The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2018-01-15T07:27:16Z Friends With Dignity & Jeunesse Kids launch scholarship program to help little friends in need 2018-01-15T07:27:16Z friends-with-dignity-amp-jeunesse-kids-launch-scholarship-program-to-help-little-friends-in-need Friends with Dignity has partnered with Jeunesse Kids to award bi-annual monetary scholarships to children throughout Australia who have faced domestic and family violence. Rachel McVinish, General Manager of Jeunesse (Australasia?), was introduced to national not-for-profit organisation, Friends With Dignity when seeking a charity assisting children in need with whom to partner. “I knew as soon as I spoke with Julia and Zoe at Friends With Dignity, and learnt of the incredible work they do, that this was the charity Jeunesse Kids should be associated with, and from there, the idea of the scholarship program was developed,” said Ms McVinish. Jeunesse Kids, the charity arm of direct-selling company Jeunesse Global, seeks to empower communities to give children a brighter future. "We envision a world where all children have the opportunity to grow and flourish and look forward to a happy, successful future," said Ms McVinish. The Little Friends Scholarship program, powered by Jeunesse Kids, was announced in March 2017 at the Jeunesse Australia/New Zealand annual conference in Sydney, with the first round of scholarships open in June 2017. A total of 10 educational and extra-curricular scholarships were awarded in July and August, 2017 to children aged between 5-17 years of age, in almost every state of Australia. The scholarships help to cover a variety of areas from helping kids attend camp and after-school activities with their peers, to providing uniforms to attend school after the family’s home was burnt down. According to the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, it is statistically proven that exposure to domestic violence has a huge impact on children. Experts say that exposure can lead to short- and long-term negative mental, behavioural, and social effects. Further, children who witness physical, emotional or verbal domestic violence growing up are twice as likely to abuse drugs, and six times more likely to die by suicide. "We established the Little Friends Scholarship program, powered by Jeunesse Kids, to ensure all children who are facing or have faced domestic violence have the ability to normalise their lives,” said Friends With Dignity Co-Director and Chief Financial Officer, Julia McKenna. “The scholarships are designed to help young domestic violence survivors re-build their confidence by finding something they are good at, and ensuring their education continues. Normally, all Friends With Dignity programs are on a referral basis from organisations and refuges, however, the Friends With Dignity Little Friends Scholarship program affords parents the opportunity to submit an application personally. “The Little Friends Scholarship program gives parents the opportunity to tell their children's stories, and how the scholarship will improve their lives,” said Ms McKenna. “The application still needs to be co-signed by a support worker, GP, school principal, school counsellor, or the like.” If you are interested to apply for the Little Friends Scholarship Program, please visit http://www.friendswithdignity.org.au/little-friends-scholarship to download an application form. Applications are open now, and close on Thursday 15 February 2018. -ends- Seasons Aged Care communities collect 45.5 tonnes of food for Foodbank 2018-01-15T01:03:57Z seasons-aged-care-communities-collect-45-5-tonnes-of-food-for-foodbank Seasons Aged Care’s annual Foodbank fundraising and food drive has collected more than 45.5 tonnes of food for Foodbank. Since September 2017, all Seasons Aged Care communities have been holding fundraising events and a food drive where residents, staff and the general public donate a different pantry staple each week. Seasons Aged Care Chief Executive Officer Nick Loudon said that while the total is just shy of the organisation’s 50-tonne target, it represents a great effort by each of the communities. “When I set our 50-tonne target, I knew it was ambitious but I’m proud to say that thanks to the great work by each of our communities and their local areas, that we collected more than 45.5 tonnes of food,” said Mr Loudon. “Whether it was through donating at our community fundraising events such as family days and high teas, or bringing in a grocery item of the week, I thank all our staff, residents and the local community for their involvement and shared passion for the Foodbank cause.” Every item that was donated will allow Foodbank to help meet the growing demand for food relief in Australia. Last year 3.6 million Australians experienced food insecurity and 652,000 people receive food relief from Foodbank agencies every month – 27 per cent of those are children. This year, Seasons will be continuing its partnership with Foodbank and Mr Loudon is confident that the organisation will be able to surpass this year’s goal and help even more Australian families in need. “We’re looking to keep the effort going