Cook4Good sessions are filling fast – register now

Teens Cook4Good (with parent/s) Sunday November 19, and Family Cook4Good Sunday December 3 still have space available. 

Join us in making a difference to someone else’s life. You’ll cook approx. 250+ nutritious meals and deliver to the homeless and other recipients in need of a nutritious meal. Register now to avoid disappointment http://tinyurl.com/cook4good2017

Teens and Parents Cook4Good for Year 7 and up is back by popular demand – Sunday, 19th November – Teen Day 9:30am – 1:30pm

Family Cook4Good is for the whole family, age 8+                         Sunday, 3rd December – Family Day (Age 8+) 9:30am – 1:30pm

The remainder of programs for 2017 are now sold out, so get in quick to make sure you’re part of one of these days.

DETAILS:

Time: 9:30am – to approx. 1:30pm including delivery in your car
Location: OBK Bondi
Cost: $45.42 per person (incl GST & credit card fees) This covers cost of ingredients for donated meals that you’ll be making, plus kitchen hire. A light morning tea for participants is also included.

Please note: PRE-REGISTRATION required. Due to safety reasons children under the age of 10 are not permitted to use knives. But they certainly will be able to help with other cooking tasks.

Come with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends!

The Adventure Run that proved true to its name

Our recent Kids Giving Back – Goldman Brothers Adventure Run fundraiser was nothing short of phenomenal, leaving all participants glowing along with a healthy bout of fatigue and a few sore muscles.

The fundraiser is still open for a few weeks into June, so please consider making a donation if you haven’t yet done so https://adventure-run.com.au/  Our thanks to everyone who has donated, for your generosity.

Sara, one of our energetic Youth Ambassadors who participated along with her brother Joel and parents Simon and Rebecca, shares her memories of this inspiring weekend:  “Wow, what a weekend! Running, walking and limping over 50km was no easy task but we made it. From little Josh to Barry and David, there was an assortment of differing levels and ages, all competing and raising money for Kids Giving Back.

On the first day we arrived to the beautiful camp site in Jervis Bay, preparing ourselves for what we all knew would be a huge challenge. The tents were set up and we relaxed, as the sun set over the river while delicious food was served. We listened to a few speeches about Kids Giving Back and all the amazing work that they do from Ruth and Carole, the co-founders/directors, as well as a few other participants. Barry and Mark (the Goldman Brothers who initiated the Run) shared how they were inspired to support such a great organisation through this event.

   

On Saturday morning we were greeted bright and early with the sounds of a very persistent rooster as we climbed out of our tents into the cold, fresh air, ready for a big day. After breakfast we jumped on the bus, a perfect mix of adrenaline, excitement and competitiveness as we anticipated the start of a 2 day adventure, beginning on a gorgeous beach. The count down was made up of our loud and eager voices. 5 4 3 2 1 RUN! Every participant bolted into the pristine landscape to soon realise that most of us did not have the energy to continue at that pace for over 25km let alone a few seconds. Once the photos were taken, we could relax and find our pace for the rest of the race.

It was pretty difficult not to love the first few kilometres of the day because the beach and the views were just so breathtaking. The kilometres after that however, became a little more challenging for those less experienced runners. At about halfway we were pleasantly greeted with a food station that contained a buffet of fuel and much needed energy. Chips, coke, snakes, cake and for those more health conscious: banana, water and special energy gels and drink. Upon crossing the finish line a wave of relief swept across us and we all enjoyed a well deserved lunch and relaxation at the beach, as we bonded over the mutual pain of our legs.

As the sun set everyone sat at the edge of the river, drinks in hand, playing card games and contemplating the exciting next day ahead. After dinner we watched adventure/ extreme sport videos to get us hyped for day two.

The highlight of the second day was definitely the water crossings where we swam across two rivers fully clothed with shoes and backpacks. The last few kilometres were probably the hardest as every step hurt but when we finally saw the finishing line our spirits rose as we realised the magnitude of our achievement – over 50 kilometres in two days! Perhaps the most entertaining part of the event was watching everyone hobbling around after the final day.

