A Note From Friends of HEAL CEO – Jane Griffin

Dear Supporters and Friends of HEAL

Season’s Greetings to one and all!  What a wonderful six months we have had since I last wrote. Thanks for enabling some seriously important work with Creative Arts Therapy for refugee newcomers in Brisbane schools!

Our big news in August was winning the QLD Multicultural Award for “Services and Communities Award Organisation”


Of course it’s great to get an award, but it’s especially good to know that word is getting around about the great value of creative therapy to refugee newcomers. This assists with our master plan, to encourage schools to understand the great difference this work makes, which encourages them to advocate for it, and assist with finding funds for it…


Welcome Fest

October was fun with our involvement in WelcomeFest, a large Multicultural Festival – we took along the mobile art van “HEAL on Wheels” and provided free art activities for attendees.

This included messages for refugees which were written on post-its, and pegged to our Welcome Tree.

The pictures show some of our past students visiting FHEAL Board Member Janelle Paterson and Art Therapist Catherine Winlaw, on the day; the Welcome Tree, and some of the post-its people contributed.



We have been helping many young people from the various corners of the earth this year. They are referred by teachers because they are struggling with learning, or perhaps are withdrawn and appear sad, or are involved in peer conflict and lack self-control. They are from Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, and Myanmar, to name a few countries of origin.

One Iraqi boy I met with last week spent some time sharing photos with me. They were before and after pics of his home. The “before” showed a middle-class style two story home with a fancy staircase and tiled kitchen. The “after” pic showed just rubble. His home was in Mosul, and was completely destroyed. However, his family were lucky enough to be brought here as refugees, and he is doing well at school, after some difficulty with peers. Having been referred to HEAL, he has been able to express his feelings and grief, something he prefers to do in private, and the HEAL space offers privacy and support.

Don’t forget, these kids do not want pity.  They are adolescents- they want acceptance, and great music, and good looking clothes!

Now with the help of therapeutic activities he has learned about his own emotional regulation, so that he is able to function more peacefully. This assists his learning, and improves the chances of a bright future in his new place here. You helped this happen, for him and many others.

The Board, including Chair Adele Rice, (pictured below) appreciate your support. FHEAL Services are happening at Milpera, Yeronga, Kedron, and Woodridge State High Schools, at Watson Road and Richlands East State Schools, and at St James College. Thank you to the anonymous donor who is funding the Watson Road work, that is indeed a generous gift to the refugee background children there. Thanks to MDA who are funding some of the Richlands East work. We have also provided service to ACCESS for their Community hubs this year, and provided staff development work in the corporate world. Thanks to our monthly donors who help to keep our service flourishing.


In the coming year we are planning to hold our annual lunch on Sunday May 21 (the perfect Mothers Day present, tickets for a lovely lunch a week after Mum’s Day), so please claim the date in your new  diary!

We are also hoping to be offering a QPAC Concert, as we had last year. Please keep an eye on our website for further news about these events.

Thanks for your assistance, whether it be via donation, or buying our online products, such as cards and colouring books (www.fheal.com.au), or just caring enough to be well-informed. We could not help these amazing kids without such support.

Enjoy some pics of present HEAL kids and a few grown-up ones plus friends :



Wishing you and yours all the best for a Happy Christmas time, and may you enjoy the peace which comes from knowing you are making a difference in the world, with thanks,

Jane    (Jane Griffin, CEO Friends of HEAL Foundation)