There is nothing more empowering than student voice. This is what Cameron, Grade 7 at Northern Bay College, had to say about the Kids Thrive program. “We are so fortunate to have had this program at Wexford, so the kids have an opportunity to make a change in the community. If we didn’t have this program us kids would never have known that we can make a change in the community or have an impact on people in the community such as the elderly and new refugees to Australia.
“It’s up to this generation of kids to continue on giving to the community like the older generation and to make an even bigger impact than the older generation.
“We can make changes to others and the environment. It was such an amazing experience. I would now be happy to volunteer to help others make a change.”
Teacher Ros adds “For me, the greatest joy and satisfaction was seeing the students developing amazing, positive relationships with their Community Partners with whom they developed their Community Action to make a change.
“Students develop lifelong skills of leadership, resilience, collaboration and respect and grow in their belief and their capacity to drive positive change.”
Community leaders in Geelong are urged to get involved with this program at Northern Bay College aimed at inspiring and empowering students to become the community change makers of tomorrow.
The Kids as Catalyst program is a schools-based philanthropy initiative for children aged 8-12, run by not-for-profit, Kids Thrive. It is a two-phase, 16-week social action program where children begin their work in the classroom then step out into the community to lead local change.
“This is your chance to work alongside our newest generation of local volunteers and philanthropists to help you get what you need,” says Kids Thrive Founder and Director, Andrea Rieniets.
Tallis St Campus Principal, Lisha Nash continues “I urge community partners to link in with this program. It is a mutually beneficial program that will directly contribute to your work as well as help in the development of young people.”
The program is about to commence its second year at the College. It requires a commitment of around 13 hours over four months and participation in several face-to-face meetings.
Last year’s programs saw students select issues ranging from welcoming new migrants to protecting endangered wildlife, putting into practice values such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering. Partners working with communities of all types in Geelong are invited to participate.
In 2017 the program received the VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award.
For more information contact Jo Grimsey – firstname.lastname@example.org
Story and photo: Jacqui Bennett