Greg Roberts

Before he turned 16, Greg Roberts left school in Ballarat and trained as a potter.  A few years into his training in pottery he began practicing Tai-Chi, a form of martial arts embracing the mind, body and spirit.  Greg grew to learn the art and practiced daily.  A move to Barwon Heads from Ballarat prompted Greg to begin teaching Tai-Chi on the Bellarine Peninsula.

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At this time, Greg also began looking into other career options.  He trained in massage therapy and gained certification as a personal care attendant which saw him working closely with people in community health centres, aged care settings and disability services.  In these roles, Greg noticed that people were drawn to him to talk about their issues and concerns.  This prompted Greg to complete a Social Work degree at Deakin University.  He felt drawn to the elements of reflective practice and counselling within this profession.  During this time, he took on roles at both the Geelong Hospital and Bethany.

During a meeting at the Geelong Hospital Greg had a serendipitous moment when sitting in the cafeteria.

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Geelong Cats’ Sensory Room

In an Australian first, Geelong Cats match days and major events produced by Kardinia Park Stadium Trust are accredited as sensory inclusive at GMHBA Stadium. This is the first permanent sensory zone in the country at a major stadium. PLEASE SHARE!

Sarah Albon tells us more, “It started with a letter from a Dad who had dreamed of taking his son to the footy, ever since he first held his baby boy in his arms. But as the boy grew, it became evident that the noise, crowds and excitement of a match would be too much for him. This letter led us to forming a steering committee, looking for best practise; which we found in the US, at Kulture City visionaries, lots of generous in-kind support from builders and groups fitting out our Sensory Room and training for over 500 people.

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“At one match, an 18 year old customer service representative recognised that a child in the crowd needed support and let the family know about the Sensory Room. Families can visit the room on the Thursday school from 4.00pm – 5.00pm in the lead up to a match, so the children can familiarise themselves with the space and all it has to offer. Online at https://www.geelongcats.com.au/ticketing/grounds/gmhba-stadium/accessibility you can download the ‘visiting GMHBA stadium social story’ and there is also a virtual tour of the room. The Cats ambassadors for the program are Gary Rohan and Cassie Blakeway.

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Robert Palmer

Meet Robert Palmer, our new, inspirational team member of Humans in Geelong. He’s giving us a challenge – 2 SHORT TASKS TO BOOST YOUR BRAIN. Can you name 5 parts of your body? Now can you name 5 parts of your brain?

Don’t you think it strange that we know so little about the command centre for our entire being? The brain is by far the most powerful computer in the world – and it’s made of meat!

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For more than 40 years, local, Robert Palmer has been collecting, creating and sharing ‘brain building’ activities. This started when a young student showed him that 1 + 1 = WINDOW, and that half of 8 was 3 (or zero).

These investigations helped to underpin the success of students who applied for scholarships and sought-after places at private schools and universities.

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“The Cage” – Refugee Awareness at Saint Ignatius College Geelong.  

Senior students were offered the opportunity to raise awareness for refugees through participating in “The Cage” during Refugee Week. This activity had more than 30 students and 4 staff staying behind temporary fencing for a 22-hour period in order to raise awareness about the hardships faced by refugees. The participants stayed in “The Cage” throughout the day and slept outside on yoga mats overnight. Despite having a cold, uncomfortable sleep the students all had a lot of fun.

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During the school day many classes came to visit “The Cage”, where the students participating shared the current issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers and how to advocate for change. There were also a number of activities at lunchtime on the day of “The Cage” including banner signing and letter writing.

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World Refugee Day 2019, Christina.

On World Refugee Day we share a story from Christina, Settam’s wife. – Decisions have become difficult to make. Many times it was a life or death issue, just like when I decided to go back to Aleppo in June, 2013 to get my MD in Pathology. Besides the dangerous trip, I had to stay for almost nine months in a risky security situation. Then I came back to Mhardeh, my home town which is on the confrontation line. It still is. More than 10,000 bombs have been dropped onto the town.

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Through all those difficult times, the people who are mostly civilians, are driven by their willingness to live. They have kept sending their children to school, celebrating occasions, working and all sorts of normal activities. All of this is scheduled according to the expected bombing timetable. For example, my mother adores her early morning walk, and she has not stopped this habit even during the war. She says “By the time I return home, the bombers will still be asleep”. As well as the time after the sunset when there is a lower possibility for bombing, you can see the young people celebrating their youthfulness, beautifully dressed up hanging around at the town centre, sitting at cafes laughing and joking as if nothing could threaten their lives the next day.

Continue reading “World Refugee Day 2019, Christina.”

To be a stranger in your own country, Settam.

I am from a little Christian town in the middle of Syria. l always thought that I was indigenous in this land. l used to live in a house and had a farm which belonged to my family for more than a century. I used to pray in my town’s old Church which is about 2000 years old. It was built over an old Greek temple. In my town we have a special accent from the old Aramaic language.

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Since 2011 lots of changes have happened in Syria. What had started as a public movement asking for change in political life and to improve living situations, changed into a fight. A lot of groups, most of them with a religious backgrounds appeared. Suddenly it wasn’t safe to go out of town. A lot of people were kidnapped because they were Christian and released for money or killed. Everything started to become expensive because it wasn’t safe to go out of the town, but that wasn’t the worst.

Continue reading “To be a stranger in your own country, Settam.”

To Nauru and Manus refugees, Maryam.

It’s Refugee Week 16-22 June 2019, I dedicate my writing to Nauru and Manus refugees.

My thoughts and writing are inspired by my favourite Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad.

Born again

“I will plant my hands in the flowerbed

I will sprout,

I know, I know

And

The sprouts will lay eggs in the hollows of my inky fingers.”

“In a room the size of one solitude

My heart

Looks at the simple pretexts

Of its own happiness.”

By Forugh Farrokhzad

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My feelings about humanity are not settled, which is excellent.

I love swallows and I always have a look up at the sky to find them. And now I know why……..

Because my feeling is like a swallow’s, intended to bring a message of hope and love.

I would like to fly across the blue and bright sky, to spread the seeds of “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds” throughout the world.

I wish I could fly.

I wish my entire soul could carry you from that island to the dawn of eternal blossoming.

There are a lot of Iranians forced to become refugees all around the world and they are still in detention. I wrote to express my deep feelings for those who do not have the chance to breathe freely…

Story by Maryam Chengini, a migrant studying Level 3 AMEP at Wyndham Community & Education Centre Geelong CBD.