Sharing our gifts with the world is one of the primary reasons for our existence on Earth.
Some of us are blessed with the opportunity and support to develop them fully and share them abundantly with the world – but what of those who are young and can’t have support? They need help too.
When you sign up for a Radical Career Makeover Workshop you can rest easy knowing your payment will help others besides yourself. 10% of your fee goes directly to helping children connect with their gifts through the following foundations in Australia:
The Song Room – www.songroom.org.au
The Song Room is a national not for profit organisation that provides free, tailored, long-term music and arts-based programs for children in disadvantaged and high need communities.
The Song Room vision is that all Australian children have the opportunity to participate in music and the arts to enhance their education, personal development and community involvement. Programs are based on research and have been demonstrated to improve educational and social outcomes and to help schools sustain their own music and arts programs.
The Song Rooms delivers its programs to around 250 schools and communities each year and works with over 20,000 children every week. Programs are targeted to schools in the most marginalised communities from every State / Territory of Australia, from the 700,000 children in schools without specialist teachers in the arts
The Mirabel Foundation – www.mirabelfoundation.org.au
Mirabel assists children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family (kinship care). Mirabel believes that every child deserves a childhood and its mission is to break the destructive cycle of addiction.
Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future in order for them to reach their full potential as young adults.
Mirabel believes that investing in children is the most compassionate and economic investment we can make.
And the international peace foundation
Peace x Peace www.peacexpeace.org
Peace X Peace is the international organization that lifts and multiplies women’s voices, strengthens women’s capacity to connect across divides, promotes leadership and gender equity, and nurtures a global network of peacebuilders in 120 countries.
I was 11 when a school music teacher called Mr Pritchard discovered my singing voice and suggested I should get it trained and developed. While my parents were aware I could sing in tune (my mother also had a fine voice) it was not seriously looked at until many people later said I should be trained. I was then 13.
Between the ages of 13 – 29 I developed my singing career and worked professionally in opera, musical shows and tours, as well as becoming founder and administrator of a 20th century opera company.
When I was 23 I was standing at a bus stop one day and started chatting to another woman waiting, who regaled me with her worries about her children’s behavioural problems associated with a divorce. This was the mid 70’s and divorce was becoming more widespread but with little assistance for childcare or counselling available. The woman told me her 9 yr old son had been acting up in class and she was now a regular visitor to the principal’s office!
Her story and that of her children gnawed at me.
How could I help?
I was so very clear that music and theatre had saved me from dark times in my life and that it could assist with her children as well. The question was, what could be done, by whom and where? A couple of days later I met the woman again and I had a plan. I asked her for the principal’s phone number and put my plan in action.
Two weeks later I was running a free 3 hour Saturday morning ‘Music, Mime and Drama’ class for any of his students that would like to attend. He was not enthusiastic about the idea but could see that I was not going to give up and so gave in and let me use his school for free.
The first day of class I had 28 children, the second week 38
- at which time I had to stop enrolments!
For those who have not lived in a time prior to drama and music classes being a part of the curriculum in primary and secondary schools – the 70’s were the dark ages in terms of curriculum. Choices were limited to the very basics and learning was mostly by rote. Drama and music were considered frivolous, time consuming and only for those privileged enough to afford it.
As this school fitted into one of the suburbs with a low socio-economic profile there was no money for these extras in family budgets. Many of the families were sole parent families and children were from what was commonly called ‘broken homes’.
After the 3rd Saturday, I had a phone call from the Principal asking me to see him at his office. You can imagine what I went through. When I got there he was courteous, interested and questioning.
- How many students had enrolled?
- What did I do in the classes?
- How did I classroom manage?
- What actions did I take to ‘punish’ children when they were naughty?
- What results was I seeing?
Finally I had the opportunity to find out why I was being grilled!
He wanted me to meet his staff and talk to the teachers about what I was doing and why and I met with them that very day. The teachers were fascinated with the change that had happened within their worrisome cohort.
They told me they had seen the impact of the Saturday morning classes almost immediately.
Some of the results were:
- A more responsive attitude to learning
- Increased listening skills, reading skills and verbal skills
- Literacy and academic achievement levels were increasing
- Improved self esteem, sense of identity, self concept and in some cases self regulating behaviours
- Learning barriers were seen as challenges to be overcome**
(** this relates in particular to a young 8 yr old girl who had a club foot. Her grandmother who cared for her insisted she stay out of all physical activity but her granddaughter had set her heart on joining my class. I had many calls from the grandmother before I started the class looking for assurance that her granddaughter would be safe. I agreed to keep the girl out of strenuous activities but include her in all others) One day I was taking a group class of ‘statues’ and instructed the class to hop on first one foot and then the other. The girl fell down when it came to hopping on her club foot and I felt awful that I had forgotten for that moment that she could not do this particular exercise. I went to her and suggested she take a break, but the girl refused, saying she wanted to be the same as everyone else and she would keep practising until she could do it like them.) It took her 4 attempts and the look of joy, pride and accomplishment on her face is something I will never forget!
A key factor in the success of the class was the condition I put on parents.
They could only stay if they joined in and became one of the kids. They had to suspend being a parent for 3 hours and use their imaginations and bodies as children.
It was an enlightening experience for them and enabled them to engage better with their children and find the child within themselves.
In the 2nd term the numbers had increased to 60 and I needed to train other parents to help out.
When it was time to leave the area I called a meeting of all the parents and suggested they take over the program and think about offering others skills such as guitar lessons, bicycle repair classes, woodwork and cooking classes open to boys and girls. The parents created a co-operative and started what was essentially a fledgling community college.
And all of this came from the desire to share what I had learned from music and drama.
Imagine what our children could accomplish
if they all had the same opportunity?