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Let’s give dad the biggest hug ever

This April in Victoria, after a year of restricted access due to COVID, the SHINE for Kids team arranged a very important Ride By Your Side visit for two brave little girls, Dinah and Olivia. They had spent the past year physically and emotionally apart from their father and were really missing him. The girls live in Geelong, some distance from where their dad is in custody, and transportation issues as well as COVID made visits difficult to arrange.

On the drive over from Geelong with their mentor Sue, both girls were so excited to see dad in person that they were literally bouncing in their seats, talking nonstop about everything they wanted to share with him. They had developed a good relationship with Sue and were comfortable and open with her, talking with her about their life and dad happily. It was a support for them knowing she’d be there for them on the way home, when they’d be processing the big emotions of the day.

Going through the prison security and COVID checks was a little daunting after such a long time away but even that couldn’t dim their joy as they smiled and greeted everyone they met.

Waiting for their dad to arrive, the girls hatched a plan to give him the biggest hug they could the moment he walked into the room. But when the door opened they stood frozen on the spot, too in awe of seeing dad physically in front of them for the first time in a year to move. A moment later the room was filled with laughter and tears as first Dinah then Olivia tackled their father, immediately falling over themselves in an attempt to fill him in on everything that had happened over the past year, yelling over each other as they spent the next two hours showing off all the new things they had learnt, re-enacting their first junior league footy match and teaching dad all of their favourite TikTok dances.

There were no dry eyes in the room as the girls said their final goodbye to dad at the end of the session. The girls left the visit feeling lighter than they had for a year.

Give Where You Live helped make this special Ride By Your Side visit happen, and others, with their generous grant this year.

Let’s give dad the biggest hug ever

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