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    HomeNewsKayaking for a Cause — A Young Man's Philanthropic Adventure

    Kayaking for a Cause — A Young Man’s Philanthropic Adventure

    Santa Barbara Middle School 8th grader Axel Wright wanted to do something special to mark his 13th birthday. He decided to create a GoFundMe page and kayak 13 miles from Anacapa Island to Oxnard to raise money and awareness for Santa Barbara area homelessness. He chose local nonprofit DignityMoves, an organization that provides interim housing and supportive services for Santa Barbara County homeless with the goal of transitioning them to more permanent housing, to be the recipient of the funds he raised.

    “I chose this because it feels like the most substantial problem in Santa Barbara. It bums me out to see people living on the street because I know that our community can do something to help them, but most people don’t,” said Axel. “I like that DignityMoves isn’t just a place to live and sleep but it also has programs to help each individual person get back on their feet.”

    His plan was to kayak 13 miles on his 13th birthday to raise $1300, but he has since passed his financial goal. 

    “Axel is an extraordinary young man,” said Jack Lorenz, Regional advancement Director for DignityMoves. “Most people don’t know what to do to how to help people living on the streets.  Axel faced the issue head on and made a decision to do something about it.  This is inspiring for all of us and I hope that our community help support Axel’s GoFundMe campaign,” said Lorenz.

    During his recent tour of DignityMoves Santa Barbara Street Village, Axel was spontaneously greeted by resident Michael Gosser who thanked Axel for his support and showed him his living quarters.  A former Hollywood set designer, Gosser was severely injured which led to depression, alcoholism and homelessness.  He told Axel that, “it is because of people like you that give people like me a second chance.”

    “Axel was prepared for the expedition across the channel, but I did not anticipate the profound impact of his visit to the Dignity Moves village,” said Pesha Rudnick Wright, Axel’s mother. “Axel has been concerned about people experiencing homelessness since he was a little boy.  He (and his sister) left the village with a sense of hope and resolve to stay involved. Axel experienced firsthand that one person can make a difference in many lives”. 

    “Axel has always been an extremely independent child,” added Rob Wright, Axel’s father. Seeing him alone in a kayak in the middle of the ocean made me incredibly proud of his strength.  I think it’s just the beginning of the positive impact he’ll have in the world.” 

    DignityMoves is a nonprofit founded by a group of concerned business leaders working to end unsheltered homelessness in our communities. Using innovative solutions, DignityMoves builds interim housing communities using state-of-the-art prefabricated modular construction and partners with leading services agencies who will operate the sites and improve outcomes for the clients. The result is dignified interim supportive housing that can be built fast and cost effectively.  Santa Barbara County’s Good Samaritan provides onsite support services addressing alcohol and substance abuse, mental health issues, career development and access to local resources.

    To help Axel raise more funds for his campaign, visit GoFundMe.com and search “Kayaking for a cause”, or visit this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/wx6uw8-kayaking-for-a-cause

    Press Release
    Press Release
    This is a press release sent to Goleta Voice for publication. Refer to the references in the article for more information.


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