A Bus tour with a difference
One of our Seeing is believing tour participants has written of her experience of the recent tour.After being invited what was I to expect? I didn’t really know, would I be upset? – I thought probably I would be. In fact the opposite was true. Knowing that such positive steps are being taken to support marginalized and disadvantaged members of our community. So, the day started with approx. 20 of us meeting outside Anglicare with Jan our Co-coordinator who introduced us to Geoff who in turn introduced us to a breakfast program that had a small start and is growing in the number of days it is offered. Geoff gave a timely reminder to be sensitive to their client’s privacy as we made our way through the centre. I n addition to breakfast that is offered they provide bedding for those who need it, and how inspiring to hear how they come by those items. While corporate Australia have a sleep rough night each year the students of Ballarat Grammar do a similar thing within the school buildings – students bring bedding for the night which is then donated to Anglicare’s program. What a fabulous way to inform and inspire young people. A short walk down the hill to UnitingCare and an intro to Breezeway in a beautiful space utilized as a café providing lunch to any community members needing a meal. We learnt about Karrung a housing/educational/vocational program run for disadvantaged young people who can stay for a maximum of 2 years whilst participating in school/other educational programs/or paid work. It aims to enable these young people to transfer to meaningful adult lives. The third session opened our eyes to Barnagennen a residential mental health youth program. Then it was time to climb aboard our bus with our “tour guide –come bus driver”- Gary (who also donated his time to safely deliver us to our destinations) and off to Centacare. Here we heard about a few of their programs. I was most touched by a new program Cradle to Kinder looking after the needs of young mums from antenatal onwards. Among others we heard from Adrian – informative, engaging and entertaining. A bus ride to Yuille Park Community school at Wendouree West – wow what a place, what a way to be schooled (no pigeon holes here – it is all about adapting to an individuals educational and emotional needs). Very special and dedicated people guide and encourage these children to attain their very best. We sat down to a lovely lunch prepared using produce from a flourishing school vegie garden – delicious. Some students working in the café (learning maths by way of measuring and weighting – how innovative) served us tea/coffee with outstanding customer service skills. All aboard Gary’s bus and off to CAFS – to hear about the many programs that they run: Domestic Violence, Foster Care, Residential Tenancy Advocacy, Infant educational programs. The day finished with the story from a young man who came to Australia with his family as a refugee. He touched on some of his ordeals of the journey from his homeland to where he is today. There was of course a lot of trauma; he gave us an insight to overcoming these obstacles – and how he has overcome them. We will all see him on our television screens in the near future running representing Australia at the Olympics !!!!! If you ever have the chance to go on one of these tours – please take the opportunity to be inspired. Register now for the next Seeing Is Believing tour.