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Kayaking for a cause: Teen travels 13 miles from Channel Islands to support local charity

Posted at 12:06 PM, Oct 10, 2023

An 8th grader from Santa Barbara wanted to do something special to mark his 13th birthday, so he decided to create a GoFundMe page and kayak 13 miles from Anacapa Island to Oxnard to raise money and awareness for the homeless in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Middle School student Axel Wright chose the nonprofit DignityMoves to receive the funds he raised.

According to DignityMoves, the organization provides interim housing and supportive services for Santa Barbara County homeless with the goal of transitioning them to more permanent housing.

"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," Axel said. "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. As of Tuesday, he had far surpassed that goal, raising more than $3,600.

As part of Axel's fundraiser, he visited the DignityMoves Santa Barbara Street Village and met with one of the residents.

"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's fundraiser is still active. To donate, visit this link: []