Kinship care program benefits from corporate support
Thanks to the generosity of three donations from the automotive industry, children and young people in OzChild’s kinship care program will have the opportunity to participate in their favourite activities.
Axalta Coating Systems along with business partners Smashcare Group and Western General Bodyworks Group presented three sizeable cheques to representatives of OzChild at a corporate event during the recent Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo in Melbourne.
Axalta’s Sales Director for Australia and New Zealand Paul Wake said the company was pleased to support OzChild and the children in kinship care.
“Axalta has strong internal company core values and we like to see these values used to help the communities we work in, especially to help children and young people prosper in life,” Paul said.
“I have known of the wonderful work OzChild does through a friendship with Lynne McCrae, a senior manager in the organisation’s kinship care team. I am very pleased that we have been able to make this donation to help the children in kindship care enjoy activities that the rest of us take for granted.
“I am proud to be part of trying to change someone’s outlook on life and know people that dedicate their lives to help others like the staff at OzChild.”
CEO of OzChild Lisa Griffiths said she was delighted by the generous support of Axalta Coating Systems and its partners Smashcare Group and Western General Bodyworks Group.
“Corporate support is important to organisations like OzChild as it enables us to assist the vulnerable children, young people and families we work with,” Lisa said.
“It can be tough for children in kinship care. They are not living with their parents and are being cared for by relatives or those known to the family who often don’t have the resources to provide things other families can take for granted.
“These donation will go directly to help those children in kinship care so they can pursue normal activities things like jazz dance classes, basketball team registration, music tuition, swimming lessons, and school camp fees.”
Axalta donated $10,000 which was raised through a promotion for its customers while Smashcare Group and Western General Bodyworks Group both contributed $5,000 each.
If your company is interested in supporting OzChild contact Glynis Smalley on 0409 941 784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medal recognises service of OzChild CEO
OzChild’s Chief Executive Officer Lisa J. Griffiths has been acknowledged for her significant service to the people of Victoria during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Lisa was presented with the National Emergency Medal at a recent meeting of the OzChild Board by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade’s Acting Chief Officer, Paul Stacchino.
The National Emergency Medal is an operational service medal which recognises significant or sustained service to others in a nationally significant emergency. It was first presented in 2012. The 2009 Victorian bushfires, the 2010-2011 Queensland floods, and Cyclone Yasi have been declared nationally significant emergencies for the purpose of the Medal.
Lisa was the Director of Community Safety with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) during the period that included the bushfires and the subsequent Royal Commission. She was instrumental in forming the CFA’s response to the tragedy and implementing policy reforms. Lisa also made significant contributions to land use reform during her time.
Lisa said she felt very privileged to receive the award.
“I am really humbled to be honoured with this award,” Lisa said.
“It was a terrible time for the people of Victoria. I was fortunate to work with so many committed people at the CFA who worked tirelessly to respond to the worst bushfire disaster in Victoria.”
President of the OzChild Board Helen Maxwell-Wright said Lisa was an inspiration to all those who worked with her.
“We are indeed fortunate to have a leader with such depth of passion, integrity and experience in building community safety - for that is what Lisa is doing for children and young people too,’ Helen said.
Lisa joined OzChild as Chief Executive Officer in February 2014 from WorkSafe Victoria where she held the role of General Manager of Health and Safety. Lisa has had an international executive career working in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom with over 30 years of direct experience in the NFP and government sectors. While in the United States, Lisa was the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of two child and family charities, and truly believes “that today’s Children are tomorrow’s leaders”.
ACT Rugby Legend Plays for OzChild
Tuesday 4 April, 2017
There will be a hint of nostalgia in the air this weekend as former ACT Brumbies player and current OzChild staffer Jone Tawake takes to the field for a special rugby union legends game in Canberra.
Sporting his famous number 8, Jone, a Case Manager Foster Care based at OzChild’s ACT office, will take up his flanker position for the clash between the Brumbies Legends and the Reds Barbarians at GIO Stadium in Canberra. The game is part of the Brumbies Retro Round.
