Jason Bishop of JB Boards helps a special friend ride a wave at Pockets Full of Sunshine’s, “Fun in the Sun for Everyone” event held Sept. 11 on Hilton Head Island. HILARY KERR GROFF

The past two years have been nothing short of challenging in every way imaginable. We are all in need of community and connection more than ever before.

The sort of inclusive camaraderie provided by Pockets Full of Sunshine during their annual Fun in the Sun for Everyone beach event has been in short supply, and after the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the pandemic, we couldn’t wait to get back on the beach.

The September day was full of sunny skies as people made their way down to the sand in front of the Marriott Surf Watch Resort. Some ran gleefully, others walked with the assistance of a loved one, or had their wheelchair pushed by a volunteer. All are welcome on this day, no matter their age or ability.

An army of volunteers wait anxiously to greet the participants and they are just as beautifully diverse as those they are serving: middle and high school students, teachers, young professionals, grandparents, even members of the USCB softball team. 

The goal is opportunity. To give those who can’t easily access the beach the chance to do so, to give those who can, the chance to try something new – like surfing, to make a friend, to build sandcastles alongside new relationships. 

The beach is always beautiful, and watching our community come together and embrace its members with special needs is the most beautiful thing of all.

Pockets Full of Sunshine, a local nonprofit providing opportunities for adults with disabilities, is grateful to the sponsors, volunteers and supporters who make Fun in the Sun not just possible, but spectacular. It takes a village, and the Lowcountry is home to a very special one indeed.

To find out more about Pockets Full of Sunshine or how you can get involved with Fun in the Sun for Everyone 2022, visit pocketsfullofsun.org

Laurin Rivers is the co-founder of Pockets Full of Sunshine.