It was an incredible few days with a great group of people and we hope to see many more of you involved at the next event. Learning from my own experience of zero preparation, the only advice I have is to make sure you train, even just a little bit!”

Loads of phenomenal teamwork enabled our first annual fundraiser to take place: The Adventure Run was initiated by our dedicated Founding Partners, http://goldmanbrothers.com.au/, and every single little detail you could ever imagine to make the weekend happen (including creating the challenging trails we ran and walked) was carried out by the wonderful Challengeworks team https://challengeworks.com.au/

We were super excited to have Heather Hawkins join us as our event Ambassador, inspiring us every step of the way. Check out Heather’s previous marathon adventures here – seven marathons on seven continents in seven days – and that’s only the beginning of why we find her inspiring https://www.facebook.com/HeatherHawkinsAdventurousSpirit/

Like the Adventure Run Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GBAdventureRun/  see more pics and keep up with the latest – it’s not too early to start training for next year’s event!

 

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

 

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

 

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

 

 

Spider-Man, South Sudanese refugees, and the joys of connecting for good

This is the story of a 12-year old who learned something about what we too often consider the little things in life. It’s also about how he witnessed, and helped, an 8-year old South Sudanese refugee, Rabin, transform into Spider-Man. Magic happens at our Connect4Good sessions, and Zayne, 12, tells it like it is:

“This past Sunday I went rock climbing with children who are refugees, through a Kids Giving Back program called Connect4Good. The children’s families fled South Sudan due to war and came to Australia for a better life and freedom from violence. I was excited to be paired up with Rabin, an 8 year who loves soccer. At first it wasn’t easy to communicate with him because he was shy, which is totally understandable.

We asked each other questions to help us get to know each other better and one of them was “have you ever rock climbed before?”, to which he answered “no”. Just after a good five minutes of teaching him he completely transformed into Spider-Man. He was a natural and as brave as a lion. If he saw the climax way up high, trust me there’s nothing you can do to stop him. It turns out I was more scared for him than he was for himself!

What surprised me the most was how happy he was, in fact he was beaming as he climbed every wall in the place. I throw tantrums if my Wi-Fi isn’t working, in fact I might even cry! Rabin is happy even though his family has been through hard times. Although I thought that the reason for this volunteer opportunity was to make the refugees happy, it made me so happy too and taught me to be grateful for all the little things in life, because for some people the little things are not so little”.

Zayne’s mum Ruchika adds:  “Connect4Good really has helped me help Zayne understand the value of giving back. Kids Giving Back is changing lives, not only for the refugees, but for those who volunteer!”

Kids Giving Back is hugely grateful to Grace Gives Community Grants https://www.grace.com.au/grace-gives/ for providing support for Connect4Good. Our program continues throughout 2017 and all sessions are fully booked. Connect4Good is a unique, monthly program, developed and run by Kids Giving Back for 8-13 year olds. It involves volunteering or connecting with a community facing daily challenges, and the focus is on physical activity, social engagement and fun http://kidsgivingback.org/Connect4Good2017.pdf
If you would like your children to participate in Connect4Good 2018 please send your details to info@kidsgivingback.org and write Connect4Good in the header – we will add you to our mail list. We generally release dates either late 2017 or early 2018 and sessions sell out very quickly. Please note this program is specifically for 8-13 year olds.

The best luggage we can leave our kids

A fabulous start to our 2017 Cook4Good programs, with 51 kids and parents cooking, packing and delivering over 190 meals to individuals in need and local homeless shelters. Thanks to all for your time, energy and generosity; your warm, nutritious meals have made a huge difference to a lot of people on a rainy day!

Romain, 13 and Valentin,12 along with their parents Sandrine and Christian were one of our generous families. Christian writes: “What an amazing day today! We genuinely enjoyed the activity. Committing the whole family to a common objective is terrific. It is also of utmost importance to us. Giving our kids what is increasingly missing – unfortunately – in this world: values. This is the best luggage we can leave them for the future. They will make this world a better place to live, I am convinced of it. You can count on us to regularly do this activity and spread the voice.”

