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Special weekly visit to Baryulgil Public School: “When mum comes back we’re going camping”
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 small Koori community located in Bundjalung Country.
The purpose of this weekly trip? To spend some quality time running RISE sessions with children at Baryulgil Public School.
Through local outreach, we connected with the principal of Baryulgil Public School who was happy to facilitate our visits to support children at their school, which has about 12 students per year group.
We spend one day every week at the school providing mentoring sessions to three students, aged 5, 6 and 10 years old.
The sessions provide the opportunity for students to explore feelings about their parent’s incarceration, develop positive behaviour strategies, get help with school work and also have some fun!
Sessions also aim to increase school attendance, key to success at school.
Children with a parent in custody are 40% more likely to drop out of school, which can affect their entire lives.
During his first RISE session with us, Aru*, 6, engaged in some playdough play.
Playdough is not only a great tool for developing fine motor skills, much like squeezing a stress ball, manipulating playdough can be very calming and engaging.
During the session, Aru introduced himself and gave insight into his family by creating playdough models.
He shared lots about himself and his family and had so much fun he said he asked, “Can you come back tomorrow?”
This is exactly what we want to hear!
During another session, Aru painted a picture of his family and explained, “This is me, mum, and dad and my brother. When mum comes back from jail we’re going to go camping all together around the fire”.
Latest figures indicate that the Aboriginal imprisonment rate in NSW is nearly 10 times the non-Aboriginal imprisonment rate (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020).
Given there is this overrepresentation in prisons across Australia, building relationships with communities like Baryulgil’s is so important to ensure children and families know that there is support available for them.
We look forward to making this special trip every week and watching as the wonderful children grow their love of learning and flourish.
Please donate today to support kids like Aru.
Thank you to Thyne Reid Foundation and The Raymond E Purves Foundation for funding Clarence RISE.
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