Paula Yarrow

Job role: 
Global Development Director
Member type: 
Brief Biography: 

In W4C Surf Therapy programmes, we train, support and supervise local Caring Coaches who combine surfing with evidence-based, trauma informed, psychosocial education activities. Our Surf Therapy programmes engage children from 40 high risk ocean-side communities and are organised across 5 best practice beach hubs. Our Surf Therapy programmes are proven to strengthen key mechanisms for self-regulation and wellbeing, known to be affected by poverty and adversity. These include reducing impulsivity, improving emotional regulation and social connection to positive peer groups, and supporting goal directed behaviour. These outcomes, with additional improvements to general wellbeing, support positive behaviour change and reduce risk of developing mental health disorders through adolescence into adulthood.

W4C Systems Change Partnerships engage organisations and individuals that are already delivering group-based physical activity programmes to children and youth in the most at risk communities, and would like to formalise and strengthen their mental health promotion offering. Via a combination of face to face and digital learning, we support organisations and coaches to strengthen essential pillars of their existing programmes, and integrate key trauma informed principles, to yield better mental health outcomes for children. At present, we have worked with 35 international partners and have qualitative evidence that our partnerships improve organisation structure and resilience, coach confidence and session structure, and overall child wellbeing.

Regions of interest: 
Children and adolescents
Disorders of interest: 
Child behavioural and developmental disorders
Depression/anxiety/stress-related disorders
South Africa

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