To join us at Cook4Good mornings through 2017 sign up here – register for a few dates http://tinyurl.com/cook4good2017

Sweat, Smiles & Stories – Armchair Zumba with the young at heart

Last Sunday saw the launch of our 2017 Connect4Good program, with 19 kids visiting the Queens Park BUPA aged care facility to conduct an armchair Zumba dance workshop with the residents, many of whom are suffering from serious physical and mental infirmities. Connect4Good is our monthly program for 8 to 13 year olds that brings volunteers together with local communities facing daily struggles – all in the spirit of generosity.

Lead by our dynamic Zumba instructor, Siobhan Ferguson, the kids found their rhythm to the tune of a playlist of contemporary and classic grooves. Seated directly opposite them were the residents, who watched, listened and soon after followed suit – though with slightly less flexibility than the kids. 45 minutes later everyone had given it their best go and worked up a sweat and a smile. The session finished with Sinatra’s New York New York, which was intensified by the informal choir of residents who knew all the words by heart. Grateful staff members commented that many of the residents had not exhibited this level of enthusiasm for physical activity in a very long time.

After the Zumba workout volunteers and residents had the opportunity to get to know each other a little better, and by now conversation was flowing naturally. Many residents commented that it was the most fun they’d had forever, while others asked the names of the songs and even offered personal stories to the kids. One of the women was the first female to graduate from Sydney Uni with a Law degree. One of the men had been in Tokyo on the day Japan surrendered during World War 2. Another man sympathetically explained that although three strokes had left him almost entirely paralysed, he had tried his best to get involved using only his left hand. Differences in age and health dissipated as both parties left feeling better than they had prior. Another great example of how generosity transcends the barriers people build between one another, and that’s what Connect4Good is about!

Huge thanks to Zumba teacher extraordinaire, Siobhan for her generosity; to our incredible ‘angel’ Jodi Sher for organising this session. Also to the wonderful residents of BUPA as well as the staff. And of course to the amazing kids who took the time to make a difference. You all rock! With thanks to Grace Gives Australia​  and Bnai Brith for their generous support of our program, enabling us to keep program costs to a minimum.

This post was written by our fabulous Kids Giving Back Youth Ambassador Dan Reede. Kids participating in Connect4Good (Block One)  get to have fun with Dan at each of the sessions.

Cook4Good 2017 – register now, age 8+ as well as teens programs

Sign up now for Cook4Good 2017,  Register for a few dates to avoid disappointment! http://tinyurl.com/cook4good2017
Bring the whole family, age 8+, or join our teen sessions for teens + parents.
Join us in making a difference to someone else’s life.
Cook approx. 250+ nutritious meals and deliver to the homeless and other recipients in need of a warm meal.
 
Family Sessions (age 8+): Sundays – 5th March; 2nd April (Good Deeds Day); 2nd July; 8th October; 5th November;
3rd December

Teen/Parent Sessions: Sundays – 4th June; 10th September; 19th November
 
Time: 9:30am – to approx. 1:30pm including delivery in your car
Location: OBK Bondi
Cost: $40pp (plus booking/credit card fees) covers the cost of ingredients supplied by OBK plus light snack

Please note: PRE-REGISTRATION required. Due to safety reasons children under the age of 10 are not permitted to use knives. But they certainly will be able to help with other cooking tasks.

Come with your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends! http://tinyurl.com/cook4good2017

 

Connect4Good for 8 – 13 year olds – register now

Register now for Connect4Good, our unique, monthly program for 8-13 year olds that involves volunteering or connecting with a community facing daily challenges. Our program provides opportunities to make a difference in a fun and meaningful way, helping kids develop empathy, tolerance, compassion plus greater self-esteem – all while doing good.

Only 20 participants per block so get in quick!

