Made by children, for children

IF you want something done with care, compassion and creativity, ask a child.

This was the case at St Mary’s College recently when the school’s year eight materials and design students, led by woodwork teacher Rod Clear, contributed 25 unique works of art to a special community project.

Spearheaded by a partnership between Hill Street Grocer and the Australian Childhood Foundation, the project will see the establishment of Tasmania’s first-ever community-funded specialist child recovery centre.

The student’s works, which are all shaped as houses to symbolise a sense of home and safety, will serve as collection boxes for the centre.

“We wanted donation boxes that were sturdy and durable, but also told the very important story of what we’re working to achieve for children,” Hill Street co-owner Nick Nikitaras said.

“Every night across Australia, more than 46,000 children cannot sleep in their own homes because of fears for their safety and for us that’s simply not acceptable.

“Every child has the right to a home and a place where they feel safe and loved and the child trauma recovery centre will help make that possible for Tasmania’s most vulnerable children.”

Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive officer Dr Joe Tucci said there was something “so right and special” about these boxes being designed and made by children, for children.

“The thought, care and compassion that has gone into creating each of these little houses shows me that there is hope for our most vulnerable children,” he said.

“The Foundation’s central purpose is to work to bring love back to children affected by the trauma of child abuse and family violence.

“We are leading a movement for children that empowers our community to feel better able to defend childhood for every child.

“Rod Clear and the St Mary’s students have led by example in showing how we as a community need to come together for the safety and protection of all children.”

St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer said the project was a wonderful example of integrating real-life outcomes with learning.

“It’s a great example of ‘the Catholic curriculum’, when learning in one area is underpinned by Catholic social teaching,” she said

Dr Tucci said Hill Street had made an enormous contribution to raising funds for the centre, but more community support was still needed.

“I hope the Tasmanian community will follow the lead of Hill Street and St Mary’s College and help us reach our target so we can make this vision a reality for Tasmanian children,” he said.

The boxes will be placed on the counters of all 10 Hill Street stores around the state, with all donations going into a dedicated fund for the Tasmanian Child Trauma Recovery Centre.

Donations can also be made online at childhood.org.au.

Caption: St Mary’s College year eight students, from left, Emma Barry, Emily Holligan, Meika Clark and Imogen Faltusz with their donation collection boxes, which will be used to help raise money for the state’s first child trauma recovery centre.