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Jefferson Award winner shares DC experience

Phil Jackson giving a speech about Surf Dreams Foundation at the National Jefferson Awards Foundation Ceremony. (Pic: WPDE)

Our nominee for the Jefferson Award is back from Washington D.C. after attending the national awards ceremony.

While Phil Jackson did not win the top prize, he is thankful to let more people know about Surf Dreams Foundation.

"Surf Dreams Foundation was formed in 2014 to make sure kids in our surfing community had opporunties to keep them from going down the same path that I did," said Phil Jackson, while giving a speech at the National Jefferson Awards Foundation Ceremony.

"I got up and did my one minute speech, and I was kind of out of my comfort zone, but we made it happen," said Jackson.

"Twelve years ago I was nearly homeless, hooked on crack, cocaine, crystal meth, and pot. I made a living selling drugs in my youth and I was an avid surfer traveling from competition to competition trying to make a name for myself in the surfing community," said Jackson, in the speech.

"We just want to make surfing more noticeable, and realize that surfing does save lives," said Jackson.

Phil Jackson says his trip to Washington D.C. for the National Jefferson Awards Foundation Ceremony was an unforgettable opportunity.

"We let everybody know about Surf Dreams Foundation."

He is so proud of what his non-profit Surf Dreams has become.

"Kids who started in our program in 2014, now they're growing up to be teenagers and we're seeing that difference as they go along," said Jackson.

Since 2014, he has taught more than 1,000 kids how to surf.

But it is the personal growth inside of them that makes him feel accomplished.

"There are platforms out there in the sport of surfing for kids to make a change in themselves, in their family, and in the community," said Jackson.

A mission he will continue to be dedicated to.

"I'm not in it for the recognition. I'm in it to see these kids smile."

To nominate a member of your community for the Jefferson Award click here.

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