After watching her dad struggling with mental health, all her life, and then finally losing him to suicide due to his mental health issues, Louise wanted to make a positive change for children so they didn’t suffer as her dad did. I met with the bubbly, dedicated, Louise Larkin of ‘Friend in Me’ to hear her inspirational story.
“I’ve always been a positive change maker and I have an immense passion to make a difference in the world.
“Three years ago, whilst driving to work, I heard a devastated mum call up the local radio station, saddened that her little boy had never been invited to a party before. I was so moved, that was the day, Friend in Me was born. That year, in 2017, I put on a huge successful event for children who had never been invited to a party before. You should have seen the joy on their faces and their parents. We aim to create a socially inclusive world where no child is left behind.
“Friend in Me is a not-for-profit organisation with an amazingly supportive board. Our mission is enhancing social inclusion and promoting kindness in childhood in an effort to break the cycle of mental health issues that derives from being ostracised from society. We create sensory friendly events and programs, virtual parties, we connect families & communities and promote acceptance & inclusion. We have a range of Superheroes and Princesses who interact with the children to bring so much joy.
“Friend in Me, now its 3rd year, is still making a difference to children to promote inclusion and acceptance and make sure that no child is left behind or that hopefully, they never develop mental health issues in the future, because they feel loved, connected and included.” https://www.friendinme.org.au/
Covid has temporarily stopped the face to face events but Friend in Me is doing endless online birthday parties and celebrations to bring much needed joy to little ones, during these strange times. For example, having read @humansingeelong’s story about the McElliott family, Louise and Friend in Me have been bringing much-needed joy to their children.
Friend in Me is also working on an educational arm to promote social inclusion for everyone.
If you’d like to get in touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Supplied