How to book: There are 3 blocks to choose from (each consisting of 3 sessions) Choose as many blocks as you like!
When: Blocks begin in March, June & September on Sunday afternoons and are 2 – 3hrs in duration
Cost: $120 per block (plus booking/credit card fees) 10% reduced rate for sibling, 20% reduced rate for additional siblings

Head here for program details and registration: http://tinyurl.com/Connect4Good2017

With thanks to Grace Gives and B’nai B’rith who have sponsored Connect4Good, enabling us to keep program costs to a minimum.

 

 

Smiles and Lunches – giving back with meaning

The power and love of family volunteering goes a long way, and every school holidays we offer families the opportunity to bring smiles and lunches for asylum seekers and refugees. Chloe (13) and Anna (10) together with mum Catherine once again raised their hands to make and serve lunches for clients at the Asylum Seekers Centre, Newtown over the last school holidays.

Catherine writes: “Hi Guys, Just thought I’d share this photo of my girls, Chloe & Anna, heading into the ASC for a day of service. Another fulfilling day for all of us – thank you for the opportunity to allow our girls a meaningful way to give back!”

Anna (10): “It felt nice to serve people delicious food because they are less fortunate than I am.”

Chloe (13): “It was an eye opening experience to serve all these people who have gone through so much.”

Like and Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KidsGivingBack to keep up with all upcoming volunteering, including school holiday opportunities to make lunches for clients at the Asylum Seekers Centre. In the words of one of our teen volunteers, Apsara, “Spending time giving is actually even better than spending time getting.”

A seemingly small gesture touches hearts – May 2016

When mum, Kim, participated in Cook4Good:Good Deeds Day together with her 12 year old son and his friend, there was more than one revelation. Kim shares the experience:

“On Sunday the 10th of April, officially International Good Deeds Day, my 12 year old son, a friend of his and myself joined a group of volunteers and the Kids Giving Back team to prepare lunch for several charities and individuals in need of care and assistance. This was our first family volunteer day and our first impression was how lovely to see such a varied group of people, including children as young as 8 years old, ready to give up a Sunday morning to prepare food for others less fortunate than ourselves.

Ruth, Carole and Nadine of Kids Giving Back together with the stellar Our Big Kitchen team are about as supremely efficient as any military task force! Armed with all necessary food prep paraphernalia, us troops set about chopping, peeling, moulding, rolling, stirring and shaping a delicious meal of roasted vegetables and pasta bolognaise for our recipients. My son, who has yet to boil an egg (he has only just mastered the art of making a cup of tea) showed me newfound talents as he sliced and diced his quota of butternut, potato, carrot and beetroot. Considering the moans I get about said cup of tea, it was encouraging to see the grin on his face as he and his friend found their way around the vegetables and then rolled out dough and shaped it into very passable knotted rolls for baking.

After a remarkably speedy couple of hours the food was prepped, cooked and expertly packaged by us, the volunteers, ready for delivery. This is an integral part of the process as it’s an enlightening experience to see the people for whom one is preparing a meal. We were to deliver to two ladies in a retirement village. My son and his friend delivered to the first lady and then we spent some time searching for our second recipient. It was a little sad to discover she was not available as she had been taken to hospital. So after chatting to Ruth we returned to our first lady and gave her another meal. She was so delighted and exclaimed how she planned to invite her friends over for dinner that night. We left and my son said, “That just breaks my heart.” We had made someone’s day by the smallest gesture of delivering a healthy meal.

We cannot wait to do this again. How lucky we were to experience something that was so much fun and so particularly rewarding. Thank you so much Kids Giving Back.”

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Spending time giving, is actually even better than spending time getting

Last school holidays 13 year old Apsara together with her mum Wendy volunteered to make lunch for clients at the Asylum Seekers Centre, Newtown. Read on for Apsara’s impressions, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for upcoming opportunities that Kids Giving Back is pleased to offer regularly in collaboration with the ASC.

