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Daily Point of Light #4196, George Saidah
Posted by Points of Light Institute
George Saidah has used a pastime of his and has invented a program where children with special needs, specifically those with the conditions of autism and Down’s Syndrome, can learn the power of sailing the open waters. Hearts of Sailing offers free sailing trips to those children affected by such disorders like autism and Down’s Syndrome. George discovered that children with autism and other special needs have constructive responses to water, team work, and sailing. As a result, Hearts of Sailing has provided a safe and creative haven for those with special needs by allowing them to participate in activities which they wouldn’t normally do. These children get chances to participate in sailing a boat and doing other things thought impossible by others for children with special needs. Through Hearts of Sailing, George has gathered 48 volunteer captains to donate their boats and time to families with children of special needs. Hearts of Sailing has sailed over 700 families. George does such by devoting all of his time and even traveling (with his sail boat in rout) to locations that do not yet have sailors willing to donate their boats. He has 48 locations in the US with international locations in France, Puerto Rico, Canada and other nations. At the end of each sail, each child receives a certificate and medal of accomplishment leaving the experience feeling peaceful, empowered, and a part of a team. Through George Saidah’s innovation and desire for sailing, Hearts of Sailing has become a perfected representation of community involvement.