all through this year so we can collect even more food for those in need.” <ENDS> High-res images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jbsq5wb1l6qp42h/AADE8ypFJfJ2_7TPIU54k3T4a?dl=0     Research reveals two key issues that affect people’s financial resilience: Access to financial products and services and employment status 2017-12-12T21:30:36Z research-reveals-two-key-issues-that-affect-peoples-financial-resilience-access-to-financial-products-and-services-and-employment-status Released today, Part 2 and 3 of Financial Resilience in Australia, produced by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) at UNSW Sydney in partnership with NAB, uncovered the key issues contributing to a declining number of Australians who feel financially secure. Part 2, Financial Resilience and Access to Financial Products and Services, revealed that a growing number of Australians are at risk of not being able to access the financial products and services they need. Part 3, Financial Resilience and Employment, shows that both employment status and type are critical factors that influence a person’s financial resilience. Part 2: Financial Resilience and Access to Financial Products and Services Part 2 of the report found that Australians with low levels of access to products and services including a bank account, an appropriate level of credit and insurance, tend to experience significant barriers. The report highlights the groups who have significantly lower levels of access than the general population, these include; people on low incomes, people who are unemployed or underemployed, young people, people living in social housing, and people with a probable mental illness. Report author and CSI CEO Professor Kristy Muir said that it was important to find ways to ensure there are adequate safety nets in place to prevent Australians from getting into an arrangement where they are faced with unmanageable debt. “There is a clear and present need for the provision of appropriate, accessible, and affordable financial solutions for financially vulnerable groups in our society. This is crucial if we are to be serious about meeting needs, addressing poverty and strengthening financial resilience.” The report also showed that people with low, or very low levels of financial products and services were more likely to have used high cost fringe credit. Elliot Anderson, Head of Financial Inclusion at NAB said that this research reaffirms NAB’s commitment to building a more financially resilient Australia. “This year, we have extended our commitment through our partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance by pledging to provide 100,000 loans annually within two years to Australians on low incomes. To date, through our partnership we have helped 500,000 Australians, but we know there is more that needs to be done.” Part 3: Financial Resilience and Employment Employment is unsurprisingly one of the positive factors associated with financial resilience. While having a full-time or part-time job meant people had a higher level of financial resilience, the research also shows that having a job does not automatically protect you from financial vulnerability. Professor Muir explains, “We know that almost one in three people living in poverty in Australia are in fact engaged in employment and report a salary as being their main source of income. Having a job is by no means a guarantee against being in poverty. This relates to low wages, underemployment, the casualisation of work and the increased participation in the ‘gig economy’ of flexible, short term employment contracts.” Professor Muir highlighted that different types of employment contracts also have significant effects on a person’s financial resilience. “We found 16.4% of casual workers are facing severe or high financial stress, compared to only 6.7% of contract workers with paid leave entitlements.” The report highlights the unemployed and underemployed as the most vulnerable groups in Australia when measuring levels of financial resilience, but also shows that the increasing casualisation of the workforce is likely to impact people’s ability to bounce back from a financial shock. “The current unemployment benefit in Australia is more than $100 below the poverty line,” said Professor Muir. “At CSI we believe this raises concern for both the capacity of unemployed Australians to deal with day-to-day expenses, much less financial shocks, but also their ability to escape poverty.” Across the three parts of the report, Financial Resilience in Australia, it is evident that affordable, accessible and appropriate support needs to be provided to vulnerable groups - such as fair and affordable financial products and services like low and no interest loans - to ensure people do not experience significant financial stress. Part 1, 2 & 3 of Financial Resilience in Australia is available online at: www.csi.edu.au/financialresilience More information on NAB’s commitment to building a more financially resilient Australia is online at: nab.com.au/financialresilience Media enquires: CSI – Nicola Hannigan 0407 075 307 – n.hannigan@unsw.edu.au NAB – Kylie Breckenridge 0402 746 226 – kylie.breckenridge@nab.com.au Crafty residents raise $2600 for charity 2017-12-07T23:57:22Z crafty-residents-raise-2600-for-charity Residents at Forresters Beach Retirement Village raised $2600 for charity at their Christmas craft market last month.   