When I first read about this program I immediately thought it would be a great opportunity to contribute with meaning, with time and not just through donations. Donating is easy, even if it’s just giving lunch money, but preparing a meal for 40 people and going to the Asylum Seekers Centre to prepare and serve the meal (and wash up) is time. Giving of time to others is probably more important than anything else, or at least is equally important, because everyone needs connections with others.

I think, especially for asylum seekers who are missing their families and friends in their home country, having an opportunity to get to know new people could give them not just sustenance with a nutritious meal, but a chance to talk, laugh and share with others who are interested. This is what happened today, except I think I might have enjoyed interacting with the lovely people I met more.  They had a beautiful sense of humour, and were so welcoming to us! I was worried that I wouldn’t serve sufficient rice or curry on their plates, but the men and women gave me the lead and made it so easy. I knew we’d be washing up after the meal, but it turned out that we didn’t have much to wash because everyone brought in their own plates and squeezed detergent to scrub them clean.

Even cooking the curries, which took about five hours, was fun. I hadn’t cooked a meal for 40 people before and even this was a new experience for me. I think it would be for most kids. I also think it’s important for anyone to realise that spending time giving, is actually even better than spending time getting. This would be a powerful way for kids to appreciate the difference they can make to someone, just by giving time.

Apsara (13 years old)

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Challenging our Perspectives – first hand stories from the streets

A few months ago we had the pleasure of working with some energetic students visiting Australia with Rustic Pathways, a US group that runs educational travel programs for teens. Their travels include a volunteering component that enables participants to understand our country on a deeper level.

While in Sydney the group participated in several Kids Giving Back activities including our Cook4Good + Urban Walk program which involves cooking several hundred meals and then delivering them to Rough Edges, a lounge room and safe place for the homeless community. Following the delivery of meals they’d cooked, students headed off on an Urban Walk around Darlinghurst and Kings Cross. Guided by Des, a formerly homeless member of the Rough Edges community, together with a team member, the Urban Walk offered students an insider’s glimpse into life on the streets and an understanding of how this twist of fate can happen to any of us. Des shared his difficult story with generosity and passion, leaving the group with much to reflect on long after the walk came to an end.

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Following our time together, Kayla, a Rustic Pathways group leader, wrote us an email:

“Firstly I just wanted to say thank you so much for organising yesterday and for creating the opportunity for our students to challenge their perspectives and give back to community. I wanted to also say thank you for inspiring me personally through learning about the work that Kids Giving Back, Our Big Kitchen, and Rough Edges do, and meeting so many exceptionally kind-natured, nurturing and open people.

In terms of feedback, the students all remarked that they were strongly impacted by their experience – I can vouch for this, as I’ve never seen them all pay so much attention and be so involved in the task at hand!

The students were giddy with excitement after leaving the kitchen, and I noted a sense of pride among them at feeling involved in work that was bigger than themselves. The fact that it was so incredibly well organised, played into this too. I have noticed that the vast majority of students really want to be involved in community service, but often lack the initiative as they don’t know where to start or they don’t want to fail at it. Having a team at the kitchen that was so dedicated to making it work, and giving our students clear directives was beyond beneficial, and as a result they all had a task and a part to play in the bigger picture. ….I was so impressed watching it pan out perfectly.

For the evening with Rough Edges ….. the students mentioned that it was an incredible experience to learn first hand from a man like Des, because never in their own lives would they think to speak to a person with an addiction or homelessness. They were astonished to find how gentle and intelligent he was as well. They said his words and his story are something they will never forget. They are also convinced that they will never ever be touching drugs now!”

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Our kids are one half of the equation

Those they’re helping are the other half –  asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless community including the growing number of homeless teens and homeless families; people living with a disability, indigenous communities, the elderly and more.

Kids Giving Back is all about great collaborations, and we work hard to provide young people with age appropriate, meaningful volunteering opportunities with more than 50 charity partners – and growing! Over 4,000 young people have volunteered through Kids Giving Back – sorting clothes for those in need, assisting at community days at schools for children with disabilities, spending time with the elderly in true intergenerational programs. And lots more. Our programs have resulted in our volunteers making and delivering more than 14,000 meals to the homeless and asylum seeker communities. For a tiny charity with huge goals we think we’re scrubbing up pretty well!

