Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reach Foundation Heroes day

By Jan-Marie Henry,

Phil & myself were recently invited to a Reach Foundations Heroes day.

I remember watching a particular video last year when Jim Stynes spoke about the program & the teenagers they help & I had rather hesitant visions of myself blindfolded & swinging through the bush on a flying fox or perhaps being harnessed to a telegraph pole & being encouraged by those below to jump off

When we arrived at the bus I asked the question again & was told it would be an adventure & I would probably need tissues!

We proceeded to get to know each other on the trip there & told the person next to us stories of dysfunctional, non communicating childhoods & heard stories of philandering fathers &  parents losing their money. I could relate to the stress of that & to the difficulty of listening to parents argue over money. I didn't speak to this person one on one for the rest of the day & I do wonder if I'll l only be remembered for my dysfunctional family & parents who didn't know how to talk or relate to their children. Strange topics with which to speak to strangers at 8.30 am you may ask & I asked myself the same thing.

We arrived at the venue & were seated at the back of the room out of  view of 400 15 year olds.
Throughout the course of the day they were shown videos, asked to express their feelings - no mean feat when your peers are giggling next to you, & asked to give their opinions on various topics.

I found the facilitators fantastic as they made each child feel brave for standing up & speaking with the microphone.
No wrong answers all positive reinforcement & I'm sure at one point each of us up the back had wished there was a Reach foundation waiting there listening to us during those formative teenage years of our own.

What amazing work this foundation does for the youth of this country.
Identifying problems, seeking out peer group leaders, listening to those who can bravely find their voice amongst 400 kids & say their often life changing words in front of a huge crowd.

We were hit by a few bombshells throughout the day & I feel so happy that these kids have taken the first step towards entering the rest of their teenage years with a more positive attitude knowing that they have a support network that they can rely on.

That network is Reach.

Phil & myself both feel enormously privileged to have been invited to such an inspirational day & to be able to witness first hand some of the wonderful work the Reach foundation do for the youth of Australia

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