When kids help kids – The beauty in giving back through The Wave Young Adults’ Programs
At The Wave, our treatment programs for teenagers and young adults include time volunteering on community projects.
These projects are organised through The Wave Trust, which champions a wide range of community initiatives, through service to others, and plays a significant role in life at The Wave.
Our teenagers, young adults and families travel to us from every corner of the planet. For many of them, it is not only their first visit to Malaysia but also the first experience that they have had in Asia.
They travel to The Wave Clinic for programs that have a medical focus, therapeutic excellence and that are just a bit different. The Wave Trust is one of the ways that we encourage our young people to play a part in their recovery.
Our families usually arrive exhausted, often with many less than successful treatment attempts behind them. Often they feel there has been little hope and no light at the end of the tunnel. They are looking for an innovative program to build trust and hope that life can be harmonious again.
Many of the young people who arrive with us have experienced significant trauma, have been confronted by the challenges that food and body issues bring and/or have been diagnosed with eating disorders, addiction, mood disorders, bipolar disorder or other serious mental illness.
They choose to make the trip to Asia to embrace programs that inspire young people in recovery.
Asia is remarkable. It is vibrant, colourful, exciting and bustling, the home of wellness.
The East, and the magic that can be found in the ancient practices of yoga and mindfulness, are on our doorstep. We become friends with the monkeys, the monitor lizards and an assortment of jungle creatures. We are very blessed.
Community Projects in Malaysia
We are also aware that Malaysia has needs in some sectors of the community.
In common with our neighbours in South East Asia, there are some families for whom life produces daily challenges. Economic challenges, financial challenges and education challenges.
Malaysia is home to many families who identify themselves as having refugee status. Many have escaped from traumatic homes and have little income, some without legal status.
The global impact of COVID 19 has made this more difficult for many already on the fringes of the community.
There are immediate challenges in providing resources for many of these families, including food, learning opportunities and life-skills training.
The Wave Trust Initiatives
Lending a helping hand in our adopted home has been one of our goals since we identified the core values of The Wave Programs for Teenagers and Young Adults in 2018.
Malek and I enjoy working with families and young people. We are also aware that not all young people have the opportunities and second chances that our patients’ families are able to provide.
We can provide the very best support in mental health, education and experiences our patients’ families are all committed to doing whatever it takes to make the changes needed.
For other young people, there is nobody to make that pledge or provide the extensive financial resources needed to access treatment. We also know that we stay well by staying humble and by giving without the need to receive.
We know that humility and connection can sometimes be set aside as we strive to deal with our own difficulties and that being able to give to others is a step on the path to rebuilding relationships.
The Wave Programs have been designed to produce caring global citizens. Young people who can commit to seeing and hearing the needs of others. Young people who are able to pause, consider and provide an empathetic understanding of the needs of others.
Our Programs for Teenagers and Young Adults combine volunteering together with therapy and education to encourage philanthropic endeavours as part of the treatment plan.
Assisting in Charitable Schools
Our current project is a three-month commitment to provide educational support to a group of charitable schools. We commit our time, resources and enthusiasm in teaching and assisting children from aged six and upwards.
We design mini-lesson plans, help with homework, jump start English language skills, bake and laugh with children who are delighted to see us every week.
We fund the learning materials, bring some colour and get to try out new skills.
Our young adults are all on a journey of their own. Sometimes they have experienced a great deal of turmoil. Often they have first-hand knowledge of mental health crisis or fractured education.
The spirit and understanding that they are able to share leaves us beaming with pride.
Our current project was arranged and is supervised by Ashleigh Murray or ‘Ash’, as she is affectionately known.
Ash has sustained recovery, and that has led to a change of career focus. Ash is a qualified Trauma-Informed Holistic Practitioner in Reiki and is currently completing the final Assessments in advanced TRE training.
She has many other interesting aspects to her continued development, including Trauma-Focused Yoga.
Ash is remarkable at leading The Wave Trust program.
We know that this aspect of life at The Wave is just one of the elements of our programs that step outside of the usual treatment program ‘box’. We wanted to be different.
We wanted to create programs that left our young people with the skills and friendships to take living to the next level. We wanted fun, friendship and exceptional medical and therapeutic care. The Wave Trust was one of the ways that we brought our vision to life.
Over the coming months, The Wave Trust will be painting dog kennels and providing homes for abandoned animals. We will be completing our project of blanket making, knitting and producing care kits for mothers and new babies and distributing Baskets of Hope to those with increased needs.
We are creating organic gardens which will help us to distribute and share our resources with our neighbours.
We love to work with young people and families who are prepared to go the extra mile (literally) for recovery from eating disorders, trauma, Borderline Personality Disorder, addiction and other serious mental health presentations. Volunteering, giving back, creating family values, that is why The Wave is a home filled with heart.
If you would like to become involved in our projects or lend a paintbrush or two, feel free to reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ash would be interested in hearing from you if you have a project that you feel we could help with.
Fiona Yassin is The International Families Director at The Wave Young Adults in Kuala Lumpur. Fellow of APPCH, FDAP, ANZMH, Member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, Family and Adolescent Trauma Professional, An Accredited Supervisor of Clinicians (UNCG), EMDR (in consultation), with an interest in BPD and Eating Disorders and PCOS/Eating disorders.
Malek Yassin is the Treatment Director at The Wave Clinic. He is an accredited member of The International Trauma Institute, FDAP, Fellow of APPCH, ANZMH, EMDR (in consultation). Accredited Adolescent Trauma Professional Addiction Specialist.