With your help, we are CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF GENEROSITY. If you love what we offer your kids and our community, please consider making a TAX DEDUCTIBLE  DONATION today so that we can keep providing easily accessible, age appropriate, meaningful opportunities for kids who want to make a difference.

Every bit counts. Please help us so that together we can
Create the Next Generation of Generosity.

donategenoFor those who’d like to read on, we’re including just a couple of testimonials:
“I gained many things from this program. I learned not to give up on life and learnt how good it feels to make other people feel happy by giving them food and other important things.” Anthony, 13

“The way my son relayed his experience at the dinner table last night, would have made you very proud of what you were doing. The experience made a 14 year old aware of more than the general niceties that fill their lives and definitely more aware of community service and charitable work. Best part was being able to spend time with my son whilst being able to help the community and for him to experience the true essence of volunteering for his community.”Garry, Dad following Father + Son Cook4Good

Just because some people live around the corner…

Our recent Cook4Good:Good Deeds Day saw 56 kids with their mums, dads and grandparents making 522 portions of delicious fried rice, pasta, soup and rolls that they then delivered to homeless shelters and cafes as well as to individuals in need. Good energy flowed in abundance. Thanks to all the wonderful families who participated – you’re all legends! And thanks as always to the brilliant team at Our Big Kitchen, smooth sailing all the way. Read on for feedback from a few of our participants.

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“My kids are still talking about visiting a sick patient with MS. They learnt more about homeless people. They learnt that just because some people live around the corner, does not mean they have an easy life. We all appreciated how lucky we are and would like to help again.” Cigalle
“I learnt all about homelessness and why people have to face problems. it made me think about how others would be feeling not just myself. It felt really wonderful.” Rebecca

“After I delivered the food I felt soo good about myself and I will never forget that feeling! Do this more often because it is something everyone will treasure forever. I really felt like crying when I delivered the food!!” Tahlia

“So rewarding in so many ways. Not only to watch my son help to make a difference with others but to see the smile on the receivers face when we dropped the meals off……..awesome!!” Anastasia

“Carole’s story about buying a sandwich for the man who was homeless was a touching reminder for us all. Personalising the misfortunes of those people we were there to help was powerful.”

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How do Cook4Good meals make their way to the asylum seeker community?

Westpac’s IT team was our latest group to enjoy Kids Giving Back Cook4Good:Welcome Feast, learning how to make Iranian and Bangladeshi culinary treats from the House of Welcome’s wonderful chefs Maryam, Maryam and Umma. In addition to enjoying the fruits of their labour, the Westpac team sent 101 meals back to the House of Welcome’s asylum seeker community.

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So what happens after the meals leave OBK? Jo Hill, HoW Programs Manager, shares the journey: “The food made by Cook4Good volunteers all comes back to our central food bank in Carramar (and soon to be Auburn). Our Food Bank program provides weekly and fortnightly dry and fresh food and household goods for those who are seeking asylum in our community but have limited or no income. The focus of the project is on assisting with food and financial security rather than people being without three meals a day. Many people are living on an income that only just provides for their rent, and the money they can save by visiting their foodbank allows them to be more secure with other essentials such as medications, travel or communication needs.

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For those without an income the food could mean the difference of being able to contribute something (non-financial) to the friends or community they are living with and reduce the risk of homelessness if they couldn’t contribute anything to the house. Kids Giving Back’s Cook4Good food plays an important role and it’s great for people to take home pre-prepared, culturally appropriate meals. This week for example we used the food that we brought back from Westpac’s Cook4Good, at our community lunch. It was a particularly busy week and we didn’t have enough food to go around as our chef had an emergency immigration appointment – so it was very lucky to have the food!”.

Head to our Facebook page for pics and the full story of the day, posted November 7 https://www.facebook.com/KidsGivingBack.