Hundreds of eager visitors snapped up a variety of Christmas and gift items contributed by the village’s craft, sewing, jewellery and workshop groups.   Assistant Village Manager Julie Ramage said residents had worked for months making items for the sale.   “It’s been a wonderful team effort,” she said.   “We have some very talented residents at our village.”   Resident Jacqueline Bunning helped organise the event.   “The money will go to the Salvation Army, as well as a taxi service that takes cancer patients to and from hospital,” she said.   “It was a good turnout, everyone was very happy and friendly, and we sold lots of raffle tickets.”   Jacqueline said organising the sale brought residents closer together.   “It made for a friendly atmosphere in the village and we’re grateful to everyone involved.”   Forresters Beach offers relaxed and secure retirement living in peaceful surroundings. Visit retireaustralia.com.au/forrestersbeach for more information. Hemp Smoothie which is actually good for you launches in Australia. 2017-11-23T23:43:29Z hemp-smoothie-which-is-actually-good-for-you-launches-in-australia Melbourne, Australia, 24th November 2017, Smoothie Bombs are proud to announce that they have launched a new, limited addition ‘healing’ flavour! Say hello to Smoothie Bombs: The Healer- Vanilla Hemp! Smoothie Bombs recently won the Australian Organic 2017 Product Innovation Award. Edible hemp has recently been approved by the Australian Government. It has been available internationally for many years. Cinzia Cozzolino, Founder of Smoothie Bombs and nutritionist states: “I've always loved vanilla in food and I loved vanilla milk shakes growing up! When I was coming up with the flavour, I knew I wanted to use hemp, which is nutty and creamy and so vanilla just seemed to be a great fit. It also contains Butterfly Pea powder which is full of antioxidants.” “Hemp is my favourite source of plant-based protein. Hemp comes from a strain of the cannabis plant (i.e Sativa L) but it is different to marijuana. Like the difference between two different breeds of dogs. It is such a good source of vital nutrients for growing bodies which is why Hemp is a good option for kids especially fussy eaters. It can be added to their favourite meals without much effort and it taste great in smoothies making it easier to consume. I recommend getting certified organic hemp seeds for kids as they will also be without pesticides. “ Cinzia is a nutritionist and expert on edible hemp. Do you know? Hemp has a great source of all three essential fatty acids, Omega 3, 6 and 9! Hemp has 11g of protein in 3 Tablespoons making it a great plant protein. Organic Hemp can be eaten by kids. Hemp has been approved in many countries for years. Australia only recently approved edible Hemp. Buy your limited edition The Healer- Vanilla Hemp Smoothie Bombs from www.thesmoothiebombs.com.au from the 24th of November. Winners Announced 2017-11-13T23:33:52Z winners-announced Macular Disease Foundation Australia today announced the grand finalist and category winners of the mEYE World Photographic Competition 2017, to mark World Diabetes Day. The winning photographs were selected from wide ranging entries that celebrated the theme See My World – In Your Own Backyard. An initiative of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, the competition is designed to raise awareness of macular disease, the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. The high profile judging panel included Foundation Patron Ita Buttrose, internationally recognised photographer Rex Dupain, and one of Australia’s longest serving news photographers, Alan Pryke. “This competition is such a pleasure to judge. This year’s entries have been wonderfully creative and they captured our In Your Own Backyard theme perfectly,” said Ita Buttrose. Bettina Damme of Rathmines (NSW) is this year’s Grand Finalist. Her winning photograph entitled Pollen Face is of a colourful rainbow lorikeet that visits her backyard. Betttina says, “In Australia we’re very lucky to have so much wildlife in our backyards, I only have to step on my veranda to see these beautiful rainbow lorikeets”. Judge Rex Dupain said of the winning photo, “Pollen Face, is a striking portrait of a native bird with a spectrum of outrageous feathers, and while the parrot’s palette becomes an ornithologist’s delight, we are happy to admire it as a work of art.” The competition categories include: macular disease community, healthcare professional, open, and junior (under 18). Alan Pryke said, "I enjoy the amazing range of images in all the categories. The entrant's different ways of interpreting In your own backyard theme, from ocean waves to tiny insects, from family members to vast landscapes, makes judging the awards quite challenging." “Macular disease affects Australians of all ages and we now know that early detection can save sight. The competition is an