JMMF Surf Therapy Program - The Communities

Wounded Warriors Program

The Jimmy Miller Foundation currently serves Marines of the Wounded Warrior Battalion West at Camp Pendleton with unique, year-round Surf Therapy sessions. Held on base at Camp Pendleton, the Surf Therapy sessions provide the Marines with an opportunity to learn to surf in a supportive environment, while focusing on the therapeutic benefits of the ocean, the sport of surfing and the supportive community surrounding the surf culture.

Other aims of the program, through a protocol led by a clinical therapist, are increased perceived self-efficacy, patient advocacy and the process of recovery. Through the Surf Therapy program, the Marines are first taught the basics of surfing on-land and then learn to surf with a personalized surf instructor in the water. The sport is adapted to meet any and all limiting physical and/or emotional challenges, so that every participant is successful. The supportive environment coupled with the resilience and physical aptitude of the Marines, lends itself to some of the most miraculous novice surfing skills ever witnessed. Some of the common responses from the Marines include, “This is the best day I’ve had since my injury”, “This [surfing] is curing my PTSD”, and “Surfing saved my life”. Sessions occur twice per month on base at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA.

For more information about the WWBw, please visit:
https://www.woundedwarrior.marines.mil/WWBn-W/

At-Risk Youth Program

The Jimmy Miller Foundation provides a unique Ocean Therapy experience for youth labeled At-Risk in the Los Angeles area. The Ocean Therapy sessions provide individual surfing instruction, water safety education, body surfing instruction and sometimes just sand castle building. As our Director states, “we will meet the (youth) participants where they are at”. The goal of the session is to build a sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence in the participants through clinical psychology group-based discussions and team connection. The unique volunteer community created through the JMMF also supports the therapeutic experience for each participant. The youth who attend Ocean Therapy sessions have had a variety of challenges in their lives, some of which include physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse.

The participating organizations include: Uplift Family Services; Hillsides of Pasadena; Children’s Institute; Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services; Happy Trails Children’s Foundation; Walk With Sally; DiDi Hirsch and Just Keep Living.
Each of these organizations are dedicated to creating enriched, successful and supported lives for the community they serve, and have endorsed the JMMF Ocean Therapy sessions as one of their most successful programs. Sessions are held on the beach at Rosecrans Ave in Manhattan Beach, CA.

For more Information about each of the populations, please visit:

Richstone Family Center
www.richstonefamily.org
Uplift Family Services – Hollygrove
upliftfs.org/about/hollygrove/
Hillsides
www.hillsides.org
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
www.didihirsch.org
Walk With Sally
www.walkwithsally.org
Just Keep Livin Foundation
www.jklivinfoundation.org
Children’s Institute
www.childrensinstitute.org
Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services
www.hathaway-sycamores.org/
Happy Trails Children’s Foundation
www.happytrails.org

Veterans Program

In 2008, the Ocean Therapy program was adapted to serve inpatient veterans of all conflicts at the VA Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs (GLAVA) healthcare system and was later expanded to serve outpatient Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans. Dr. Carly Rogers returned to USC to complete her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy with a residency at GLAVA, where she conducted a research study on the feasibility of Surf Therapy for OEF and OIF veterans, which is published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (REF).

The groups for these sessions include veterans from all wars and from all branches of the service. The veterans’ ages range from 18 to 70 and each vet brings a personal story to share with JMMF as they learn to surf and reconnect with the joy of being in the ocean.

Currently, JMMF works with several Veteran organizations throughout Southern California in addition to GLAVA. We also serve the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station with Surf Therapy sessions in La Jolla Shores and the Veterans Village of San Diego in Coronado, CA. As with all other Ocean Therapy sessions, JMMF provides the vets the opportunity to learn to surf in a supportive environment, while focusing on the therapeutic benefits of the ocean, the sport of surfing and the supportive surf community. JMMF has also instituted one of the first ever “all women veteran surf groups” in the country and the success of that program has increased each year it has been offered.
Nicholas Perdomo, a Veteran (who worked with the first-ever Ph.D. in Surf Therapy Candidate, Jamie Marshall, who began his Ph.D. work with JMMF in 2018) has surfed with JMMF for the past 3-years; for him, “Ocean Therapy has given me a sense of community, to be a part of something greater. Life was small and I had trouble connecting with anyone, now I have an avenue to be with others walking the same path. I am grateful that I have found this new way of life…”

For more Information about each of the populations, please visit:

Warrior Foundation Freedom Station
https://warriorfoundation.org

Veterans Village of San Diego
https://vvsd.net/

Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs
https://www.losangeles.va.gov/

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