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Meet Giovanni Douresseau of Youth Mentoring Connection Surfing Program in South Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Giovanni Douresseau.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a kid, I could not envision life past my teens. I was like a candle flickering on its last light. I was offered drugs before I even knew how to add or subtract. My father left when I was 5. My single mother was a Jamaican immigrant raising three kids. She worked two jobs and often the graveyard shift just to keep the lights on. The gang members around my house became role models.

I ate often to escape the depression. When I tipped the scale at almost 300 pounds my mom realize that my life was in danger not just in the hood, but also with my physical health. One day I stubbled upon a youth center in the heart of South Central called A Place Called Home. They came together and did a partnership with Youth Mentoring Connection to provide a surfing program for kids in the hood. That first wave changed my life. It should me the world is much larger than eight blocks of guns, gangs, and drugs that seemed too familiar. I found surfing mentor on the beach named Tim Wingard. Tim eventually gave me a challenge that if I lose 50 pounds in 1 one year, he would buy me a brand new surfboard. That challenge sparked the motivation in me to transition from 12 at almost 300 pounds with no focus in life to 14 at 160’s pounds with a future. I then got better at surfing and got invited to join a Malibu national surf team, Palisades Charter High School surfer team and BSA surf team.

During college, I worked with friends to help re-found a surfing/mentoring program for at risk youth. We bring kids from Compton. South Central, Watts, East La, and all over Los Angeles to beach. We provide youth with the three elements that saved my life which are mentoring, a loving community, and the joy of surfing. My surfing mentor Tim passed away on June 23rd 2019. He gave me three last wishing to fulfill in his honor consisting of finishing college, dedicate my life to service and to share our story to inspire others incase there might be a mother Giovanni that needs motivation. I graduated from LMU in 2015 and now finish up grad school. I dedicated my life to service by re-founding the surfing program and committing to work in public office to serve our country and work at the highest office that I am called for. Now, I am working on my mentor’s 3rd and final wish. I just finished writing a feature film script, book draft and pitch in honor of my mentor’s commitment to change my life. I am excited to share our story with large audiences soon as the stars hopefully align with the literally work that I just finished up.

Film Link:
https://vimeo.com/263390516
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo3lKgd97cEG

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles were definitely:

They weight loss
Adjusting to a new life as competitive surfer while living in South Central LA
Financial burdens of college
Going from Mentee to Mentor
Pitch the film story in Hollywood(current)
Financial burdens of graduate school (current)
Surfing Mentor passing (current)
Mom’s cancer journey (current)

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Youth Mentoring Connection Surfing Program story. Tell us more about the business.
I helped to re-found the program for at-risk youth similar to the program the saved my life. I worked with friends at Youth Mentoring Connect to help re-found the surfing and mentor program. Today we are in our 8th year. The program brings kids from Compton, Watt, South Central, East LA and all over southern California to the beach. We provide the at-risk youth with three elements that saved my life consisting of the joy of surfing, mentoring and a loving community. Our non-profit work with inner-city youth has been used as an example by government representatives for programs highlighting the core value of keeping youth away from the jail system and to further become contributing members off society. Outside of being on the beach, I have been called to the California State Capital to testify on the floor of the Assembly and Senate for legislation in favor to reduce youth incarceration. In addition, I have been working on literally project and script that highlight the work we do and to share our story with larger audiences.

Please see the links below for part of my speeches working with government officials to help decrease youth incarceration for the State of California.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1_mA2Vhp00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97qUpoUN1FQ
https://vimeo.com/279715287/5610fa2dde (Please fast forward to 6:50)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmE_1sWDy6Y (Please fast forward to 1:17)

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We have being asked to replicate our model nationally and internationally as well.

Contact Info:

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