Service in Australia

Educare In Perth

Once a week, volunteers from Heart of Love Foundation and Sunshine Welfare Action Mission, Australia conduct ‘Self Confidence and Life Skills’ Classes for children and youth at a community centre called Minnawarra House. Many of these children and youth come from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds and many of them have indigenous Australian backgrounds. This month they conducted four classes and in each class they had about five to ten children and youth who attended.

The volunteers start the sessions with two minutes of silent sitting with some light instrumental music to help calm everyone’s minds. After silent sitting, they introduce the theme for that class. This month they focused on the following value themes: Happiness, Courage, Enthusiasm and Perseverance. Depending on the number of volunteers and children attending the session, they split the class into separate groups for the children and youth. For each group they select two children/youth from the class to be the ‘Class Leaders’ or ‘Assistants’ for the day. This gives them a sense of responsibility and adds to their confidence which is vital for leading a good life.

The groups are then guided through a series of activities, discussions and entertaining videos that help them understand how they can practice these values. This month, some of the activities for the children included creating colourful Popsicle sticks with words associated with Happiness written on them; making colourful and creative paper airplanes for the ‘Enthusiasm’ theme and playing games with a ball such as doing stunts when a ball is in mid-air before catching it back, for the ‘Perseverance’ theme.

The activities conducted for the youth this month included doing group speeches and skits in front of an audience on the theme of ‘Courage’. Each of these activities were preceded and followed by relevant videos on the topic and discussions on what everyone can learn from the activities and videos. For instance, for the theme of ‘Enthusiasm’ all the children and volunteers together discussed about the importance of enthusiasm and shared with the group activities what they are enthusiastic about. The volunteers then asked the children about the activities that they find to be a chore and discussed the importance of not only ‘doing what one likes’, but also ‘liking what one has to do’.

Each month, the volunteers also conduct a ‘Health Awareness’ session for the children and families. This month the theme was ‘Importance of exercise’ and was attended by 10 children and youth. The discussion in this session focused on the importance of a balanced diet and exercise for maintaining one’s health. Also, volunteers and attending children and youth played some games such as balancing a piece of paper in the air by blowing at it without using their hands or feet! This was followed by an exercise cum dance session, set in tune to some groovy music for all the attendees to enjoy!

Finally, after an hour of fun discussions and activities, the class was wrapped up and everyone proceeded to have a sumptuous lunch, lovingly made by the catering volunteers!