Community art that touches your heart
You really know when you’ve touched someone’s heart when you make them cry with happiness. Such are the emotions evoked by the wonderful art exhibition provided by students from Footscray West Primary School. Although some staff, children and parents from Footscray West Primary school had attended a Tweddle program, Children’s Week 2012 officially brought the two 90 plus year old community institutions together.
Principal Brendan Millar and art teacher Susie Belcher agreed to donate children’s art to Tweddle to help brighten the living areas. Every student in the school in some way contributed to this remarkable project and they did it with pride. They knew they were helping. Tweddle CEO Vivienne Amery and Footscray West Primary School Principal Brendan Millar agreed that the project connected with the heart and had cemented a partnership that had not previously existed.
The community event was helped along with donations from local Footscray Supermarket, Sims, Officeworks in Yarraville and a dedicated installation team from Footscray West Primary. Despite having only 30 canvases to work with, art teacher Susie made sure all students felt part of the project.
The inclusive nature of the school is evident in their approach to the project. Families staying at Tweddle are often doing it tough and to be surrounded by colourful, joyful pom poms, dream catchers, painted family portraits and papier mache families can help lift spirits and remind us of the joys and magic of childhood.
Visit here for a gallery of the children's artwork.
Tweddle and Footscray West Primary School celebrate Children's Week
Tweddle Child + Family Health Service in Adelaide Street Footscray and 1400 metres away, Footscray West Primary School have been supporting families in the west for over 90 years and Children’s Week 2012 has brought them together.
Tweddle approached Footscray West PS art teacher Susie Belcher and Principal Brendan Millar and asked if they’d consider helping to brighten the Tweddle living spaces with some children’s artwork to celebrate Children’s Week.
Twenty-five families with children 0-6 stay in the residential unit at Tweddle every fortnight for support when parentigng has become overwhelming.
Susie and Brendan knew of the services provided at Tweddle and decided to support the project. The overwhelming response to the request has amounted to over six weeks of hard work producing amazing paintings, dream catchers and papier mache families.
Susie, who worked through many breaks and lunches to meet the tight deadline, has inspired students to capture a vibrant and diverse representation of their families. Officeworks Yarraville supported the project by donating all hanging systems for the thirty paintings. “The children are all so proud not only of their artwork, but also that they are helping families that need cheering up” said Susie
The Tweddle and Footscray West Primary School ‘2012 Children’s Week’ art exhibition will launch to students, families and friends on Wednesday 24th October . Following on from Children’s Week, the thirty canvases will be donated to Tweddle by the students and displayed throughout the residential unit including living areas, corridors and bedrooms. Student Ava Strybosch is proud of her painting, which she explained ‘turned out better than I expected and that the painting of her family made her happy’.
"The halls and communal areas at Tweddle will be very warm and cheerful. We’re excited about the opportunity for local children to create a joyful, colourful space that comes with stories told through art.” said Tweddle CEO, Vivienne Amery
Donations are big news at Tweddle
Tontine’s recent generous donation of quilts, pillows, mattress protectors and pillow protectors for 18 beds ensures that our family’s stay at Tweddle is hygienic and comfortable. Pillows at Tweddle are given to children over three as recommended by Sids and Kids. As a not for profit organisation, it’s donations like these that help us to channel more resources into services and programs.
Thank you to Give Where You Live
Volunteer-led, non-profit organisation Give Where You Live (formerly United Way Geelong) is a charitable organisation dedicated to reducing education, income and health disadvantage in the Geelong Region through building capacity, mobilising resources, improving lives and creating positive, long term social change. 1 in 8 people in the Geelong Region will directly benefit from one of Give Where You Live’s services. Tweddle thank GWYL for helping us continue to support families in the Geelong Region. http://www.givewhereyoulive.com.au/
Working with Aboriginal families adds to Tweddle's healing spirit
Tweddle staff recently embraced Cultural Competence Training with Uncle Reg, elder of the Melbourne aboriginal community. Uncle Reg exuded an aura of warmth, care and knowledge. He has the rare ability to weave a story that touches your soul and has you asking questions of yourself, your community, your culture, your identity. We were in good hands.
Born in Queesland, his experience includes decades in senior levels in paid and unpaid positions within the Aboriginal Community, Peak body organisations, all levels of government and non-government agencies in policy and program coordination and management.
To kick start the day, we paid our respects to aboriginal elders past and present and participated in a negative energy cleansing ceremony. This involved walking through the wafting white smoke of smouldering gum leaves and later, eyes closed, meditating on the deeply evocative sounds of Uncle Reg playing the didgeridoo.
Throughout the day, Uncle Reg shared with us stories of the past and present and inspired us with hope for the future and how we could embrace change. We travelled through a time line which covered European settlement, extermination and protection, segregation, assimilation, integration through to aboriginal self determination and self management today. We spoke about massacres, genocide, ethnic cleansing, the stolen generation and exploitation. Facing the truth of Australia’s dark history was confronting for everyone.
In many ways Uncle Reg held a mirror up to what is absent the lives of aboriginal and non aboriginal people, a spiritual connection to the land, a deep sense of community, respect for elders and how we tend live life according to the story we tell ourselves.
Together with Aunty Zeta, Uncle Reg currently runs the men’s family circle, a weekly key component of the Healing Program run by the Gathering Place Aboriginal Health Service in Melbourne’s west. The program combines western medicine with Aboriginal healing and helps men and women affected by drugs, alcohol and long term incarceration.
We were fortunate enough to experience personal stories of courage and adversity from a panel of three Gathering Place clients. Sharon, Darlene and Brian shared inspirational and sometimes heart breaking stories and reflected on what has helped and hindered them and how they came to be where they are today.
The afternoon was spent working on our mission statement, an action plan and a vision statement. We look forward to respectfully connecting with the aboriginal community and providing safe and trusted parenting support to families and children. We look forward to delivering thoughtful, welcoming and culturally sensitive services that honour and acknowledge history and past trauma.
When Europeans first settled in the Port Phillip region, it was already occupied by five Aboriginal language groups. The people are The Wurundjeri People, The Boonerwrung People, The Wathaurong People, The Taungerong People and the Jaara People. Tweddle provides its services on the land Wurundjeri and we pay our respects to elders past and present.