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Melissa sparking up to volunteer with children
October 30, 2020
The chance to volunteer on Emerge’s Little Sparkz program was a dream in the making for teacher’s aide Melissa Collins, and while it hasn’t come to fruition this year because of COVID-19, it is all system’s go for 2021.
Melissa has just completed her Diploma of Youth Work and was looking around for jobs in the sector, when a friend suggested volunteering with a family violence organisation.
She approached Emerge and is now signed up to be involved in Little Sparkz, a therapeutic arts program for children living in the City of Kingston.
“The program is for children aged between six and 12 who have experienced family violence. It provides a safe space for them to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem.”
Melissa was thrilled to be invited to volunteer in the program as it enables her to use her skills as a teacher’s aide as well as her learnings from her recent studies.
“Through my work in schools I have been working with students who not only have high needs but are from low socio-economic backgrounds. My role has been to support students academically and emotionally within the classroom,” Melissa said.
“I wanted to get more involved in supporting children and young people who have experienced family violence and Emerge provided me with the perfect opportunity.”
Melissa is one of 45 volunteers who have joined Emerge this year, many of whom have been in a holding position while Victoria has grappled with the pandemic.
She has worked with vulnerable children, supervising court ordered visits between parents and their children.
“My role was to ensure that children, who were reconnecting with their parents, felt safe. I was there to help the children feel comfortable and available to parents if they needed clarification or helping them to organise activities.” Melissa said.
For now, however, she is getting ready for the new year, and the chance to inject a bit of spark into children’s lives.
“It is a fabulous program, and one which I know I am going to learn a lot and hopefully give a lot,” Melissa said.