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What We Do

We are a new one-day field trip service for children from underrepresented communities, on a mission to provide a unique experience of both surfing and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).

We believe great things happen when young people develop a love of nature and science. Our goal is to empower kids to explore the joy of surfing and experience thrill of STEAM in a whole new way, in one day.

We believe that the time has come to provide access to surfing and STEAM in a fresh, fun, high-value way for kids of color and youth from underrepresented communities. And we believe that when people are having fun and exploring new activities and new domains they “forget” that they are learning.


Drop In Coalition is a new charitable organization co-founded by Ben Rewis and Nisha Atre Richardson, in memory of Tushar Atre (1969 – 2019), whose life was tragically cut short.  At the age of eleven, Tushar attended a wood-working camp.  That experience led to a lifetime love of design and building.  Tushar was also an avid mountain biker and surfer.  He was known to say, “I moved to Santa Cruz for the mountain biking but stayed for the surfing.”  Using our Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, location as a center for instruction and conversations, we aim to have kids experience nature’s flow as Tushar did.  Through surfing, STEAM instruction and conversations that bring diversity to the forefront, Drop In aims to empower kids of every ethnicity, gender and orientation.


To develop empowered learners who leverage the stoke of nature’s flow to build creative confidence, amplify collaborative problem solving skills, and generate positive outcomes in their world.


Open and Inclusive: Keep our hearts and minds open to the infinite ways that individuals get their stoke. Honor and celebrate this diversity, and strive to bring others who have not traditionally been granted access to opportunities, into the fold. 


Strive to work hard, aspire to great things, represent the best version of ourselves, and be outstanding in honor of the man for whose memory Drop In Coalition was founded: our beloved brother Tushar Atre, who lived a life with generosity of spirit and love, and who derived his own stoke from encouraging excellence in others.


To level the playing field for participants in our programs, especially those who have been systematically underrepresented or disadvantaged, and to help them achieve their life goals through work, play, love and convening with nature.


Emphatically focus on bringing light and love into the world. We will always strive to turn away from hate and towards love, no matter the circumstances. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Bring radical transparency to all interactions. Live in alignment with our deepest values in every moment, and be consistent in who we are and how we operate and present ourselves to the world. Share our successes and build on our setbacks as powerful opportunities for learning, growth, and change making.

Symbolism of the octopus

After Tushar was killed, his friends and family experienced several signs of Tushar’s spirit represented by an octopus. Octopuses are canny, seriously intelligent, sensitive and design-oriented creatures that continue to surprise and fascinate researchers. Drop In Coalition’s octopus is thoughtful, multi-faceted, able and always curious: inspired by Tushar’s spirit.


What is Stoke?

Sure, we can look to the dictionary for the word’s roots: it’s from the 1600’s Dutch word stoken, which means to poke a fire with a stoc – a stick, or stump. That led to tools for stirring up flames being called ‘stokers’ in English, and the act of doing so, ‘to stoke’.

That’s the origin of stoke… but the beautiful, inevitable thing about language is that it’s never static. People and cultures will always grab words, take them to new places and make them mean something more. Surfers in the 1950s in the US and Australia began using stoke to describe the exhilaration they derived from being outdoors, the happiness they felt when seeing good friends and sharing experiences, and the adrenaline-charged thrill they got from harnessing and riding one of nature’s most primal forces: the ocean.

Stoke, to all those who know the feeling, just means feeling good. Well, really, really good! Awed, inspired, energised, thrilled, ecstatic, and overjoyed. And it can be just about anything that gets you stoked: riding a great wave, mastering a new skill, reconnecting with a good friend, hearing your favorite team just won…or learning something about the world, or yourself, that you didn’t know before which just seems to fit, and feel right.

So, at Drop In Coalition, our mission is to get you stoked: through surfing, through learning, through conversation, through pushing beyond the confines of what you think you are capable of. When we tried to create one of those acronyms that self-help manuals adore, we found that stoke just meant too many things. But here are some ways to help you appreciate what experiencing the stoke of nature’s flow might involve:

  • Self-esteem, Soulfulness and Smiles. Simple! 
  • Tenacity and Thankfulness. Discovering the Truth. 
  • Optimism, Openness and Originality. 
  • Kindred-spirits to learn and play with, Kind-heartedness, Kids – and grown-ups who are forever Kids at heart.
  • Empowerment, Earth-mindedness, Empathic and heck, Energy. High energy!
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