Surfers Healing Australia
Students Louis Anderson (9/MA), Max Buist (12/MO), Patrick Fitzgerald (12/LE) and Toby Phillips (10/JN) recently spent time volunteering in support of Surfers Healing Australia at Manly and Cronulla beaches. Surfers Healing organises free surfing programs for children and families impacted by autism. Families gathered to spend time at the beach and in the water for one-to-one surf lessons with volunteers and professional surfers. An estimated 800 Australian children with autism and their families took part in the event this year. Our Newington volunteers share about their experiences below.
How did you get involved in this volunteer opportunity?
My Mum’s friend Christine Fitzgerald works for Australia Autism, so my Mum offered to help on the day and so I decided to take the opportunity. Louis Anderson (LA)
I got involved because of my mum. She helps run and organise these events and is heavily involved in the charity. Patrick Fitzgerald (PF)
I got involved through family friends who organise these events. When they told me about it I thought it would be a great idea. Toby Phillips (TP)
What aspects did you help with during your volunteer time?
I presented the kids with their medals when they came out of the water and helped them get ready for the water. (LA)
Throughout the day I was in the water as an aid to the surfers. My job was to help the kids on and off their boards and to ensure that they were safe in the water. (PF)
I was in the water helping the kids onto their boards, making sure that there wasn’t any serious collisions between kid and board. (TP)
Would you encourage other Newington students to get involved with this opportunity in the future?
Yes, it’s a fun day helping kids that are less fortunate. (LA)
Yes, I would highly recommend this for students in the future as it is a very rewarding experience, and it is a great day for all the families affected by autism. (PF)
I definitely would. It is a rewarding and a great bit of fun and everything that you give you get back out of the experience. (TP)
How has this experience impacted you, and the community?
This impacted me heavily as it made me feel how lucky I am compared to some of these kids and their families that have it extremely tough. It has helped me to further my skills when working and collaborating with kids who have it tough. (PF)
It’s impacted me in a way in which I [now] know that there are programs that help everyone no matter their needs. I feel as though it helps the community because the kids look forward to this day every year and cannot wait to come back next year. (TP)