WHAT'S HAPPENING @ MULLUM COTTAGE
'A group of Year 10 girls from Mullumbimby High have been participants in the BYS Cottage girls group for eighteen months and we've had many discussions about the issues they've had to face ... lots of them have already experienced so much pain and loss. During one of our many discussions, Kiri had the idea of having an inspirational women's day, which we later brainstormed and Sari came up with calling it 'All the Girls'.
The girls described an inspirational woman is one they admire, that has survived adversity and has experience and wisdom to share that they will find useful.
The girls came up with a list of inspirational local women they wanted to invite and I was happy to find that most of them had someone they wanted to invite. Some, with 'present' mothers, wanted to invite their mum, we had one grandmother (not counting me), three teachers
and two teachers' aides from the school, my BYS work colleagues, two female journalists, two local Aboriginal women and some of the girls older peers.
Not everyone could come but most did and it was a wonderful, comfortable, happy and yes inspirational day.
The girls decorated the Cottage and prepared lots of yummy food but the highlight was the discussion which revolved around 'how do we survive, how do we survive hardship as women, how do we survive loss, grief, death, bullying, alienation.' Emily Finberg talked about not having even the basics of food, shelter or security as a child and her struggles to find support, education, love and friendship.
All agreed that Mullumbimby High School did care about people, didn't judge and gave students chances, choices and support. The teachers spoke of their love for the school and the students and how it is for them
trying to support the many students facing a variety of adversities. Many of the girls spoke of their losses, their heartaches but more importantly what got them through, friends, family and other supportive local women. They spoke of how it felt to be bullied and how that affects them now, the kind of girls it's made them. They talked of what they could do to make a difference with other students who are being bullied and who may be hard to reach. And even as teenagers they spoke of the importance of giving, loving, supporting the community! They described themselves as being lucky to be living in a town such as Mullumbimby.
For this group the whole process has boosted self esteem and self confidence. One of the comments made at the end was 'yay, we finished something'.
As a youth worker I was so proud of them that they followed through, on all the steps and ended up with a great event.'