Sitting in a federal prison, the toughest part for Babylon native Linda Argila was being away from her then 9-year-old daughter.
At the time, Ms. Argila, who served one year for harboring her ex-boyfriend when he was wanted on drug charges in the early ’90s, had a vision—that she would use her experience to help other women forced to be apart from their children during incarceration.
Now, 13 years later, Ms. Argila is a professional fundraiser. She is organizing her fourth annual Dream Extreme event on the East End, a kiteboarding clinic at Napeague to raise money to support domestic violence victims and incarcerated mothers.
“I am an advocate for incarcerated women, and children who are in the foster care system,” Ms. Argila said this week. “Dream Extreme was originally created to empower women through the sport of kiteboarding, and this year men can participate, too. It is a very empowering weekend with a lot of fun activities.”
The two-day event, scheduled for September 21-22, will feature a kiteboarding clinic led by nine-time world kiteboarding champion Kristen Boese and other world-class kiteboarders both days. On Saturday night, roughly 200 people will attend a dinner party and silent auction at Trata Hamptons in Water Mill. Other activities throughout the weekend include standup paddleboarding, kayaking, yoga and massages. All proceeds from the event will go to a Manhattan-based not-for-profit, Steps to End Family Violence.
“It is exciting to do something so unique,” founder of Steps to End Family Violence Sister Mary Nerney said last week. “I think that is what is wonderful about this because fundraising is always hard, and our program needs it, this is so wonderful because it is so unique.”
Stops to End Family Violence is dedicated to educating families and communities about protection from violence, promoting healing among victims and promoting understanding of domestic violence. According to statistics provided by Sister Mary, each day more than 1,000 New Yorkers seek emergency housing in shelters because of domestic violence, and over 60 percent of them are children.
The kiteboarding event will raise awareness of victims of domestic violence as well as raising money to fund therapy services for women and children who have been abused and for women who have been incarcerated. According to Sister Mary, she has found that in many instances, women who end up in jail have been victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, which is how she began working with them.
Although Sister Mary said this week she will not be riding a kiteboard at the event, she said she is excited to go and support the fundraiser from the sand.
“I am very glad to be able to walk on land, one foot in front of the other,” she laughed. “Kiteboarding is definitely not in my lifetime, but I will enjoy seeing other people enjoying themselves and learning new skills while raising money.”
When asked how she came up with the idea for a kiteboarding fundraiser, Ms. Argila said she took up kiteboarding several years ago as a sport and was “seduced by the wind.” Through her travels and interest in the sport, she first developed the idea, and four years ago, the first Dream Extreme event was held in the Hamptons.
To date, the event has raised $400,000 for Sister Mary and her foundation. So far, the group has collected $150,000 for this year’s event through ticket sales and private donations.
To raise awareness of the event, in May, Ms. Argila rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
“I had a vision and vowed that when I came home I would help other children and families that were less fortunate and that is what I did,” she said. “I started this project to not only raise money for people, but to help them.”
The kiteboarding clinic will start at about 9 a.m. on Napeague Harbor at the end of Lazy Point Road in Amagansett. More information can be found at challengetotriumph.com.