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 […]
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 come together to recognise and celebrate our wonderful volunteers for all the ways they contribute to SHINE for Kids.
To mark National Volunteer Week, we are putting some of our many incredible volunteers in the spotlight, please meet …. Helen!
Helen: Child & Family Centre, Cessnock
Why did you choose to be a volunteer with SHINE for Kids?
I was doing something else at the prison and saw the SHINE for Kids house, I asked about it to someone but he didn’t know much about it, all he said was it was about the persons in custody and family.
So I decided to find out about it and the rest is history – that’s why I’m here today.
What does working at SHINE for Kids mean to you?
SHINE for Kids mean a lot to me, it took a while to get to know the children and they need to have trust in us too.
It’s lovely to see them smile, laugh and play games, reading books and colouring in stencils, which they all love to do.
That makes us happy. You feel that you’ve made a positive impact and difference to their lives.
How long have you been at SHINE for Kids?
I’ve been doing SHINE for Kids for ten years. Working with other volunteers, getting on with them, getting to know them.
It’s not about yourself. It’s what you can do for others.
What has been your most memorable moment?
I did help a family with a child and supported the mum and child, while the father was inside. During visits the child was very shy and wouldn’t talk. The mother said that she could talk but won’t while at the prison, only smile. We’d play games together and colour in stencils, lots of smiles but no words.
One day after several weeks and in visits, the child ran up to me and hugged me. The following week she started to talk to me, which thrilled the mum and dad.
Outside of SHINE for Kids, in my role as a Salvation Army worker, I was able to provide extra support after the mother came into the office one day. Through my Salvation Army role I was able to provide ongoing support to the family after the father had been released from custody.
One day they came in to my work to thank me for everything that I had done for them. They said that I had made a big difference to them and had provided help when they needed it.
What impact do you think you have made?
Knowing that you were able to help and support children during what would have been a very emotional time for them and knowing that in a small way you were able to help them. Knowing that they have moved on, with their family and their life.
While you’re here, we need your help. Our amazing volunteers can only do so much, we also rely on the support and kind donations of the community to continue to run our many programs across NSW, Vic, WA, Qld and the ACT.
It’s only with continued support that we can be there to reach out to and walk beside children and families as they navigate one of the toughest times in their lives. We are changing futures, one child at a time. Evey bit counts.
Please donate today. Thank you!
By staff member Abbey Kenaly Over the past six weeks, seven mums have been participating in Keeping Us Together at Dillwynia Correctional Complex. The most rewarding part of facilitating Keeping Us Together is seeing the […]
Our RISE team in Frankston, Victoria have reported some big wins for their kids this year! While the team say all of the kids in RISE Victoria have shown admirable growth, they […]
Every week our Clarence Valley RISE team makes a special trip. They load up the car with activities and worksheets and drive about 75 km northwest of Grafton to visit Baryulgil, a […]
Our RISE Clarence Coordinator has been connecting with incredibly resilient children and their families across the Clarence Valley. One of these students is Adam*, who is 9 years old. Adam was referred […]
Our team in Queensland have been supporting this dad to connect with his newborn daughter. As he says, the support has completely changed his family’s life. Thank you to this father for […]
Charlie* is in custody at Parklea and is dearly missing his 4-year-old daughter Amelia*. Before he was incarcerated, Amelia and Charlie would read together every night at bedtime. He approached SHINE for […]
By our Windsor Child and Family Worker I’ve worked with a family with mum in custody at Dillwynia for over two years. When I first met the family, the children were six […]
Mason* has spent most of his teenage years going between out-of-home care and custody. He’s no longer in contact with his family and finds it difficult to maintain positive relationships. Mason was […]
One of our wonderful long time volunteers Dennis recently reached out to us to pass on some lovely news. He and his wife had just attended the graduation of a young woman […]
Our new Birthday Program is in full swing as our teams purchase specially requested gifts on behalf of a parent in custody, pack and deliver them to many happy children! So far, […]
“Days like today are tiring but boy are they worth it. I travelled to the outing with a car full of silent children, the return trip was anything but silent.” – Priscilla, […]
By a SHINE team member I met Marty*, a dad in custody, one day at the Parklea complex while I was collecting referrals. He asked about our Storytime program and what was […]
Timothy had been in custody at Clarence Correctional Centre for eight months when he joined the Storytime program. It was his first time in custody and he was really struggling with missing […]
The day before the ACT went into lockdown in August, SHINE staff had worked with a father to complete a Storytime recording for his youngest child. The father is working to improve […]
Aaron is three years old and attends the SHINE for Kids playgroup every week with his mum Carly. They live together at Numinbah Correctional Centre while Carly is in custody. Carly approached […]
Eight months ago, Tracey was referred to SHINE for Kids and began attending our weekly playgroups so that she and her two year old daughter Millie could reconnect. Millie had been in […]
Mia, Declan and Timmy have been living with their grandmother since their dad was incarcerated four years ago. Their mum was also sent into custody two years after dad while she was […]
Every week Tamara spends an hour at school one-on-one with her RISE mentor. They work through any issues Tamara is having with her schoolwork, maths in particular has been a focus, and […]
When Henry came to Storytime he was full of excitement and said he already knew the book he wanted to make for his daughter Alana. It had been forming in his head […]
Robyn and her four children have been working with SHINE for several years but this year was a special one as they prepare for dad to return home in February 2022 after […]
Dominique’s positive relationship with her mentor continued to grow this year, despite COVID moving their sessions online
Nine year old Dominque moved in to live with her grandparents two years ago following her dad’s incarceration. While she was able to make friends at her new primary school, she appeared […]
James was set on making a fresh start at being a parent when he signed up for Keeping Us Together and Storytime at Parklea Correctional Centre. He had been in and out of […]
This year the Belonging to Family team at Kempsey have had a homecoming of sorts with the return of Karen Rhodes. Karen was one of the original creators of the Belonging to […]