A little girl from a local school pulled one of our educators aside at the end of her session and said, “I need to speak to you alone
. Without anyone else.”
Comments like that stop your breath for a little while. What will she say that can’t be shared with her class-mates?
“When I was in year one I was bullied,”
It’s an all too common story. A quarter of Australian school students have been bullied or cyber-bullied. When it’s a seven year old, it breaks your heart.
But then she said this;
“.. and then I saw your program with Healthy Harold and it made me feel safe.”
That story was shared with me on my second day in the job and it brought a tear to my eye. It made her feel safe.
That’s why we’re here; so that children can feel safe and empowered to make healthy choices.
I come to this role as a mum of three beautiful boys aged 9 and 7 and 4. My husband and I worry about how we can best improve their resilience, their attitudes to others and equip them will all the tools they need growing up in today’s world. We wrap them in love, but that’s not enough.
Modern parenting is fraught with new dangers like cyberbullying. 30 per cent of children are overweight or obese. Drugs are easier and cheaper to access. Modern media and the internet are influencing young minds.
Families and communities and schools need us more than ever. As CEO I’ll do everything I can to ensure NSW children have programs to help them navigate the journey to adulthood. Our aim at Life education NSW is to reach more children in more areas of New South Wales and that includes regional areas of New South Wales and the underprivileged.
New programs being rolled out are even more exciting, high-tech and adaptable to schools’ needs. We’ve just had some really exciting news on that front. Some of our high profile long-standing supporters have banded together to help us in our battle against obesity and drugs and bullying.
Dick Smith, Harry Triguboff and the Mapp family, among others, have become the founding investors in The Life Education Foundation which will invest in the development of our programs. Their incredible generosity will benefit hundreds of thousands of children and have a real impact on the power of the messages we deliver. They’re often life-changing messages - messages that stay with them through to adulthood.
I saw a teacher at our Colyton centre today who was perhaps more excited than her class. She, too, had Life Education sessions as a youngster and she still has a soft spot for Harold. We’re seeing a generational change in our classrooms and it’s wonderful.
When Ted Noffs opened the first Life education centre in 1979 he had a simple vision that was timeless:
“Provide children and young people with knowledge, confidence and support to help them make safer and healthier choices.”
And if one little girl in one small class in one small Sydney suburb felt safer this week – imagine the effect on the 5-million children who’ve see us nation-wide since we began.
We have a lot more to do and many more young lives to be influenced. Thank you for supporting us on this important journey.