Community Blog

1Oct2018

Connecting Community for Kids held their first gathering in a series of ‘That was my home’ presentations on Friday 28 September. Over 60 community members attended, of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Elder Charlie Kickett opened the event with these inspiring words:

“There are 14 clans here, but we are all peoples and all connected. We are all blessed with two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak.  When we listen we learn.”

‘That was my home’, are set to be a series of vibrant thought provoking presentations celebrating Aboriginal rich history and diverse culture by inviting a series of community representatives to perform, inspire and educate the wider community.

The event included a smoking ceremony performed by Whaadjuk Traditional Owner,  Nigel Wilkes Snr and Alice Kearing of Mungart Yongah Nyoongah Arts Enterprise, dreamtime stories video, painting of the Charrnock woman, cultural food tasting included kangaroo stew, tail, damper and mushrooms, songs with Fred, dancing with Alice and Nigel and  sharing of many heartfelt memories by speakers Alice Kearing and Lynn Coomer.

Alice spoke of the six seasons, traditional survival techniques and moving between settlements. Lynn shared a story of resilience, and growing up in campsites after being taken from her parents at the age of seven, and returning to her koort boodja when she was 17.

“We survived, we built houses and we turned them into homes” said Lynn. “We did not live a life of luxury, but that was my home, my koort boodja, my heartland.”

       


21Sep2018

Our new community mothers group offers support and assurance to new and expectant mothers. The program gives local women who are pregnant, have a newborn or who are caring for young children under two access to one-on-one support.

Under the program, mothers can self-refer to be matched to a volunteer Community Mother, who is specially trained by the Curtin University School of Nursing and who will work alongside the mother to share their own experiences and build parenting confidence.

Connecting Community for Kids partnership director Jane Miller said volunteer Community Mothers offered emotional, educational and physical support. “They are not expected to offer health advice, but will be the link back to community and have a referral pathway on hand to help families access the required professionals,” she said. 

Mothers must live within the City of Cockburn or Kwinana to participate. Call 0429 904 324 or email info@connecting4kids.com.au for more information.

       

 


2Aug2018

Connecting Community for Kids embarked on a series of free Cultural Cooking Classes at various Centres around Cockburn, all thanks to grant funding provided by City of Cockburn!

The program commenced at South Lake Ottey Family and Neighbourhood Centre on Saturday 9th June, with a Filipino inspired spread. Volunteer chefs Melanie Endaya and Maureen Madolora prepared Philippine Adobo alongside participants ranging in age from 3 to 60. The group then enjoyed making Biko; a sweet rice cake made of coconut milk, brown sugar and glutinous rice, topped with latik.

Attendees had a blast in the preparation area peeling potatoes and cutting onions. Small groups took turns in the kitchen carefully and consistently stirring the Biko liquid to ensure the coconut milk and sugar did not burn or curdle. The chicken was left to marinade in garlic, onion and soy sauce for half an hour, so the kids took a break making traditional Filipino Christmas lanterns “paról” and playing Uno and Snakes and Ladders. Once everything was cooked, the group was able to sit down for a quick bite for lunch. Maria Georgiou kindly donated Kiddie Food Cutter knives so children were able to participate in the preparation and keep their fingers safe. Coolbellup IGA also kindly donated food for the classes.

       

The classes continued at Meerilinga Children and Family Centre on Saturday 23rd June featuring Indian and Sri Lankan inspired cooking. The group prepared Sri Lankan Chicken Curry and milk rice Kiribath, alongside volunteer cooks Pravinthi Neelawatura and Shakunthi Neelawatura.

On Saturday 30th June, guest chef Marissa Verma from Bindi Bindi Dreaming showcased the lovely native herbs and spices from Australia. Participants prepared damper to taste test with native jams, made kangaroo burgers and wedges and enjoyed a seasonal fruit salad and lemon myrtle cake. Marissa was fantastic in imparting her knowledge of bush tucker and teaching seasonal usage of different herbs.

