Roots of Change is a storytelling platform dedicated to the Alumni community of The Funding Network Australia. Here we share their stories of ingenuity, courage, determination, spirit, growth and the impact these grassroots organisations have had, as a direct result of funds and support received from The Funding Network community.

Ocean Mind

Ocean Mind

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Ocean Mind provides therapeutic surf courses for young people experiencing mental health issues, social isolation and/or disabilities

By using a mix of evidence-based surf therapy and mentoring courses, they create a therapeutic environment for young people to challenge themselves, improve resilience and self-confidence, and strengthen relationships with family, friends and the broader community.

2018 Pitch

Funds raised: $22,400

Rachel was raising funds to buy needed equipment for Ocean Mind, an organisation that provides therapeutic surfing courses to engage and mentor young people experiencing mental health issues, have a disability or be at risk of social isolation. 

The impact…

Rachael spoke about how when she sees young people riding their first wave, they aren’t just surfing back to shore but back into life. Ocean Mind provides evidence-based therapeutic surf courses for young people experiencing poor mental health. This is achieved through mentorship, and a community environment that encourages team-work, communication and physical activity.

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They were pitching for more wetsuits and surfboards, however this need was met through a sponsorship arrangement with a local surf shop. So the funding was used on staff expenses - allowing them to run additional programs benefiting 20 extra young people. Young people like James*, who we meet below.


“James* came to the program with so much energy he couldn’t sit still. He was a little energiser bunny but often got in trouble at school and at home. James has Autism and struggles to regulate his emotions. Starting the Ocean Mind program, he took to the water like a fish but for two weeks told us he couldn't stand up and just cruised along on his knees.

James came from a family where he was often told off and told he could not do things. He had a self-belief that he did everything wrong so he couldn't do this either.

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James' mentor helped him take small steps each wave. I can still remember the moment he stood up on his first wave. It was at Urquharts Bluff, he rode that wave all the way to shore. His face when he turned around was one of excitement and disbelief. He did it. He did something he never thought he could. This helped change James' narrative. He achieved success and that was an important lesson for him.

In that moment and every time he surfed after that, James is changing his personal narrative from negativity to positivity, from ‘I can't’ to ‘I can’. It changed the way he viewed himself in the world. Starting the process of moving to a growth mindset which will continue to support his development through school and life” - Rachael Parker

* Name changed

Read their impact report

Learn more about Ocean Mind

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