BLOG: How you can help a disadvantaged child

How many New Year’s resolutions have we all made over the years? They come with all good intentions and with the shiny new light of each New Year. Just as quickly they can be forgotten, diminished by the ‘busi-ness” of our daily lives.

We make these promises to ourselves perhaps because we have decided to do something new or differently. It might be we need a new project, focus, or change of circumstance in order to find more meaning in our life or improve it in some way. 

CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles Program is launching its first campaign of the year.

It’s called What’s your New Year’s resolution? Imagine… a New Year's resolution that really enhanced a child’s life and yours at the same time.

Kids don’t get to choose what their childhood will be like and for many it’s tough at home. We are asking people in the Illawarra to consider becoming a volunteer carer/mentor and support one child in your local community to have a better life.

It’s a commitment that you can make to give a child in your own community a chance to experience the things we all take for granted. 

It’s really not hard to support a child in need. Caresouth’s Aunties & Uncles program has been supporting and caring for disadvantaged children in our local communities for more than 21 years. We have a philosophy that works, because its simple and it comes from the heart. All you have to do is be yourself and make time to develop a friendship with a child. We support you throughout the journey. Our ‘Aunties’ and ‘Uncles’ often say they wish they had got involved years ago.

During my eight years as CareSouth Aunties & Uncles Program Manager, I have witnessed change occur for children and families who struggle with life. I continue to be inspired and in awe of what becomes possible when we take time to care for those who need our help the most. It really is a privilege to work with our volunteer carers. I would like to share with you some of the insights our wonderful ‘Aunties’ and ‘Uncles’ have shared with me.*

 “We were very nervous about how the relationship would develop with a child coming from a traumatic background. We took it slowly and didn't do anything special and the happiness we see in the child has provided us with incredible joy.” (James & Anne)

“We told our link child one day that we have a country property that we would take him to visit. He was very excited and drew himself on a tractor at the property. My husband made a frame for it and it now takes pride of place in our ‘nephew’s’ bedroom.” (Jo)

“We make cupcakes prior to our ‘niece’ going home at the end of her stay. She told us that she likes to take one to school each day so she can think of us as she is eating them.” (Beth)

“Our ‘Anna Weekend’ is the highlight of our month and it is the best decision we have made [to become an ‘Aunty and Uncle’] in the past two years." (Lily)

We all know the expression ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and that ‘children are our future’.

There is no better evidence of the truth of this than CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles program. As a community, we owe it to each other to notice what is happening around us and in front of us. Many children in our communities live with poverty and disadvantage. We know that with kindness, patience, commitment and the support of a trusted friend and mentor we can change the way a child sees the world and have a lasting impact on their future. It’s about hope.

Make this year’s New Year resolution one that counts! Come along to a CareSouth information session in your area and hear what we have to say. We know you will be inspired to make a difference. You will be able to hear from some of our current carers/mentors who will share their stories with you.

Information sessions

February 12 at Addy’s Shellharbour from 6pm;

February 24 at Anglican Church Hall, Austinmer from 7.30pm;

February 26 at Milton Ulladulla Ex Serviceman’s Club from 6pm; and

February 27 at Bombaderry Bowling Club from 6pm.

You can visit our website www.caresouth.org.au or call us on 1300 554 260 to find out more.

Clare Wilson Program Manager, CareSouth Aunties & Uncles Program

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

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