Family Life works in partnership with communities to understand and address local needs. The following activities provide the focus for coming together, strengthening families and promoting the wellbeing of children:
Local community activities provide the focus for coming together, strengthening families and promoting the well-being of children through activities such as:
A hearty, healthy breakfast is offered to children to enjoy before school giving them fuel to learn. Often, children who attend the Breakfast Club would otherwise go off to school with inadequate or no breakfast. Many of these children also learn to prepare healthy snacks and sandwiches to take to school with them. Children participating not only experience physical benefits; it’s an opportunity to socialise and to build relationships with other families in their community as well as the educational aspects of the program, encouraging healthy habits which are encouraged to transfer into the home environment.
Lunch for Everyone
Vulnerable and disadvantaged children are most at risk of missing meals, which can have a negative impact on their learning ability, academic results and overall harmony in the classrooms. The Lunch for Everyone project is a product of Family Life’s Creating Capable Leaders training, where parents identified that some students were attending school without any lunch. Volunteers organised support from local businesses who offered special prices on groceries, they developed menus and prepared, cooked and served meals to their entire school community every Wednesday.
Healthy Little Rainbows
The Healthy Little Rainbows program operates within the school community as a fruit and veggie co-op. Volunteer parents visit the local market once a week to purchase bulk amounts of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The produce is then shared and repacked into jam-packed bags for collection by parents later that afternoon. The cost to parents is $10 and for this they receive a variety of colourful, staple ingredients which help to feed their family in a cost-effective and nutritious manner. The feedback from families indicates that this is a really practical and valuable support for them. It offers them access to fresher produce, at a better value and helps with transport as many can’t get to the market. This program was developed by four volunteers who participated in the Creating capable Leaders program in 2013.
At Family Life’s Community Houses, our trained workers facilitate the playgroups in a structured and positive learning environment for families who might not access traditional community groups. Parents come together in a relaxed, friendly and non-threatening environment, where our facilitator can also provide advice and information about parenting issues and access to community support. In a supported playgroup the children benefit from socialising with other children and participating in early learning activities, such as Jive Jiggle and Jump; an active music group session run by a trained speech therapist. The parents develop relationships with other families, learning new parenting skills and techniques such as making connections with their baby in The Mother Goose playgroup. The families become more familiar with each other and are more likely to access other local community services.
After School Club
Family Life staff and trained volunteers are on hand at After School Club to help with homework, lead cooking or craft sessions, organise sporting activities and play games that help build trust with vulnerable families and children. Most importantly, we are there to listen. Encouraging them to ask for help early, and prevent the escalation of problems and risks for children. Children are provided healthy snacks, an environment to develop positive study habits and encouragement to take on helping roles within the program to facilitate ownership and responsibility – all practices which are transferable to their home environment.
Creating Capable Leaders
Creating Capable Leaders engages participants in an 8 week skill-building program which culminates in a collaborative effort to achieve a local solution to a local problem. They learn about leadership, community development, sustainable communities, team-building, networking, communication, stress management and evaluation techniques. Participants receive six months post training support to implement their community project which achieves the immediate and long term outcomes outlined above for individual wellbeing, community strengthening and progress towards employment. Program participants confirm the need they want to address, or a problem to solve, which will improve wellbeing in their local neighbourhoods. Along the way, they build friendships and social connections which become personally transformative and collectively beneficial to the local neighbourhood. Thus community is strengthened as the place where we can improve children’s and parents’ health and wellbeing.
Young Leaders For Change
In 2015, Family Life piloted Young Leaders for Change, a children and youth leadership development program using the Map Your World digital platform which connects young people to problem identification and subsequently leading change in their local communities. Map Your World enhances the prosocial approach of Family Life, promoting resilience and providing a ‘voice’ for young people.
A Family Life innovation, Community Bubs is a community centred support model for high risk infants that includes focused case management from as early as the last trimester of pregnancy through to when the infant is 18 months old. Family LIfe improves outcomes for babies and their families by combining intensive home visiting by professionals and trained volunteers, with a strong focus on helping families connect to their communities. The goal of Community Bubs is to create a legacy of change which can be sustained by parents and their informal supporters when services withdraw.
Family Life has lead and coordinated, in consultation with local residents and volunteers, a wide range of community and family events. A dynamic range of activities which provide opportunities for residents to come together, increasing family and social connectedness. Weekly, monthly, annual or biannual activities have included community BBQs, activity days and cultural festivals, holiday programs, incursions and excursions, Neighbour Day events and festivities.