When we met Amanda Abbott, her passion for life enveloped us. That passion is what drives her zest for adventure, and what led her to share with us all of the great ways she enjoys the gulf coast of Florida. That same passion for life bleeds into a passion for service.
In 2016, Amanda founded Paddle for Prevention, an annual event, sponsored by ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, that gets people on their paddle boards, in order to raise awareness for suicide prevention. YOLO provides the boards and all levels of paddlers are welcome.
Inspired by a high school friend who lost a parent to suicide, she feels strongly about raising awareness for mental health issues and breaking the social stigma of suicide. "It's always kind of a nice release to get out in the water. It's quiet and peaceful. You can clear your head and get in a great mental space. I wanted to share that with others so we can get more people smiling out there."
Amanda's goal for her Paddle for Prevention events is for everyone to enjoy themselves, but especially for the event to have a lasting impact. "You know people can come together and feel safe talking about the person they lost, or the struggle they have on their own. I think the more we do that, the healthier our community can be."
The two Paddle for Prevention events have raised over $15,000 for educational programs about suicide as well as research and advocacy.
Seeing that she wasn't the only one who found the water therapeutic, Amanda decided to make an event like this more consistent and available to people. In June of 2017, she started Gulf Therapy, a meet-up twice a month. "Research actually shows that living near the beach can improve your health and the sound of the waves actually changes our brain waves and puts us into a mild meditative space. It has been healing for me many times, so that’s why I felt “Gulf Therapy” was a perfect name."
To learn more about Amanda Abbott, watch her mini-documentary here: