSF associates are able to volunteer their time to help these disadvantaged children.

An affiliated program, Aventura Sailing, assembles every month on a Sunday afternoon, and volunteers take foster children and teens in the Olive Crest program sailing off of Dana Point, Calif. This program contributes to the healing of these children by allowing them to experience new things, as many have never even seen the ocean, and helps them develop important life skills such as learning how to work as a team.

Rich Bennett, a GSF associate, is an Aventura volunteer. “It’s fun and rewarding for us to see how excited the kids get when dolphins ride the wake of the bow, or when the older kids steer the boat,” says Rich. “Almost all of the kids have never been on a boat, so at first they may be anxious, but in no time they get over their fear. It’s a great opportunity for the kids to have fun, interact with caring adults, and forget about their troubled past for a while.”

Along with direct financial assistance, the Foundation has also contributed to Olive Crest through donations; providing school-supply-filled backpacks at events such as “Run with the Pack”, sponsored by STAR Touring and Riding, Saddleback Valley Chapter #422. GSFF – Irvine is proud to be associated with such an outstanding charity that strives to make a difference in the lives of abused children and their families.