Our stories

A fresh start for mum Sierra

Sierra has two daughters, aged 12 and 9, and when she went into custody a few years ago it was the first time in their lives they’d been separated from her.

It was an incredibly tough time for the family, Sierra said she had no way to contact them and after going into custody it was a full three months before she was finally able to speak with them via a video call.

Luckily, Sierra was able to access SHINE’s programs when she was moved to Clarence Correctional Centre. Here she took part in our Storytime Literacy Program and Keeping Us Together, where participants reflect on parenting and learn about children’s brain development and neuronal connections made through relationships.

She said these programs really helped her keep her relationships with her daughters on track during their separation and she felt happy that “at least I could do something for them”.

Creating a unique hand drawn story book for each daughter was a highlight of her time working with SHINE and she says that even though she’s “not a creative person, I could do this,” and it was a great experience.

The stories were both about a visit to a pet shop, an idea she had from a letter she’d just received, and at the end of each girl’s story, the main character bought their favourite pet (in one story a cat and in the other a dog as the girls wanted different pets!).

Creating these personal stories was one way Sierra was able to show how much she was thinking of her daughters, their lives and the things they each loved, and show them how much she was missing them.

Sierra’s advice to other parents in custody? “Put your head down and don’t get involved in the drama. Doing [SHINE’s] programs keeps you busy and they are great to do.”

Sierra is in constant contact with her daughters since being released and is working to regain custody of them, she says, “they want nothing more than to come home.” She now has her own cleaning business and it’s going so well she’s flat out!

Sierra is one of the parents featured in the SBS series Life on the Outsideand the SHINE team at Clarence are so proud of everything she has achieved, both in custody and since release, and wish her all the best with the future.

SHINE’s Clarence facilitator said, “It was such a delight to have Sierra in our program – she was so excited to be making her own story for her girls.”

 

A fresh start for mum Sierra

Other stories

And the winner is ….

And the winner is ….

During the week of the 15th-21st of May, we celebrated National Families Week with our children and families. One way of connecting with families was through a drawing competition and the winner would […]

National Volunteer Week – Meet Debbie!

National Volunteer Week – Meet Debbie!

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more. At this time of year, we […]

National Volunteer Week – Meet Dennis!

National Volunteer Week – Meet Dennis!

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more. At this time of year, we […]

National Volunteer Week – Meet Stephanie!

National Volunteer Week – Meet Stephanie!

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more. At this time of year, we […]

National Volunteer Week – Meet Andrew!

National Volunteer Week – Meet Andrew!

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more. At this time of year, we […]

National Volunteer Week – Meet Helen!

National Volunteer Week – Meet Helen!

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more. At this time of year, we […]

Sam’s year of kicking goals

Sam’s year of kicking goals

Sam, a young Aboriginal boy in the Stand As One mentoring program, was just 15 when he went into custody at Frank Baxter Youth Justice Centre. Sam was the youngest person at […]

Christmas Magic with The Sixth Child

Christmas Magic with The Sixth Child

Wow. Our Victorian team have been blown away by the incredible donation of Christmas gifts from The Sixth Child and Creating the Magic! Last year, thanks to The Sixth Child, we gave […]

I feel like a father again

I feel like a father again

Jason was transferred to Clarence Correctional Centre as soon as it opened in July 2020. Unfortunately his wife is also incarcerated and her parents have custody of their two young children and […]