What happens when you combine a passionate work ethic with a positive outlook on life? For sisters Tedi ’08 and Sonya ’10 Serge, the result is a budding business in Southern California that focuses on a healthy “aloha” lifestyle, self esteem and fun. After Tedi and Sonya earned degrees in elementary education and advertising/public relations, respectively, they joined forces to form Sand Sisters Los Angeles. Sand Sisters is an exclusive beach program that gives children ages 6 to 12 the opportunity to engage in water sports, games, crafts and most importantly, build themselves and each other up from the inside out.

Tedi credits her Pi Beta Phi sisters for inspiring the “girl power” attitude of Sand Sisters, which is all about friendship and confidence. She has spent over ten years working with children, including lifeguarding and teaching. Tedi moved back to her native California with the intention of teaching at an elementary school. During this time, she received a serendipitous opportunity to learn to surf in Costa Rica, where her passion for the water and being active increased exponentially.

After some time in the classroom, Tedi could no longer ignore the call of the ocean and decided to finally put her passion to work. “Growing up,” Tedi says, “we always dreamed of starting our own business together.” In 2013, Sonya joined Sand Sisters and the two run the program together. During the winter, when Sand Sisters is not hitting the beach for fun in the sun, Tedi is a director at a private school.

Sonya was motivated by the Drury communications department to make a difference, and once she graduated, she worked in the music entertainment industry in California before joining Tedi. “I was very fortunate to break into the industry so young,” says Sonya, who was one of the youngest at her company. With Sand Sisters, she is primarily behind the scenes, but she also takes advantage of her zeal for children and water. She has experience as a lifeguard, coach and nanny and enjoys shaping boys and girls into influential, empowered members of the community. As Sand Sisters expands in 2014, Tedi explains that their goal will always be to give children, especially young girls, “a fighting chance to make a difference.