The first promotion of the Wave Alliance LATAM was formed. Surftherapy begins to grow in the region

Alto Peru and Waves for Change join forces to train organizations using Surf as mental health therapy for girls, boys and adolescents in the country and the region

In 2018, two people from ALTO traveled to South Africa to learn the Surf Therapy methodology, promoted by the Waves for Change organization, which seeks to generate mental well-being in children and adolescents through surfing. But it is not just about going to the beach and playing sports, the intervention is designed to provide a safe space, with adult caregivers who motivate children to overcome challenging and fun activities (such as surfing, skateboarding or playing soccer). Using collective games and taking advantage of contact with nature and sports, is a therapy that anyone would love.

After this experience and training in the methodology, we became part of the Wave Alliance, an alliance between organizations from different parts of the world that work promoting the mental health of children and young people through surfing (and other sports).

After successfully implementing the Surftherapy program in Peru, we were invited by Waves for Change to train other organizations in Latin America, to generate a solid network in our region, to have more Surf Therapy programs offering fun, accessible and evidence-based therapy in this part of the world.

Thus, from August 2 to 13 of this year we carried out the first Surf Therapy Training Program in Latin America, with the participation of organizations from Peru, Chile and Colombia; Among which are: Share de Wave from Trujillo, Puemape Planet from Pacasmayo, Waves Lobitos from Piura, Negritos LaBrea de Talara Association, Niños del Arcoiris from Cusco (who will implement the methodology using soccer), Club TotoDrake from Chile and Fundation Buen Punto from Colombia.

During the two intense weeks of learning and work, the participants were able to meet and share experiences on different topics, some of these were: measurement and evaluation of social impact programs, mental health, positive adolescent development, nervous system; as well as identifying challenging situations that the children of their communities go through and how these affect their physical, social and emotional health. Strategies were also developed to generate a safe space, which is vitally important to form future free and safe citizens.

Now, they have returned to their communities and have a mission to implement their programs incorporating the lessons learned together. We are sure that they will do it in the best way, and as part of the Wave Alliance, they will continue to receive support from us and from Waves For Change to provide an effective and quality service. Because that is what this alliance is about, to generate collective impact and share learning to positively impact the mental health of the participants.

This was an opportunity to inspire each other and recognize how important our work is in the communities where we are located, where access to mental health is zero, where there are few positive references and safe spaces for the little ones. Now there is a long way to go to consolidate this alliance, to continue growing, learning and reaching more communities. We will continue working and sharing what we have learned.