On Saturday 7th July at Yangebup Family Centre; attendees prepared Malaysian fried rice, curry and chapatti, kindly demonstrated by volunteers Huey Teoh and Kim Teoh.

These Cultural Cooking Classes are part of Connecting Community for Kids Celebrate Culture community approach. Belinda Ngoroyemoto, Cockburn Community Facilitator for Connecting Community for Kids explains “the Celebrate Culture approach provides opportunities for individuals from various ethnic groups to share their knowledge, traditions and values to the wider community. By conveying diverse wisdom and experience, we aim to raise cultural awareness, reduce isolation and increase inclusion and education.”

The Celebrate Culture Action Team is now evaluating the series of Cultural Cooking Classes and will be brainstorming ‘what next’ in sharing the unique cultures that influence Cockburn. If you are interested in joining the Celebrate Culture Action Team and imparting your cuisine, customs, background and traditions to the wider community, please contact Connecting Community for Kids today on 0429 904 324 or info@connecting4kids.com.au.


12Jun2018

Connecting Community for Kids is working in collaboration with NursePrac Australia and Telethon Speech & Hearing to trial in-house 2 year old health checks at various dedicated Child Care Centre’s within the City of Cockburn. The pilot program offers parents a flexible alternative of accessing a health assessment. The aim is to help families finding it hard to attend a standard health check at their local Child Health Centre, by bringing the health check to them as they drop off or pick up their child from care. If any concerns are found, the child is then referred to various practitioners for further assistance. 

The rapid trial commenced in May; with support funding from City of Cockburn. Children aged between 18 months and 2.5 years from South Lake Child Care Centre, Kids Corner Child Care Centre in Munster, Meerilinga Children and Family Centre in Coolbellup and Port School Early Learning Centre in Hamilton Hill will have a one-off visit from the Telethon Speech & Hearing Mobile Children’s Ear Clinic and NursePrac practitioners. Parents and carers will have the opportunity to have their child assessed for age appropriate gross and fine motor skills; social and behavioural development; and speech and hearing. 

Jane Miller, Connecting Community for Kids Partnership Director says “This rapid trial will form the basis of an evaluation and learning piece, to determine whether families were better able to access health checks if they were offered in a flexible, place-based model. We want ALL children and parents to say YES to free child health checks. We realise not all families are available to access checks through their local Child Health Nurse, so we are testing bringing the screenings to the families.”

South Lake Child Care Centre was the first location for the trial. The pilot has been so well received, that session times were booked out and a second session is required to screen additional children.

Nelsie Johnson, Centre Manager at South Lake Child Care Centre, shared “Our families were extremely keen to support this trial. We find parents and carers are particularly responsive to anything offered in regards to children’s health. Our families were pleased with how well organised the trial day was and overall have responded positively to the outcomes.”

Regular health and development checks are vital during the early years, to ensure each child is growing and progressing as they should. They also help parents feel comfortable that their child is on track. Research tells us that the first five years of a child’s life are the most important for emotional, social and physical development. The brain undergoes significant growth during this time too, developing faster and larger than any other stage. When a child is not developmentally progressing, it is important that parents are given the necessary tools and support to meet their child’s needs. The earlier the better.

The 2 year old health check rapid trial is one of five approaches chosen by community following eighteen months of consultation and workshops. Connecting Community for Kids is working with State and Local Government, service providers and community to bring a holistic model to social change.


7May2018

Our Community Champion Bonnie Madsen hosted her first local community event on Friday 23rd March to celebrate Neighbour Day! The gloomy weather didn’t stop Bonnie; as she set up tables and chairs at the local park in her street.

Bonnie joined the Neighbourhoods Connected Kwinana Action Team after the ‘Decide the Right Path’ Workshop in August 2017. Bonnie has attended every Action Team meeting and participated in the training facilitated by Street by Street; a national project building neighbourhood networks and turning streets into communities.

