Fantastic Year 7 Bairnsdale Program

We are back working with Bairnsdale Secondary College for our fourth year. We love coming to East Gippsland for this work and meeting up with past students again. We are always shocked by how much everyone has grown! We are so inspired and enriched through the students we get to work with at Seco. The Year Seven Program finished with a Graduation Celebration on Friday and what a great time we had. The Speeches were inspiring and were topped off with a special Tully performance of 'Blessings on the Blossoms'. The crowd cheered for all! The Year 7s worked so well as a team last week. They all took risks in their own unique way and made moving speeches as a testimony to this. The students shared openly at the end of the course what they had learnt. Ashely said, "I learnt that Leadership comes from you. It's about getting people to want to follow you, not because you make them." Casey said she felt, "way more confident", Tamia said, "I'm not as afraid to say what I really think now" and Mark said, "I've really built up my self-esteem by being here." Millie beautifully shared, "Here it's more open, relaxed and fun. People actually care. We do fun activities that people want to do so nobody gives up. We all work well and every single person co-operates. I wish you guys could do this with us all the time."

Year 7s, we will miss you guys but look forward to seeing you around the school when we work with the Year 8 and 9s in the coming two weeks. 

Posted on September 12, 2017 .

Connecting to the St Andrews bush

A big thank you to Mary and David Clarke for opening up their home and allowing The Meeting Space students to spend the day on their land. The day was filled with the preparing and cooking of a traditional Syrian BBQ, exploring through bush walks and reflective moments by the Dam. The lunchtime feast was delicious and was definitely worth the wait of cooking the meat on an outside fire. This trip made me realise the importance of being on country, away from the noise and the expectations of Suburbia and The City. Rana, a student from Syria said, "It is so nice to be here. We haven't been anywhere like this before and we feel so relaxed and good here." Fariba didn't want to go home. "Can we stay the night!" she said. This trip made us at The Meeting Space very excited about setting up the farm, Big Tree. A farm where many more moments like this can happen throughout the year. Our dream is for Big Tree to be a place where people can come and connect to the land and be nourished ad healed in the process.

Posted on August 24, 2017 .

Whittlesea YAMEC Creative Leadership Course

What a privilege it is to work with 18 young adults from refugee and migrant backgrounds who have all recently arrived in Australia. The Meeting Space has partnered with The City of Whittlesea and Melbourne Polytechnic to deliver a 7 week program in Creative Leadership. 

We are into week five and the insights, stories and break-throughs have been thought provoking and inspiring. The best thing about our work is we are continually challenged to grow ourselves as we learn from those in our programs. This course has challenged me to be prepared to go into the discomfort because that is where deep learning occurs. Students have shared incredible stories of resilience, hope and courage and these stories will be shared at the Graduation Ceremony.  This Wednesday we are heading out for an excursion to the St Andrews bush to spend the day in a hand-built mud brick home in the hills. Food from Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Turkey will be shared as we all feast together by the lake. 

We wish to take this moment to invite you to the Graduation Celebration for this courageous group of students. There will be music and dancing from Congo, India, Nepal and Afghanistan to accompany the stories, along with the display of the powerful art piece, 'The Silk Road'.

Here are the details: 

Wednesday, 30th August @ 6pm. Come to the Civic Centre and find us in the Fountain View Room. 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang. Halal and Vegetarian Food will be provided. 

Posted on August 17, 2017 .

Ollie and Rachel are back!

What a wonderful Summer it has been. After three weeks in Malaysia for a friend's wedding followed by one month in New Zealand - to reconnect with Ollie's friends and family - we have returned safely to Australia. Tully is in love with his Kiwi family, especially his Great-Granny. After many days of relaxing on the beach we are well rested and ready for the exciting opportunities of 2017. With Bairnsdale Secondary College on the cards again and a course in Whittlesea with YAMEC booked in, The Meeting Space is excited about all the wonderful things install for this year. 

 Summer in New Zealand with our beautiful boy! 

Summer in New Zealand with our beautiful boy! 

Posted on February 20, 2017 .

Creative Leadership Bairnsdale

Activities, debates, games, discussions and the breaking of records were all part of our Creative Leadership Program with Year 10 students from Bairnsdale last week. In this course we got the opportunity to bring the past Year 10 group together with this group which was a favourite moment for many. The graduation was a highlight with heartfelt, courageous speeches from the graduating students, a cello and guitar duo performed by PJ and Ollie and Amazing Grace sung by Lita.

In our training all students have the opportunity to speak about a topic of their choice. The way we teach public speaking is not about a specific technique but rather delves into passion, being real and sharing of yourself. This is the students’ moment to be heard by family, friends and teachers as they speak about things that matter to them.  With 60 of us gathered in a circle we listened to speeches and stories that affected us all. We have the honour of sharing one of the speeches with you which was written by David who boldly decided to speak on a topic that is often considered taboo.

I present you David’s speech on Depression:

Hi, my name is David. I’m going to be talking about depression and me.

How it’s affected me on the inside and I made sure no-one could see.

There is no real start, but everything I tell you is from the heart.

I’m not going to make this sound grand, but I do hope you’ll understand.

Depression is like water. It can come slowly or fast whether, you’re in the moment or the past.

Sometimes you can tell where the water originates but when you try to stop it, it just exacerbates.

It’s as if you’re in a sinking ship, the water can be at your ankles. Then before you know it’s two feet above your hip.

All of a sudden your ship has sunk to the bottom and you’re floating. At first there’s numbing cold and all you can focus on is the sting.

An intense and utterly confusing pain. That makes you feel as though you’ll never be warm again.

And out of nowhere you realise that you’re in a storm. A monster without a true form.

And as you try to see a way out, your mind is so full of doubt.

With the crackle of thunder, a wave pushes you all the way under.

It’s all just spinning out of control and the happiness is taken from your soul.

The water is all around, yet you never make a sound

Cause no-one will act upon something so far gone.

You’re losing air fast, you don’t know if you’ll last.

That immense pressure on your chest, seems as if it’ll never rest.

As you try to swim back to the air you so desperately need, another wave pushes you so hard it’s as if it wants you to bleed.

You think no-one is going to save you, ‘I’ll never escape this sea’.

This is sort of what it feels like to have depression but not quite

Cause what I left out is that this is all hidden from sight.

That a person can be standing right in front of you without showing, that inside there’s a storm blowing.

So if someone says they can’t take it anymore. It’s not that they’re going to drop to the floor.

It’s a cry for help, so maybe you can be there, cause maybe alone it’s something they can’t bare.

So what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, someone’s hurting and you can’t see it.

That they may seem fine and ok, but they still feel it.

I said I wouldn’t make this grand, but now I hope you’ll know to lend a hand. 

This was one of many powerful speeches that occurred last week. It is such an honour to witness students take their place and step into their power. We look forward to coming back to work with the year 7's, 8's and 9's in July and August. A big thank- you to all the past students who gave us that huge yellow congratulations card and gorgeous teddy. our baby will surely love it!

 Creative Leadership Bairnsdale Secondary College

Creative Leadership Bairnsdale Secondary College

Posted on June 17, 2015 .