Saturday, August 31, 2013

What's Your Drop?

what-youre-wine-choice-says-article

2013 Derby Kimberley Girls - Watch This Space

How gorgeous are these girls from the 2012 Derby Kimberley Girls?


Kimberley Girl now in its 10th year is the search for a face that truly reflects the diverse culture, history and heritage of the beautiful and unique Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Any young Indigenous women aged between 16 and 25 from Broome, Dampier Peninsula, Bidyadanga and everywhere in between can enter.

Follow the fun on facebook here

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bunbury to Bribbaree and Beyond for Boobs, Blues, Bubs




It’s a mouthful but the intention is to raise $10,000 apiece for Beyond Blue, the McGrath Foundation and Young Hospital Maternity Unit.

Tim Dowling and John Coulter, supported by Shaun O’Sullivan of Young NSW will be riding across the country during September 2013.

A total distance of 4,500km. We are fundraising for Beyond Blue, McGrath Foundation, and Young Hospital Maternity Ward. All donations received will be split evenly 3 ways to each of these worthy causes on completion of the ride.

All money raised will go to these charities, no expenses deducted from donations.

What a worthy cause


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

REGIONAL WELLBEING SURVEY

A UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA SURVEY OF PEOPLE IN RURAL AND REGIONAL COMMUNITIES.

Take part in the Regionalwellbeing survey and help produce information for your community.
Tell about your wellbeing and your community, for a chance to win one of 9 prizes worth a total of $7,000.
They want to hear from you - whether you're a farmer, live in a rural town or a regional city. It will take 30 minutes and produce information your community can use. Results will be produced for every community in which we receive 100 or more responses, and made freely available. Participation is voluntary and completely confidential and anonymous.

Investing in Women Funding Program


In 2013 Women NSW is offering an exciting new funding opportunity for projects that lead to economic empowerment of women through training and employment in non-traditional trades. Non-traditional trades are those with 25% or less participation of women. 

Up to $25,000 is available for partnership projects through a submission process to support key stakeholders to encourage women into the trades and to improve opportunities and outcomes for women in the priority area of economic participation. 


 Closes 30 August


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Young’s Down to Earth Opera



Young’s Down to Earth Opera, in association with Pacific Opera, presents Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”  on Saturday 31st August 2013 at 7.30 pm
 
The only performance of this production outside the metropolitan area we offer music lovers in the region an evening of truly entertaining musical theatre. 
 
The plot has all the hallmarks of outrageous comedy - a single day of madness, a wedding of two servants, a scheming, skirt-chasing Count and a plot rife with the complexities of marriage, jealousy, infidelity and infatuation!   
 
Often proclaimed as the most entertaining operatic comedy ever written, this stylised concert is a witty, elegant blend of high comedy and Mozart’s sublime music and the perfect showcase for the outstanding young talent of Pacific Opera. 

 
31st August at the Young Town Hall.
 
Tickets are available on line at http://www.downto earthoperarthopera.com.au/ or from M&M Music Studios Young Ph. 0263 822 836 .Adults $50  Friends $40 Children $25.

2013 annual NSW Rural Women’s Gathering - Scone


The 2013 annual NSW Rural Women’s Gathering  is being held in Scone on 25, 26 & 27 October. There is a fantastic line-up of speakers, more than 60 workshops on offer, and a host of other great activities you don’t want to miss. 
Registrations are now open so jump online and register here today.  Early Bird registration received up until 1 September will be entered into the draw for a full registration refund, the winner to be announced during the Gathering weekend.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Slowly, Quietly and Excruciatingly We Were Forced Out

And so very slowly, quietly and excruciatingly my children were forced out of the very Catholic school we had kept open.

Huh??

What happened here?

How does that happen?

WTF?

.

Clearly looking over this blog it appears there is a tinge of anger over the last 12 months.

Well that's not surprising.

My children have been hurt, in the worst possible way.

By the adults I had entrusted them to.

Watching my children unravel has been the most sickening and excruciating pain I have ever had to endure.

Beautiful (Nastya Belskih by photographer Simon)

When your children are born you look into their eyes and make a promise that you will protect them.
You look at them and give thanks that they got here safely and are perfect.
You make choices to help them and protect them (what could be safer than a Catholic school?)
You give them the best you possibly can.
You sacrifice everything.

sometimes, you gotta weather the storm before you can see the rainbow

And so when one of your children unravels to the point that you do not recognise them, it becomes chaotic, unbelievable and breaks your heart in a way I don't even have words for.

I am a good person
I am honest.
I give to charities.
I teach my children manners and to respect others (yes I do)
I even created a blog to inspire myself and others.
So why this?

Isn't it ironic (yes Alannis it most certainly is)

There are no answers that I can give or be given.