The Street by Street workshops provided participants with tips and hints on what type of event to host to encourage neighbours to attend, and how to approach new people. Bonnie invited her neighbours to the street party by door knocking and personally handing out invites. This face-to-face meeting helped establish the first point of contact and built rapport.

When asked how the Street by Street training helped Bonnie organise her event, she shared “firstly, it eliminated my fear of reaching out to the unknown neighbours and gave me a lot of confidence and support to be the first in my street to reach out and start something new. Knowing that others have been successful with such events, it gave me the boost I needed, to invite the immediate street community together”.

Bonnie’s first get-together was kindly supported by City of Kwinana’s Neighbour Day funding, to help with catering costs. The gathering was such a success, that the neighbours are keen to attend the next party and have plans to host a bring-a-plate picnic in six months’ time.

Bonnie says “The importance of knowing your neighbours really struck home since having kids. Being able to look out for one another is so important on a daily basis, as these are the closest people around in the case of an emergency”.

The aim of Neighbourhoods Connected is to encourage individuals to connect with their neighbours, and develop a greater feeling of safety and sense of community.

Research shows that social isolation and loneliness impacts heavily on mental and physical health. Studies also indicate that providing a safe, connected local environment for children and families increases their overall health and wellbeing.

Nicole Hunt, Kwinana Community Facilitator at Connecting Community for Kids believes “The communities in which children live are among the most important contexts for time spent outside of home and school. This makes neighbourhoods a key factor in the way children grow and develop.” There is strong evidence to suggest that the social, economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of neighbourhoods shape important, sometimes life-long foundations for childhood development.

Taking small steps, you can make an impact street by street. If you are interested in participating in the Connecting Community for Kids Initiative, joining an Action Team, or partaking in training, please contact us on 0429 904 324 or info@connecting4kids.com.au. Community participation is vital to the success of the Initiative, with children and families at the heart of this project.


13Dec2017

On Monday 11th December, we hosted a Thank You Brunch for our Community Champions. The morning was relaxed, light and slightly emotional as we reflected on all we have achieved in 2017 and how far we have come. Thank you to all our supporters for sharing our journey in 2017 and joining us as we action our approaches in 2018. Here is a little slideshow we produced of our fantastic year!


26Jul2017

The Team from Connecting Community for Kids has recently returned from a few marathon days in Melbourne for OCConnect, Opportunity Child’s Annual Conference. 

It was a fantastic opportunity to hear from fellow collective impact initiatives, who have been working on improving outcomes for children all over Australia. Logan Together, The Hive, Mt Druitt, Sanderson Alliance, Go Goldfields and Together in the South all shared their successes, trials and tribulations of engaging with the community, ensuring the right data is collated, collectively identifying the key issues and then pursuing community energy to create circuit breakers for change.

One of the most valuable lessons learned was to ensure you know your community and what interests them. Go to where your community is and be authentic. Fred Chaney’s closing words on Tuesday’s session; heartedly expressing the importance of exposing people to the reality to entice drive and passion has resonated with the team at Connecting Community for Kids, and will be forever in our minds as we move forward in finding the ‘sweet spot’ of community life. Our work is to ensure any decisions on catalysts for change are made by the community, for the community and we are enjoying every moment of connecting with the residents of Cockburn and Kwinana.

Some extremely powerful messages were voiced in improving outcomes for children by working in collaboration with community, business, service providers and government agencies. Thank you Opportunity Child for bringing us all together. It is an exciting time to be involved in collective impact!


13Jun2017

Hi and welcome to the first of many posts on the Connecting Community for Kids Blog page!

Connecting Community for Kids is busy working in the communities of Cockburn and Kwinana to determine why 1 in 5 children within the City of Cockburn and 1 in 4 in the City of Kwinana are still developmentally vulnerable in one or more AEDC domain. What are the contributing factors? Working closely with parents, carers, service providers and Government agencies we are identifying common themes and are harnessing community energy to address these local issues.

As we build, grow and learn, we will share our journey with you. So keep your eyes on our blog page for monthly updates!