Using a Community Grant, you could support vulnerable kids in your community
Communities have a vital role to play in helping kids and teens, and Australia Post Community Grants can support those roles. We speak to a community group that’s boosting the mental wellbeing of vulnerable kids in a powerful, but unusual, way.
Video: The Australia Post logo sits in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Waves roll onto a wide golden beach.
Text reads, "Introducing SalTy Souls: a 2020 Australia Post Community Grant Recipient."
People wade, swim and surf in the sea. A blonde woman wearing a SalTy Souls shirt is interviewed. Text: Tamara Smith, Co-founder of SalTy Souls Legacy.
Boys and girls wearing SalTy Souls T-shirts hold surfboards. A black marquee is emblazoned "www.saltysoulslegacy.org. A table under the marquee holds food and sunscreen. On the beach, children sit on boards. In the low surf, they practice getting to their feet on surfboards.
Audio: Tamara Smith: SalTy Souls Legacy offers underprivileged young people a six-week learn-to-surf and we also provide them the surfing equipment to continue on and a surfboard of their very own. Our mission is to make sure that all children from vulnerable families, disadvantaged backgrounds, all get the same opportunity and can re-engage into a community. We have so many children, from being bullied to children with autism, cerebral palsy. But no matter what, they're just gaining this new self-confidence and it just helps them to have better role models and hopefully, then, better life choices.
Video: A child paddles out to sea. A man in a cap is interviewed. Text: Craig Scrase, Member of SalTy Souls Community.
On the beach, adults talk with kids. A participant speeds along a wave.
Audio: Craig Scrase: The child that I look after, Dan, was making some poor choices and SalTy Souls came along as an opportunity for him to just experience a better way in life and see better people and better surroundings and just enjoy his environment.
Video: Adults and kids head into the ocean with their boards. Kids paddle out and surf in. Two kids grip hands and bump shoulders.
Audio: Tamara Smith: We have mentors, counsellors, caseworkers who are actually all part of it, so they're having these informal discussions with the children. They've all got their own stories and they've all got their own journeys but they're able to connect through SalTy Souls.
Video: A blonde woman in a pink top is interviewed. Text: Jane Ciesiolka, Member of SalTy Souls Community.
Audio: Jane Ciesiolka: I think 'cause we're new to the area, it was like a big family. And living on the beach, you learn to surf, which he wouldn't have had the opportunity to.
Video: On the beach, Tamara chats with a woman and a teen. Her interview continues. Lying on his board, a small boy rides through frothing water. Kids carry their boards from the water. They eat fish and chips under the marquee. A boy riding a surfboard raises his hands high for the camera. A girl riding on her stomach smiles and gives a thumbs-up. Kids head into the water with their boards.
Audio: Tamara Smith: Just the feedback that we get from the parents - how we are changing their lives, they're performing better at school. SalTy Souls runs through our veins, and it's with the help and support from Australia Post that creates these opportunities for these kids. We need these funds to get those kids standing tall. When you look at them on a wave and you see their faces light up or you see them just walking their board down to the beach and running into that water, you can take pride in knowing that you created this. Because of you, they will stand tall.
Video: In the shallows a boy stands up on his board. A boy is interviewed on the beach. He rides a wave.
Audio: Boy: It's just a loving community and everyone's always here for you.
Tamara Smith: Thank you, Australia Post, for our 2020 Community Grant.
Video: In the surf, bigger kids check on smaller kids. The whole group wave from the beach.
Audio: SalTy Souls Group: When we connect, we feel better!
Video: The white Australia Post logo appears on a red screen. Text: austpost.com.au/grants.
Many people think that surfing is simply the art of riding waves.
For those in the know, the sport goes much further than that. The power of surfing and its therapeutic benefits is a secret that is being shared widely in some communities: the pride of learning to stand on a surfboard for the first time, the peacefulness of catching a wave, and the connections that can be made through this mutual interest.
There are few who know the possibilities of surfing more than the volunteers who operate SalTy Souls Legacy (known as SalTy Souls).
The organisation runs a six-week surfing program called Stand Tall, where vulnerable children and teenagers on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast learn positive mental health strategies and re-engage with the community through learning to surf.
SalTy Souls use surfing to help boost mental wellbeing in their community.
Providing access to surf therapy for kids
The founders of SalTy Souls started the organisation in memory of their brother, Tyler, who died in a tragic accident at the age of 31 while on holiday. Tyler was a keen surfer and had always wanted to start a surf school. His family are proud to carry on his dream, knowing that surfing had been an outlet for their brother, and could be for many others.
Stand Tall provides young people with the chance to be part of a community, gives them a sense of belonging, and it provides a healthy outlet that improves mental health.
“Our mission is to make sure that children from vulnerable families and disadvantaged backgrounds get the same opportunity, and can re-engage into a community,” says Tamara Smith, Co-founder of SalTy Souls Legacy.
“We have so many children, from those being bullied to children with autism and cerebral palsy,” says Tamara. They also support children with trauma backgrounds, mental illness, those in foster care, victims of domestic violence, and more. “But no matter what, they’re gaining this new self-confidence and it helps them to have better role models and hopefully, then, better life choices.”
As well as surfing, the program provides access to further support where it’s needed. Tamara explains, “We have mentors, counsellors and case workers who are actually all part of the Stand Tall program. They’re having these informal discussions with the children.”
“The feedback we get from parents and carers is that we’re changing their lives.”
SalTy Souls have found that surfing can boost self-confidence for kids and teens.
Continuing to connect after the program
The Australia Post Community Grant enabled more children to participate in the Stand Tall program
The program has helped kids and their families connect with the local surfing community, with kids being given tools and strategies to support their mental health now and into the future. “They’ve all got their own stories, and they’ve all got their own journeys, but they’re able to connect through SalTy Souls,” says Tamara.