Our kids in Victoria had an amazing experience thanks to Deloitte Digital who helped us deliver our first Technology Day to some very excited kids! A group of seven 10 to 14-year-olds […]
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 Outside” and 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.”
Sierra has just been released from custody.
— SBS Australia (@SBS) March 13, 2022
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