Winning month for Waves for Change

WATER THERAPY: Waves for Change pupils participate in a session involving immersion therapy and surfing skills. Picture: TAMMY FRAY

Waves for Change, a national organization aimed at providing mental health support for vulnerable youth through surfing, was awarded the sport for health recognition award at the Laureus Sport for Good Summit on October 22.

The award recognizes the progress that Waves for change teams across the country have made in the mental health space. In addition to the award, local Waves for Change coaches Tee-Ann Lawrence and Liaan Ali graduated with qualifications in sports administration funded by Waves for Change through Laureus Sport for Good.

Laureus Sport for Good is an international organization aimed at working with vulnerable youth by using sport as a medium. Lawrence said the award was a testament to the efficacy of the approach Waves for Change employed.

“It goes to show the curriculum is effective and provides many kids with coping mechanisms they can use to overcome many challenges,” she said. “We have seen kids make healthier decisions, becoming leaders in school and encouraging each other.

“One of the tools we teach the kids is called a take 5.

“We have seen and had feedback from champion teachers who assist us in picking children for the program say the kids use this tool whenever they are not feeling good, having a bad day, or are angry, to help calm themselves down and be in a better mental space.

“This shows the coaches that their hard work on a daily basis is contributing to a greater need for the under-resourced communities.”

Pierre Fray, head mentor at the Waves for Change East London office, confirmed that more schools would be joining Waves for Change in 2023 and that every year the organization had been able to empower more young people with skills and qualifications, Lawrence and Ali amongst them.

Both the coaches hope to use their new qualifications to further develop social institutions such as Waves for Change so that needed mental health support is able to reach more people.

“With my sports admin qualification, my aim is to move onto sports management, using law and the sports qualifications to follow a career path in sports advocacy,” Ali said.


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