If you’re interested in participating in a Cook4Good Welcome Feast with your school group or corporate team, please drop us a line, info@kidsgivingback.org

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Two 5 year olds and their mums offer a warm welcome to asylum seekers

A few weeks ago good friends Siobhán and Jacquie gave their sons an experience to treasure. Luca and Mackenzie together with their mums volunteered to cook a meal for about forty people at the Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney, one of Kids Giving Back charity partners. We love being able to offer families this opportunity each school holidays. Siobhán shares their experience:

“We participated in this program through Kids Giving Back, a wonderful organisation that provide opportunities for children of all ages to do volunteer work in the community.

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I used to volunteer for the ASC few years ago, doing pro bono design work and helping out with activities such as face painting when the Centre had large get-togethers involving families. Like most parents, however, since having children I’ve become increasingly time-poor, so it was wonderful to find a program that enables parents to volunteer with their children.

Jacquie and I were initially daunted by the thought of cooking for such a large group, particularly when clients at the Asylum Seekers Centre come from 52 different countries around the world and some have specific dietary requirements, such as being vegetarian or strictly halal. We were also informed that around fifty per cent of the people who turn up for lunch each day are currently homeless or about to become homeless, and that for many, lunch at the ASC is the only meal they will eat all day and sometimes the only decent meal they will eat all week.

As such, we felt a big responsibility to ensure that there would be something to appeal to everyone, that the food we prepared would be healthy, nutritious and filling, and that we would have enough food that people would also be able to take away leftovers.

We had been asked to provide one meat-based and one vegetarian main. We decided on a Moroccan beef tagine and an Indian lentil dahl, as we wanted to ensure that both mains were high in protein. We also prepared an entree, several side dishes, including salads and bread, and a couple of large fruit platters for dessert.

Our boys were keen to make something for people to take away, so they helped bake a few dozen batches of biscuits, which they carefully and lovingly placed into paper bags and handed out at the end of the day. The four of us spent a day preparing all the food in Jacquie’s kitchen, then transported everything to the ASC on the morning of the lunch, ready to be served when people arrived soon after midday.

Initially, we were wondering if we’d made too much food, but it became quickly apparent that the people who arrived for lunch were very hungry and nothing went to waste.

The people we served were from many different parts of the world, and every one of them was gracious and genuinely grateful for the meal we’d prepared. One young woman who had arrived too late for lunch, but for whom Jac packaged up some food to take home, offered her a warm and heartfelt ‘God bless you’, and another lovely man who Luca had served food to came up to us afterwards, thanked us sincerely and gave Luca a gentle kiss on his forehead. Several people stayed on to help us clear the tables and wash up. It was truly humbling to witness the kindness and appreciation of the people we’d cooked for, and the people we met made a strong impression on us and our boys as well.

Jacquie and I felt incredibly proud as we watched our two five year olds helping out on the day. They volunteered to set the tables and laid the cutlery and serviettes out with so much care, though each setting was uniquely different – some people ended up with two upside-down forks and one spoon, others with one knife and a serviette, but I guess it’s the thought that counts! 🙂

The boys also helped serve the food. Luca was in charge of offering people fresh coriander on their dahl and Mackenzie was responsible for offering people toasted almonds with their tagine. Without any prompting, they were both careful to ensure that they hadn’t missed a single person, and also walked around afterwards offering everyone second helpings of food.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the current political situation regarding asylum seekers and refugees, but there are many practical ways that everyday Australians can get involved in helping. There is also enormous value in meeting asylum seekers face-to-face and offering welcome, as the government and much of the media de-humanise people seeking asylum to such a degree that so many Australians fail to appreciate that they are people like us, just not as fortunate to have been born into such a lucky country.

Jacquie, Mackenzie, Luca and I have committed to preparing and serving lunch at the Asylum Seekers Centre each school holidays, and are also planning to increase our involvement with the ASC in other ways as well.

The meal we prepared for the Asylum Seekers Centre through Kids Giving Back was a richly rewarding experience and one which we hope will instil in our children the values we hope they will grow up with – compassion, empathy, gratitude, respect for difference and an understanding of the importance of giving back to the community.”

