How we help 12 year olds to understand family violence

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

Family violence. It's not an easy topic to broach, especially with impressionable twelve year old girls, but we were proud of our participants and their mature, thoughtful approach to our afternoon volunteering with McAuley Community Services for Women.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Tania from McAuley, who works in Community & Schools Engagement for this important organisation that supports mothers and children fleeing domestic violence. We listened to the challenges mums and kids face when they run away from home, and what abuse can look like in its various forms.

With a clear picture of who we were helping and why, our families got to work assembling bags of donated gifts for Mother's Day they had collected in the weeks leading up to the session. We also made fleecy blankets for young children who had fled home with little or no belongings. We talked about the comfort that the blankets, so lovingly made by our families, would bring to the children as they embarked on their difficult journeys. The girls also wrote beautiful messages to the mothers that showed their empathy for the mums. Families worked in small groups making colourful ribbon wreaths to bring colour and cheer into their lives.

Parents said: the experience was "inspiring, moving and productive" and "helpful, informative and thought provoking". Highlights for parents included "watching my daughter make the gift bags - she was smiling all the time obviously thinking about the joy these gifts would bring to someone in need".

Twelve and Thirteen are designed not only to help people in need in a year that can very quickly revolve around a child and their friends, but also enrich a young person’s understanding of the world we live in, and give them the opportunity to develop their ability to empathise with others by practising acts of kindness and giving.

We are incredibly grateful for the many donations we received from individuals, as well as The Body Collection, tiny and i, Sussan, from Toby Levy and Wayne Levy and many more. A big thank you to our families for the incredible efforts they made collecting so many lovely gifts and treats for mums in need.

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