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Making sure our kids thrive

When you’re dealing with children and families in need, small things can make a big difference.

Being able to offer a child a nutritious meal or a pair of shoes for school sports can be the key to helping a young person open up and start the process of healing.

Family Works’ latest appeal aims to help our mentors ensure no child falls through the cracks due to something as simple as being hungry.

To ensure kids and families have what they need to flourish, Family Works’ latest Wellbeing appeal aims to provide the underprivileged children we mentor with meals, school items and sporting equipment.

“For the kids and families who need our help, the stakes are very high, and we’re determined to do all we can to give them the tools and support they need to thrive,” says Family Works General Manager Julia Hennessy.

“Many times, we find that a child who is misbehaving at school or disengaging from those around them is just hungry or tired. Buy them a meal and suddenly they’re a different child, one who is able to tell you how they’re feeling and make goals for the future,” she explains.

It may seem obvious that hungry children need food. Frustratingly, funding constraints mean it’s those kinds of small, everyday things which can prove most difficult for agencies like Family Works to provide.

“Family Works programmes are primarily funded by the government – but that funding only covers around half the hourly cost of service delivery for specified programmes, so it’s up to Family Works to find ways to bridge the gap.

“For that reason, we rely heavily on community grants and donations to help provide the so-called ‘extras’ which are actually necessary to turn people’s lives around,” explains Julia.

She says the interventions which enable mentors to build trust with young people in a tailored and meaningful way can often be much simpler than many people realise.

“For instance, a young man you’re working with might be keen to try going to the gym to release some of his pent-up anger, but feels too intimidated to go there on his own for the first time.

“It would make all the difference in the world if a social worker was able to say to him ‘How about we go together for the first three sessions? I’ll pick you up.’

“To do that though, you’d need fuel for the social worker’s car and gym memberships for the two of them. That’s where the community’s help can be invaluable,” explains Julia.

Family Works’ latest Wellbeing appeal aims to make sure our mentors are able to do all it takes to pull a child or family back from the edge, no matter how big or small.

“It’s due to the generosity of the public that we’re able to have things like rugby boots to give a child confidence or a warm blanket to help a young person get to sleep in a cold home.

“We’re asking for help to ensure nobody falls through the cracks due to something as simple as being hungry. Little interventions like buying a young person a hearty dinner can and do change lives,” says Julia.

At Family Works, every dollar donated by members of the public goes directly towards ensuring our programmes and services, which include counselling, therapy, parenting programmes and support groups for women and children experiencing family violence or struggling with addiction, are run effectively.

To make a donation to children in need and their families you can free call 0508 TO HELP or use the donation page on this website.