An eye opening lunch at the Asylum Seekers Centre – July 2014

Each school holidays the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown offers Kids Giving Back some lunch slots for families to make and serve lunches to clients. We love our relationship with the ASC for many reasons – the obvious one being for the important and compassionate work they are doing. The other is that by offering this opportunity to families we get to involve kids of all ages – from the very young to teens – and of course their parents. Gigi (14) together with her brother Turner (17) and mum Heather recently made and served up delicious, nutritious lunches for around 25 asylum seekers. Gigi shares their experience:

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“During the school holidays my brother, mum and I went and served lunch at the Asylum Seeker’s Centre in Newtown. I found the experience interesting as I didn’t realise that the asylum seekers granted asylum couldn’t get jobs until after they’d been in Australia five years and that for a lot of them the lunch we served was the only meal they got for the day. The centre itself had many interesting components such as the ‘shop’ which gave out non-perishable food to the asylum seekers on a weekly basis. I also looked at the activities the centre offered to ASC families and found swimming to be one of them. I personally have found swimming to be an integral part of the culture in Australia and am constantly astounded by the number of places where people don’t know how to swim and have no need for the skill. I think it’s great that the ASC is trying to help asylum seekers integrate into Australian life while respecting the cultures they came from.  Overall, I found the experience rewarding and eye-opening as I hadn’t given much thought previously to the people who come to Australia to seek asylum. I appreciate how the ASC helps people to be immersed and enter the Australian culture while still respecting their values and beliefs.”

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Join our Adventure Run Fundraiser 5 – 7 May

Thinking of joining us for the Kids Giving Back Adventure Run annual fundraiser? Time to sign up https://adventure-run.com.au and get training now! The Adventure Run (which by the way can also be walked!) benefits the work of Kids Giving Back creating the Next Generation of Generosity, and it’s the initiative of our dynamic Foundation Partners, The Goldman Brothers at Sotheby’s http://goldmanbrothers.com.au/

There are a just few spaces left for this great weekend – but if you can’t join us please consider making a 100% tax deductible donation to one of our brave Adventurers! https://adventure-run.com.au

The Adventure Run is a spectacular 2 day off-road marathon traversing roller coaster single-tracks, forest fire trails, and river crossings. This is a running and walking challenge – but not as you know it! The Jervis Bay coast may lure you in with its natural beauty, but dig a little deeper and you will find remote locations that provide a true adventure challenge for those weekend warriors that have what it takes to run or walk 25km each day.

Over the weekend of 6th and 7th May competitors will battle it out over a fully marked and fully supported course on their way to our glamping style overnight base camp. Then it’s time to share war stories while watching the sun set over the water. And the next day the challenge continues on more amazing trails… for a great cause.

Read more about the impact of the Adventure Run fundraiser, and the difference that you can help us to make http://kidsgivingback.org/impact/

Please remember that all donations are 100% tax deductible.

Vote now to help us win a $10,000 grant

Thanks to the generosity of Grace Gives Community Grants, Kids Giving Back is in the running for a $10,000 grant that will enable us to bring so many more hands-on, age appropriate meaningful volunteering opportunities your way.

Here’s our ask:
2 seconds of your time to vote for us now, right here http://bit.ly/2fkXZiX
Plus another 2 seconds to share our link with your friends

It’s that simple!

Why vote for us?

Kids Giving Back is a movement
• Making it easy for kids to do good
• Creating the Next Generation of Generosity
• Inspiring community engagement for young people

Our volunteer programs embrace kids walking hand in hand with other communities, each inspiring and empowering one another. It doesn’t take long to understand that when our children are deeply involved with giving to others, they inevitably gain as much as they give. This is the strength, and uniqueness of our organisation, and the double impact of our work.

Please vote for Kids Giving Back today – voting closes Thursday, November 24.

READY…. SET…. VOTE!!! http://bit.ly/2fkXZiX

Please share with your friends, and Thank you!