(The priest could only listen in what seemed like stunned silence when I asked what had happened - and has given us no contact since - hang on, no-one has - until I demanded it, seems to be the Catholic way- silence, denial, intimidation - we've had it all )

My family has been thrown head first into the world of coping with life and diagnosis's that no one wants to hear.
Its been ugly.
Its been frightening.
Is been terribly unfair
and in our circumstances unbelievable.



How could these beautiful, magnificent souls be treated so unfairly?
They are children, and children don't lie right? (No they don't, not about the big stuff).
Don't worry we won't bother asking them what happened (because they will tell the truth?)
How could the very community I fought to help just watch us walk away?
(Or rather day after day walk out in tears because my son had had another meltdown and it was better to just let us leave than actually show some compassion or kindness).
How could these children lose trust in every single adult at school?

Awkward, uncomfortable?

I don't really care as I have been coping with judgements and accusations for some time now.

Just blame the parents, its easier.

It must surely come from home.

"Your child cannot be motivated"

"He will end up in gaol"
while insinuating that he must watch porn on the computer in the home

Huh?

A worried mom

Hang on, my child was coming home from school begging me to kill him not the other way around.
I was picking my children up from school in tears and they were begging me not to send them in there in the mornings.

 Something seems wrong here.

(White elephant, white elephant)

Didn't the issues include that he was let walk back to school unsupervised, or that the phone was hung up on him when he was calling his mother for help, or that I was asked to keep him home from an excursion?  (This happened regularly).
Or that I was blatantly lied too and my children were made to feel worthless.
That sounds more like it.
Holy Moses no wonder my son swore at them.

And what happened when I complained, when I asked for help?

Several times.

After all it's a Catholic school that promotes itself with pastoral care.....

“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.”  —  St. Augustine (354–430)

Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
You know the sound of crickets at night?

And so sadly after so much pain, after so much bullying towards my family we had to walk away.
(Clearly in the best interests of my children)
We didn't want to, we were completely forced out.

But it was your decision.
(Hang on when I cannot even get my children through the front gate without dragging them - there is no decision to make)

And the big question - what is happening in there to make my child behave in this way?
(That's ok just ignore that one, clearly not important)

We are sorry to see you go - really, really?  The last 12 months I am sure certain people could not wait to see the back of me, certainly we were made feel that way, so please don't be condescending towards my family any more.

I will endure the flicks of the wrist I receive now as they dismiss me only because I know I have done nothing wrong.  I did not lie to protect adults or cover up mistakes and ignorance.

Why didn't I leave earlier when things were so awful?
Because I am Catholic and I truly believed that someone would stand up and do the right thing.
I gave adults every chance to right the wrongs, speak up.
Listen to my concerns.
I consistently asked why my child was getting to the point were where he was having daily meltdowns at this school.
No answer.
I kept my faith even when we had lost everything else.
I had fought so hard to keep this school open (who else was going to spend every weekend alone in a cold school photocopying flyers to send out to the community or spend every moment of the last 6 years doing everything they could to promote it).

On another side what happens when I leave with my family and the community then has to face up to the fact that the school has failed in its duty of care to this family.

I had wanted to give my children the Catholic education which I had fought so hard for in my community.

Every child matters???

Really?

There is a now a school in town that I kept open and we cannot attend.

Why?

Because my children were not wanted maybe?

Because the issues my son faced were too difficult? (these issues arose at school, deal with it)

Because once again, the school failed in its duty of care?

Because, because, because.

If you ask my son he will tell you, quite maturely what the problem was.

Arr there's that white elephant in the room, actually its everywhere we go now.


truth

At no time did we ever do anything wrong and were completely honest and compliant.

All we did was ask for help.

All I got was phone call after phone to come and collect my son to the point where I now have difficulty answering my mobile without a panic attack.  (This is normal I am told).

Many parents know the feeling of being called to collect their children when they can no longer remain at school - that is a whole different story.  Living like this puts you in a whole different universe to everyone else.

Over the last 12 months my family changed in a way I could not recognise or understand.  Living on a daily roller coaster of emotions which swing from extreme to extreme is mind blowing.
Exhaustion sets in and you go onto auto pilot.
You remove yourself from social situations because it is just too hard to talk about and most times just too hard to speak.
You spend night after night lying in bed with your children while they cry themselves to sleep because the anxiety, emotion and confusion is all consuming and overwhelming.

My daughter made her First Communion recently and we were asked to think of a time when the family is doing something together - all I could come up with was family trauma counselling!
Such is our life.

So why now are my children doing as they were 18 months ago.

Magnificently.

What?

I am not complaining, I am just not use to it anymore.
A good day, what's that?

I guess when you remove the children from the source of the hurt things will improve.

I will never forget how the hierarchy just stood back and let my children down.

