Malakai* is a bright young First Nations teenager and was referred to the Stand As One Mentoring Program in early 2023. Spending most of his early life living with his mother and […]
“My son and I have a stronger bond”: Mums graduate KUT
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 difference it makes in helping mothers in custody increase their understanding of their children.
In the beginning, some participants were hesitant about contributing to group activities, but as we worked through each session, the walls come down as they start to feel comfortable sharing their life and parenting experiences.
Keeping Us Together involves self-reflection, and mums are asked to think about how they react to situations, as a parent and in everyday life.
This opens discussions about more effective and positive ways to respond to lead to better outcomes.
This cohort of mums enjoyed the mindfulness aspect of the program.
At the beginning of each session, we would discuss mindfulness activities they had practised during the past week.
Some of their contributions were:
“The breathing exercise helped me this week, the one with my hand on my belly.”
“I’ve been writing a lot. It helps me.”
“I played that game on the phone with my kid Miss, the one you said. If you could be any animal what would you be?
…. She loved it, it was good to play with her because I was just focused on me and her and in the moment ….
She was a monkey and then we talked about the time we saw a monkey at the zoo with Nana.”
We also explored communication and discussed how hard it is to effectively communicate when panicked or in an erratic state and how this leads to saying things we can regret.
In one activity, we looked at scenarios and identified the most effective communication style for each.
Participants told me they learnt a lot about better communication and how it has helped when speaking with their children on the phone.
This has been a wonderful group of mums to work with, made even better by hearing their feedback:
“Stop, pause, play has helped me a lot.”
“I learnt new things and things I need to know to help improve parenting my child.”
“You learn a lot about yourself and things start to make sense.”
“My son and I have grown a stronger bond.”
One of the mums created this great artwork depicting everything she learned from the program (pictured).
Thank you to NSW Department of Communities and Justice for supporting us in delivering Keeping Us Together to mums at Dillwynia.
Please donate today and support mums to build better futures for their children.
Sometimes the little acts show our team how much their support is helping. Bernie* is six years old and has had a rough start to the year. Her dad was taken into […]
Our Cessnock Child & Family Centre is always buzzing with activity! On the weekend, families visit their loved ones in custody at the nearby Hunter, Cessnock and Shortland Correctional Centres and pop […]
Elders who work with our Belonging to Family program in Kempsey and our team celebrated the week across the whole state this year! Belonging to Family is an intensive, culturally appropriate […]
With families struggling as groceries become more expensive, our Cessnock Child & Family Centre is very grateful for its long-standing partnership with local community service SOUPZ ON. Families dropping into our Cessnock […]
“I never thought I’d amount to anything other than a criminal”: Youth mentoring turned Ben’s life around
Our youth justice mentoring program pairs a young person in custody, soon to be released, with a dedicated mentor to support their journey and create new hope for their future. One of […]
She’s been invited to her classmates birthday parties for the first time: Rise student Carly’s wellbeing improving in leaps and bounds
Rise in Western Sydney is off to a wonderful first half of the year! We are so pleased with the achievements of all of our kids. Here’s just one of the many […]
The feeling that no one understands what they’re going through comes up time and time again with the kids and teenagers we work with. So opportunities for them to meet others in […]
Our first Child & Parent Days at Alexander Maconochie Centre since the pandemic were a resounding success as children from all over the state enjoyed precious time with their mums and dads […]
A group of VERY excited children of all ages hugged their dads, some for the first time in years, at our Macquarie Correctional Centre Child & Parent Day. These special days are […]
The dads who take part in our Storytime program at Clarence Correctional Centre surprised themselves with how much they loved making these colourful placemats for their children in our Christmas craft workshop! […]
Mum Becky* has completed our Keeping Us Together program at Dillwynia Correctional Centre. Here she reflects on what she’s gained from the program and the future she wants to build for her […]
The mums at Clarence Correctional Centre were thrilled to hear that our Storytime program this month would include a special Christmas craft workshop! The workshop gave mums the opportunity to create handmade […]
A group of very calm SHINE kids in Victoria have taken part in our first Wellness Day, learning techniques to help them manage stress and anxiety. Everyone sometimes feels overwhelmed, especially children, […]
Every weekend, Ben*, 12, Sharee*, 10* and Len*, 7, travel with their mum to Bathurst from Sydney to visit dad in custody at Bathurst Correctional Centre. The family have a strong connection […]
Diana*, a mum in custody at Dillwynia Correctional Centre in Sydney, wants nothing more than to do everyday mum things again with her two children. At our recent Child & Parent Day, […]
The first group of dads in custody at Acacia Prison in Perth, WA has graduated from Storytime! SHINE for Kids’ Zoe said that the WA team met “some fabulous dads who love […]
We recently supported one of our mums in custody at Clarence during her first visit in 13 months with her son and daughter. The occasion was even more special because it was […]
To mark International Volunteer Day 2022, we spoke with Rachel, one of our wonderful volunteer mentors working with a young person in juvenile justice in Western Sydney. Rachel has been a volunteer […]
Our kids in Melbourne had an amazing experience thanks to the team at Deloitte Digital who volunteered their time to help us deliver our first Technology Day! A group of very excited […]
Our mentoring team in Frankston, Victoria have reported some big wins for their kids this past year! While the team say all of the kids in 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 […]
In 2022, SHINE for Kids in partnership with CONFIT, launched our mentoring program for young people in juvenile justice at Cobham Correctional Centre in Sydney. While there have been challenges, we’re really […]
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, our team sat down with dad Fred* to complete a Storytime recording for his youngest child. Fred is working to improve his literacy skills, […]
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 […]