It is exciting to tell you about a new programme that our Senior School of Excellence children are involved in. United Through Sport has partnered with Waves For Change, an organisation that uses surfing as therapy and provides skills to cope with stress, regulate behaviour, build healing relationships and make positive life choices.
On the 14th August, after identifying the children that would benefit the most from this programme, we started the Friday sessions with Waves For Change where the children will be going through a 20 week programme at the beach. Before their first session, the children had mixed emotions about this programme as they could not fully understand what “surf therapy” meant and did not know what to expect. However, after being on the surf boards in their wet suits on the first session, they totally loved it and have been excitedly attending the sessions. They have also built good relationships with the mentors in the programme, and thoroughly enjoy the life skills & therapy aspects of the programme.
After a long week of school and playing sport, it is very relaxing for these youngsters to spend Friday afternoons on the beach, on a surf board and just “’talking stuff out”, as the kids put it, with their Waves For Change mentors. As we had carefully selected the children that needed this kind of programme, it is amazing to note the difference in their attitude in the past few weeks. We have seen a change in their attitude to school work as well as their behaviour in our regular after-school sessions. We totally understand that there is something special and calming about the beach, especially when you get to meditate and also learn a new skill. Surfing has obviously always been associated with a certain demographic in our country, so learning this rare skill is very empowering for these youngsters.
As this is an extra programme to coordinate, we are grateful that expenses such as transport and food for the children can be catered for by our Global Giving sponsors. We are hopeful for a long lasting relationship with Waves For Change, where we can send more children in 2018 to benefit from the surf therapy.
“I never thought I could be able to surf, and I had no idea there was such a thing as surf therapy. I honestly have only ever seen anyone surfing on TV, and it’s always boys but I am now able to stand on the surf board and hope to be able to catch big waves soon” – Nkcubeko, 14 years old, SSE Beneficiary.