Groundswell Community Project empowers women in waves
by Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard
Published - 11/10/17 - 07:15 AM | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Groundswell Community Project founder Natalie Small leads a group of women through surf therapy at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. / PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
Groundswell Community Project founder Natalie Small leads a group of women through surf therapy at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. / PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
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Natalie Small (second from right) with a group from Groundswell Community Project.
Natalie Small (second from right) with a group from Groundswell Community Project.
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Groundswell Community Project is a San Diego-based nonprofit organization that builds safe and brave spaces for women to heal, empower, and unite through the art of surfing.

Our mission at Groundswell Community Project is to let the ocean be a space for women who are overcoming personal problems to heal and to give them the opportunity to explore their own strengths,” said Natalie Small, the founder and facilitator of Groundswell Community Project.

The organization provides four- and eight-week programs for individuals and groups to engage and expand themselves through surf therapy. The programs create safe spaces for self expression, exploration, and healing for self and the community.

“I wanted to give women an opportunity to get together and be able to be children again playing and exploring their strengths. As adult women, we don’t really get to play and playing is really important,” said Small.

Small is a state-licensed marriage and family therapist and she works at a private practice for individuals, families, and couples using experiential therapies to help empower them to overcome mental disabilities like anxiety and depression. She is also a first aid arts facilitator, trained in how art can be a tool to overcome trauma and its triggers.

Six years ago, Small combined her passions and therapist skills into the Groundswell Community Project. She wanted to take her training and experience in therapy to the ocean and let the ocean be the venue for healing.

“I just see an instant transformation that occurs when the women get into the ocean and reconnect with their bodies in a positive way. It breaks down the barrier and the judgment that we hold against ourselves and each other, and just lets us be free to connect with our soul,” said Small.

The Groundswell Community Project helps women who have been victims of sex trafficking, and who are overcoming addictions, abuse and depression.

The project’s mission is to be a creative community that allows women to embrace healing and empowerment, through bold and beautiful engagement with each other, the outdoors and the arts.

To join the team, and become a surf sister, visit groundswellcommunity.org.

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