- Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started Street Waves.
My name is Maurice “Maui” Goodbeer. I am a Native American from San Diego, CA. In 2003 my younger brother Melvyn was brutally murdered by a 16-year-old gang member. At his funeral I made a promise to do my best to help disadvantaged children. After living a long life in the ocean swimming, surfing and boating on the west coast “which is where the nickname “Maui” comes from, I decided to check out the Atlantic Ocean. I moved to Miami Beach in 2005. While out on a lone surf session in South Beach it came to me to bring disadvantaged youth to the ocean to learn how to surf and swim. I realized that the conditions were perfect for a beginner with a sandbar beach break, warm water, and small waves it would make the best introduction to surfing. I have found that South Florida is the perfect place for children to learn how to surf, particularly those who have very little water and ocean experience, and watching the children become more acclimated with the sea has been a very exhilarating experience.
- What is Street Waves?
StreetWaves is a South Florida nonprofit organization that specializes in exposing under resourced children and families to the ocean by way of teaching basic swimming skills, water and ocean safety, surfing and boating safety and maritime educational training. We believe that the majesty of the sea and the mastery of the ocean cultivate essential life skills, and cultivate courage, commitment, character and confidence. Over the years we have come to know the staggering statistics related to drowning rates and the lack of basic swimming skills in minority communities. The CDC reports that children of color are 5.5 times more likely to drown than white children and that if you don’t teach your children to swim your grandchildren are more at risk of drowning. At StreetWaves we give focus to these problems and address them in our AfterSchool programs 9-week intensives. Students learn basic swim skills that will offer them a lifetime of enjoyment and safety, open the door for water related and ”salty jobs” and give them lifesaving skills that can help them should they encounter someone in distress in the water.
- What brought you to Delray Beach?
At StreetWaves our goal has always been to grow along the entire coast line knowing that the same crime related issues that affect major cities like Miami, LA, and Chicago are also affecting many coastal cities with regard to poverty, violence, drug and alcohol abuse and a common denominator is a lack of ocean exposure in many of the communities along the entire coast. It has been a natural progression into Broward County and now into Palm Beach County. After having lived here for about a year I began to sit at the “elders table,” which is a weekly open invitation for those interested in the Set community of Delray Beach. We meet on Thursdays at Donnie’s Restaurant. I quickly learned a great deal about the history of Delray Beach, some of the issues that the Delray Beach communities of color are facing and the needs of the community to become more acclimated to the sea.
- How did you get into surfing?
As a child I was always attracted to you extreme sports. Martial arts, skateboarding, BMX and surfing were a very big part of my life. As a preteen while living at home with a single mom I found myself attracted to a group of young surfers that lived in our apartment community. They took me under their wing and taught me all about surfing and we surfed together for many years. They were my mentors they looked out for me and surfing kept us out of trouble. We surfed mainly from La Jolla Shores south to Baja California and into parts of Mexico. I found that surfing really put me in the moment. It increased my awareness of the importance of happiness which has been a central focus of my life. Have fun, be happy and follow my life’s passions. Surfing has taught me to give focus and attention to nature, the environment, sea life and our shoreline. Having done hundreds of beach cleanups over the years on many beaches on both coasts of the country I have developed a genuine love for our country and the issues that face our natural environment and ecosystems.
- We heard you were recently a recipient of an Impact 100 grant totaling $100,000. What do you plan to do with the grant money?
The Impact 100 Grant is for an after-school program specifically for the students at the Village Academy. This program will open the door for students to learn basic swim skills that include multiple swim styles and strokes, basic surfing and something that we very excited to bring to this community is our boating safety and maritime education platform that will ultimately introduce youth to the “Blue Economy” by way of our recently donated 51-foot gaff-rigged Schooner. This platform will give us the opportunity to invite qualified volunteer maritime tradespersons to share their skills and professions with the children at Village Academy broadening their scope of possibilities. According to the Marine Industry Association, there are 136,000 plus maritime jobs in this region that account for $11.5 billon in annual revenue. These are the kinds of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities that we are interested in presenting to children who otherwise might not know that they exist. This program is designed to expose a non-swimmer to a new world that exists just a mile away from their school.