Before coming to work at OzChild’s new office in the ACT, Jone had a stellar career playing rugby union for over ten years both in Australia and overseas. Jone played for the Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs before heading to Japan to play with Secom and France to play with Narbonne, Bourg en Bress and RC Toulon. Jone was part of the Wallabies World Cup Squad 2003 and 2007 but due to major injuries was not able to participate.
Jone said as a member of a successful rugby union team, it was important to respect and support his fellow team mates so they could all reach their full potential.
“I enjoyed my time playing with Brumbies and the opportunities it opened up for me,” Jone said.
“I now want to give back to the community through my work with the kids and families I am involved with at OzChild and the Brumbies Talent Academy.
“At the Academy I am helping to develop the next generation of rugby player – to be a role model: likewise at OzChild I work with kids who need a role model, a bit of respect and a safe home so they too can have their chance to shine.”
Jone with take to the field on Saturday night sporting a special head protector in orange featuring the OzChild logo. He also proudly posed in a specially commissioned OzChild training top for a media call to promote the event earlier this week.
“I am very happy to be part of this Legends game so I can lift the profile of OzChild in the ACT,” Jone said.
Watch Jone's Brumbies media call
Uni students fundraise for OzChild’s kids
Two local university students are forgoing presents to raise much-needed money for vulnerable and at-risk children and young people. Alysse Cruz and Erick de la Paz from Leopold raised a total of $1,085 to support foster care, kinship care, family services, educational support and disability.
Deakin University occupational therapy student Alysse Cruz turned 21 in late 2016, but parties were the last thing on her mind - she wanted to fundraise instead. And instead of receiving gifts on Christmas, Alysse and her boyfriend Erick - who is studying commerce - asked friends, family and community in Leopold to dig deep for OzChild’s kids.
“Every year, my boyfriend Erick and I ask ourselves, ‘What do I want for Christmas?’ and we always realise that we don't need any more than what we already have,” Alysse says.
“We realised that there are a lot of kids who aren't as fortunate as us. We wanted to get the message out that we want kids to spend Christmas in the way they deserve.”
Over the two months leading up to Christmas, Alysse and Erick launched The Christmas Project to raise funds for OzChild who have the biggest foster care program in Victoria. The Christmas Project involved a Christmas Market, a board games night, and an Everyday Hero page.
“It was hard at first, we were worried about what people would think and things were slow,” Alysse says.
“But we started printing collateral about OzChild and explained why it was important. It’s not us they’re helping - it’s going to kids who need it. That’s when things started picking up. It was good to talk to people and raise awareness.”
Making a difference in her community is important to Alysse who wants to work with at-risk kids and children with disabilities when she graduates. With a natural alignment to her career aspirations and selfless personal values, OzChild was an obvious choice.
CEO of OzChild Lisa J. Griffiths says, “We would like to thank Alysse and Erick for their generosity, initiative and for thinking of OzChild’s kids. Their funds will go towards therapeutic care, education support and intervention programs to heal and strengthen at-risk kids and families.”
Digital Content Producer Ellie Freeman
(03) 9695 2211
Madi and Lizzy
We're proud of our young women in foster care who have been accepted into university.
Madi has been in foster care with OzChild since she was seven years old. After many foster carer changes, Madi finally came to live with an OzChild carer. Madi settled well into this placement and became part of the carer’s family. She has always been a strong and resilient girl with great determination to succeed. Despite going through many challenges in her life and having to change schools in Year 12, Maddi has thrived at school and her teachers have commended her hard work and dedication.
In her final year of high school, Madi won the Endeavour Award for Physics, successfully completed her VCE and achieved an ATAR high enough to secure her place to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Victoria University. It's the first step towards her goal of becoming a medical researcher.
Lizzy has been with OzChild foster carers since she was five. Lizzy's carers have always encouraged and supported her to achieve her best. Lizzy is a focused and ambitious young girl, who is dedicated her goal of becoming a zoologist and travelling the world to work with big cats.
Thanks to the support of her carers, this dream is one step closer to becoming a reality for Lizzy. She successfully completed her VCE and has been accepted into a Bachelor of Science at Deakin University. Despite some challenges, Lizzy has worked really hard in school all year to secure her place and get closer to achieving her career ambitions. She will be the first person in her family to attend university and is extremely proud of herself.