And so if I seem sad, I am.
Hurt, oh yes.
Confused, terribly.
Anger is a part of the process.
We were just an everyday family that had a great injustice done to us.
Unfair - oh there are no words to describe the unfairness of it all.
And a situation that became so bizarre that I cannot even explain it when I am asked.

Out of this comes many issues which we now have to deal with as a family.
For my other children watching their sibling unravel has been terribly damaging.
Watching them now doing so well is just as confusing.

What happened?

One, two, cha-cha-cha...

We had to contend with personalities that appeared to be on a somewhat misguided power trip.

Somehow I think Mary McKillop would be terribly disappointed too.

Our world has been shaken to the core from our experience.
We feel like we have been through some kind of a war.
(Yes we have survived but only just and there is a long way to go)
We are the terribly fragile, battered, confused and bruised family that I guess had to live out this time to become better.
But none of it needed to have happened.
Most of it was avoidable.
Children just need to feel safe, not react like they are in a war zone.

zen

And so what was it all for?
Why did I strive so hard for something that has now turned our world upside down and turned its back on my children?
I hold onto the hope that there is greatness ahead for my family.

I have so much respect for families that live day in day out with children that have all these challenges.
ADHD, ODD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, etc etc there are so many that you can list them down the page.
There is very little understanding for families who go through this.
There are the judgements and there is discrimination.
Too hard for most people.
These are the families who go through daily hell, quietly and unnoticed most of the time.
These are the children who need understanding and love.
These are the children who have qualities that most of us can only dream about.
They are unique, precious and deserve the same treatment as every other child.
Why write about it here?  If I dont speak up for my children no one will.



Schools.
They are a slippery slope.
Our experience is hopefully an isolated case.
Fortunately I believe most teachers and caregivers are good and try to help.

Our journey does not end here.
Slowly each day we begin to pick up the pieces again and feel our way back.
Slowly each day we try to forgive and forget - but it's a process.
Slowly each day we remember the few people who stood by us and didn't back down, even when the sky was falling in and we could not make sense of anything.
(This was not once or twice but crisis after crisis day after day).
We know as a family the type of people we do not want to become.
We will stand up for others who need it when it is the unpopular thing to do.
We will show kindness and love for others and forgive those who have wronged us.
We will continue to help each of our family through the struggles.
Everyday I educate myself on how I can help my family.
I hope one day I will find my faith in the Catholic system again.

And....



There is a line in a song for every emotion.
We have sung and danced to them all.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”


Amen




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Networking the Networks Project

Are you a woman who loves her networks and lives in rural, remote or regional Australia?
Do you want to play a key role in strengthening the voice of rural, remote and regional women?
Would you be willing to volunteer your time to assist the National Rural Women’s Coalition in the “Networking the Networks” project?


The National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) will bring together a team of 8 women from all parts of Australia to be part of an Advisory Group for a 12 month period, commencing August 2013.  The main task of this group is to advise the NRWC Board in the strategic direction of the National Rural Women’s Network, which has the working name of ‘Networking the Networks’, or NTN. 


The NRWC is calling for expressions of interest from 6 female volunteers from all parts of rural, remote and regional Australia to be part of the NTN Advisory Group. 

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1.  Establish a team to advise and monitor the NTN projects progress and to inform the future direction of the network.

2.  Develop new communication strategies to further develop the National Rural Women’s Network (NRWN) and increase membership to strengthen its presence     within rural communities.

3.  Strengthen the networks links with other existing organizations, networks, individuals, government departments, industry bodies and rural communities to actively engage on issues affecting women living in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia.

4.  Identify future opportunities for the network to work with other stakeholders on projects and programs relevant to women living in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia.

5.  Conduct an evaluation of the network focusing on its progress to date, particularly its effectiveness in meeting the needs of its members and its future potential.



You should be prepared to commit some time to this project in the period August 2013 – August 2014.  A broad indication of the time needed will involve 2-4 hours per month of preparation for monthly (virtual) meetings, plus a willingness to attend two face-to-face meetings in a capital city in the next 12 months.  All expenses associated with travelling to meetings will be reimbursed.  You will also be expected to utilize your existing networks to gather information which may inform the work of the Advisory Group. 

The first face to face meting to the NTN Advisory Group will be held on Monday 2nd September and Tuesday 3rd September.  EOI’s which indicate an availability to attend this initial meeting will be viewed preferably.  Thereafter, the team will meet using teleconferences and web conferencing.  A second face to face meeting will be organized for mid 2014, at a place/date mutually convenient for all. 

Comfy




INTERESTED IN APPLYING?


If you are interested, please complete the EOI form and return it by 12 noon on Monday 12th August, 2013 to the NRWC Program Manager at pm@nrwc.com.au



Friday, August 2, 2013