9 miles Project was established in 2013 with the vision of creating a transformed community where the youth are developed, empowered, and integrated to make an impact and live drug and crime-free lives. Their Clubhouse is based on the Strandfontein Pavilion where they have weekly after-school programs including mentorship, health and ocean education, and of course the kids favorite, surfing.
It has been amazing to journey with them since their launch and see the influence the project has had on the local kids as they are starting to grow up hit their teens and in the process of becoming young men and women. On the first site and conversation with their core kids, it is hard to believe the hectic backgrounds some of them come from and where or how they live. Seeing these kids passion for surfing and the escape it has created for them really inspired me in 2017 when I decided to join them on one of their road trips up the coast.
The impact sports like surfing and skating have on young underprivileged kids or any kids in fact is fascinating. It gives the kids something to help get rid of any negativity or frustrations through adrenaline and be able to express themselves through it.
Nigel and I were in contact for a few years, saying we should work together however it wasn’t the right timing and didn’t really progress until meeting early in 2017 before their annual surf comp which we came alongside and sponsored some trophies and medals and then went on to help out with lifting some of their kids on a road trip. I saw a huge gap where every time we rocked up with our Kingdom Van and borrowed out our skateboards it was virtually impossible to get the kids off of them. My first time going up to their outreach project in Elandsbay, some of the kids woke up at the crack of dawn and when I went onto the balcony to check the waves, saw a group of them huddled by the wheels of the van waiting patiently to get the opportunity to skate.