It’s a challenging time when anybody loses a loved one, but it can be even harder for young children when they don’t understand what has happened.

To help kids conquer the big issues kids can face Paradise Kids has been successfully delivering its Grief, Loss and Trauma Program on the Gold Coast for over 20 years. A big part of Paradise Kids’ success is its buddies who are matched to work one-on-one alongside children undertaking group work.

Over the seven-week program Paradise Kids’ buddies become the listening ear, the confidante and the support of young children as they learn to transform overwhelming emotions into safe feelings they can manage.

Paradise Kids Founder, Deirdre Hanna says the buddies are given appropriate training prior to joining the groups to ensure nobody is thrown in the deep end. They are equipped with new skills and provided with tools for personal growth.

“For most buddies, the reward of seeing a child transform over seven weeks is worth every minute of their time,” Deirdre says. “After undergoing our training and seeing the difference, they know they have assisted in equipping children to grow into emotionally confident, caring and resilient individuals. It’s been such a powerful tool since we first identified the need in our community over 20 years ago.”

Deirdre and her team believe the landscape of trauma, grief and loss has changed drastically in 17 years with divorce, drug use and domestic violence rising in our community. Deirdre says this has caused an increased demand for Paradise Kids’ services and a high demand for more buddies to train and assist in their programs.

The program has seen of our young children have come back as young adults and volunteered in our buddy program. They know from their own experience the difference the program makes to a young child.

Those interested in joining the growing team of buddies at Paradise Kids can call Paradise Kids volunteer coordinator, Liza on 5574 6853 or email on volunteercoordinator@hopewell.org.au to find out more about the next round of applications.

All buddies must obtain a Blue Card. Paradise Kids covers the cost of obtaining a blue card, which is mandatory to work with children. People with up-to-date blue cards can enrol in the upcoming two-day courses at Paradise Kids.

Visit www.paradisekids.org.au



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