Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Weekend I Almost Impulsively Got a Tattoo

This weekend, I helped out Island Dolphin Care with their booth for the 5th Annual Surfers for Autism in Cocoa Beach. I had planned on meeting them early on Saturday morning, but Joe sent me a text saying to come up early and meet them at the hotel to hang out. When I got this text message, I knew it was going to be a great weekend with some of my favorite people:

My Island Dolphin Care family has a way of making me feel like the most special person in the world every time I talk to them or see them. 

I met up with them at their hotel and had a couple margaritas before we called it a night. I crashed in Joe's room because there was an extra bed, but I did NOT sleep well at all. When my alarm went off at 5:45 am to go for a run before the event, I did not want to get up, but hoped to see some sea turtle mommas that were late getting off of the beach. I had no such luck, but I did get to see this beautiful sunrise:

This was an amazing way to start out my morning. I did a 4 mile run on the beach, saw some turtle nests (But no turtles), and did a 2-mile beach clean-up (because that's what I do) before 7:30. We then brought our stuff down to the beach to set up the booth, and all of the ladies left the men to do that while we went in search for breakfast. After breakfast, we spent the rest of the day interacting with families, passing on information about Island Dolphin Care, and getting sunburnt. The families who came up to our tent had the opportunity to paint our dolphin (which was white when we began) as a way to express themselves:

I loved watching the kids paint and get excited about our dolphins! It definitely reinforces the idea that Island Dolphin Care is where I need to be when I graduate with my Master's next spring. 

Here are some pictures from Island Dolphin Care's Instagram account. I definitely suggest that you follow them if you want your heart to explode from adorableness. 

There are more pictures on their Instagram account, but since they have children in them that I do not know, I do not feel comfortable posting those photos on my blog! 

If you are not familiar with Surfers for Autism, here is a description of their program from their website:

The event went on in Cocoa Beach on Saturday from 8 - 4 pm, and there were at least 500 people there. An amazing part of this program is that all sponsors (on the beach) provide freebies, including lunch! One thing that was interesting to me was that the food that was available was not allergen free, gluten free, or from whole food products. I have met many families who adopt a less processed, whole foods diet after receiving an Autism diagnosis, so it was interesting, and confusing, to see that there were very little, if any options for these families. The booth also ran out of food relatively early, so many sponsors did not have a chance to eat. Overall though, it was a really fun experience and a great beach day.

On Sunday, a tattoo shop was holding a "flash tattoo" event to benefit Surfers for Autism. A "flash tattoo" event is when a shop offers tattoos from a pre-designed palette for an amazing price and all proceeds go to the charity. The price for these tattoos were $30 and all proceeds went to SFA. Here was the palette to choose from: 

See that sea turtle above the pink ribbon on the bottom? It has a puzzle piece for Autism in the carapace and I flip-flopped for two days (Saturday and Sunday) between getting it and not. I actually got in my car at one point to drive to the shop, but I chickened out. I think I got caught up in the price and the charity aspect of it and did not have a chance to really think about it. I decided not to get the tattoo, but it combines two of my passions and if I decide I want it later down the road, I can get it, right? I called the tattoo parlor and they said that they were incredibly busy for the event, so I think a lot of parents got tattoos representing their support of this organization and their incredible love for their child! 

I had a great weekend, and I definitely think I was born to work with special populations. If you would like to learn more about Surfers for Autism, please visit surfersforautism.org

How did you spend your weekend? Do you have any tattoos?