End of Year Chat

The end of the year has been most celebratory for us at the Friends of HEAL Foundation, and also for our refugee background kids participating in HEAL services in QLD schools

We have been fortunate to receive a generous grant from the English Foundation which will allow us to focus on the use of yoga therapy to our creative arts therapy practice at Milpera and Woodridge State High Schools over the next two years. Recent research indicates that movement and the body are an increasingly important focus in psychotherapeutic work with those who have experienced trauma.

We have also been fortunate in having the support of the Commonwealth Bank in the form of a grant across three years, for work to be done at Kedron and Yeronga State High Schools, and St James College. This will involve using digital cameras to work on questions of identity, belonging and acculturation. And we will be able to use some of the second quality paints kindly donated to our HEAL services by Jim Cobb of Chroma Australia.

Our HEAL participants have had exciting, challenging, comforting and settling times of transition and growth. Activities while engaged in psychoeducation, relaxation skills, and emotional regulation practice have ranged from painting and drawing, to clay work, sand-play, textiles, sculpture, anti-gravity yoga (thanks to Master trainer Renae Stevens), and even puppy play, with the help of Caitlin Von Berky.

Now the puppy visit was fun! Some kids had never before had the opportunity to touch a dog, and within a short time span, they were experiencing the joy of puppy cuddling. Good for building empathy, cultural education, and just for plain old feeling a little bit of love.

Our Chair Adele Rice A.M. spoke at numerous events with the incredible energy she has, which leaves us all in awe. These included, for example, speaking at the Social Change Education network (SCENE), and sitting on a panel alongside prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside at UQ for “Voices from the Archives”. We also celebrated our annual lunch in style at The Summit Restaurant, Mt Cootha, and will do so again in 2018.Oh, and of course we worked hard in the HEAL services to help kids manage grief and loss, confusion and alienation, worry and stress, and all that which can accompany the refugee journey.

During 2017 our FHEAL Music Therapist Jamie Rowitsch presented a poster at the Australian Music Therapy Conference, and CEO Jane Griffin spoke at the Trauma Aware Schooling Conference, as well as to adult and student school groups. FHEAL arts therapists Gayle Crisp, Taraka Sticha and Judith Gordon also made presentations to various groups. Two of our HEAL services hosted UQ Master Mental Health students on practicum.

We gained a few more monthly donors this year- THANK YOU!! This is a great way to ensure the continuity of the service. (Random donations via cheque or online are also welcome!) We also sold goods to raise funds. For those who are shopping online these days, we now have an eBay shop where we sell items donated to us. Most recently we have had a handful of fabulous summer clothes from designer labels Ruby Yaya & Adrift, and all proceeds go to FHEAL for therapy.

Items for sale will vary according to what we are given to sell, but prices will always be good. The ebay clothes were modelled by our CEO and daughter Claire, not because they have skills in that area, but because they don’t charge. No fancy overheads for us!

As well as the ebay shop, we also have our gift shop on the website selling great gift cards, donated goods, perpetual calendars, have a look-  www.fheal.com.au . The following photos show some of the goods available online.

In fact we are proud to note that we are very careful with the money our supporters give- we do not want to waste money on admin. Our wonderful Treasurer Michael Clarke tells us we are spending 93% of all money received on our therapy services, with only 7% percent going on fundraising costs, mobile service costs and supplies for therapists. That’s a bit like running on a shoestring, but it works for us.

Please make a note of the following dates, and join us for our events in 2018. We have a QPAC Concert coming up on Tuesday 27th March, and our annual lunch, including silent auction will be on Sunday the 20th May, once again at The Summit.

Thanks for your interest and support. You are helping us to make a difference to young former refugees’ lives. And that’s building a better world for all.

Many best wishes for the festive season, peace and love,
Jane and Adele on behalf of the Board of the Friends of HEAL Foundation Nov 2017