excellent way to remind people how precious their sight is and why they should never take it for granted,” Ms Buttrose said. Category winners are: Open (General Public) – Bettina Damme, Rathmines NSW (Grand Finalist) Healthcare Professional – Dr Edwin Lim, Elderslie NSW  Macular Disease Community – Jen Stocks, Jemalong NSW Junior (Under 18) – Zara Jozsa, Ormond, Victoria To find out more visit www.mdfoundation.com.au Ends Media contact: Janice Clarkson - Macular Disease Foundation Australiajanice@mdfoundation.com.au, Tel: 02 8268 8407Supporting images available on request. Background information  mEYE World Photographic Competition: The mEYE World Photographic Competition, now in its seventh year, was established by Macular Disease Foundation Australia to raise awareness of macular disease, the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. In 2017 Australians were invited to enter a photograph that depicted the theme See My World – In Your Own Backyard. Competition period was 8 August – 3 October 2017 with winners announced on 14 November 2017. To find out more information visit www.mdfoundation.com.au About Macular Disease Foundation Australia Macular Disease Foundation Australia’s vision is to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease in Australia through education, awareness, research, support services and representation. The Foundation is a national charity providing information, guidance and support for those living with macular disease. It is the voice of the macular disease community. For more information call 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au 5 ways to keep your eyes healthy! 2017-11-08T23:54:32Z 5-ways-to-keep-your-eyes-healthy Victoria, Australia, 8th November 2017, Kevin Paisley has been providing local Victorian communities with premium eye care and eyewear for nearly 40 years. The new Kevin Paisley Watergardens store is an addition to the existing 12 that span across Wester Victoria. To celebrate the opening of Kevin Paisley in Watergardens, Kevin Paisley would like to share 5 tips to keep your eyes healthy. Book to have your eyes examined. It is bulk billed. Have your eyes examined by an Optometrist every two years and every year if over 65. Wear your Sunglasses when outdoors. UV protection all year around is vital to lower the risk of Cataracts and Macular Degeneration. Eat for Eye Health A Healthy Diet is key for continued eye health. Include plenty of vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc and Beta-carotene, many of which are found in dark green, leafy vegetables, nuts or fish sources. These foods can help lower risk of some eye diseases. If your vision changes, seek help. Know your eyes, understand potential warning signs and look for changes in your vision. Seek help from your local friendly Optometrist immediately if you have any concerns. Protect your eyes. Use appropriate eye protection when required in the workplace, school and at home. Georgina Preece, optometrist and the Professional Services Manager for Kevin Paisley states: “I am proud to open Kevin Paisley Watergardens and bring our excellent optometry and product showcasing new releases across ranges such as Ray-Ban, Prada, Oakley and a selection of Kevin Paisley exclusives such as and Lars Ostern.” Book your bulk billed eye care appointment online: http://www.kevinpaisleyr.com.au/book-an-eye-test-exam About Kevin Paisley Fashion Eyewear: Drawing from a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise, we pride ourselves in providing you with superior optical care and the latest designer frames and sunglasses to match, all whilst in a vibrant and relaxing environment. Come into one of our stores to discover a trendy selection of shapes, sizes and colours, guided by professionals from the optometry room to frame and lens selection.We look forward to meeting you all and we are certain you will leave Kevin Paisley Fashion Eyewear happy, with clear vision and a fresh look. http://www.kevinpaisley.com.au ABSEIL FOR YOUTH SET TO HIT $2M IN FUNDRAISING AT THE END OF THIS YEARS’ EVENT 2017-10-10T07:05:15Z abseil-for-youth-set-to-hit-2m-in-fundraising-at-the-end-of-this-years-event Ice now #1 drug of concern, increased suicidal ideation, and increased psychosis in young Australians Abseil for Youth is an annual event that brings together hundreds of people who scale a 33-storey (135m) building to fundraise for the Sir David Martin Foundation, a NFP who are committed to supporting young people in Australia. The charity focuses on supporting youth who suffer from problems including substance addiction, homelessness, mental illness, disengagement from society, abuse, unemployment and family breakdown. They do this by funding Triple Care Farm - an award-winning residential rehabilitation program for young people aged 16-24, run by Mission Australia and located in Southern Highlands. The thrill-seeking event is in its eighth year, and sees over 300 people of all ages and fitness levels scale the building at 1 Market Street, all in the name of charity. Over the years Abseil for Youth has become one of the largest unique public opportunity to fundraise in the heart of Sydney CBD and now in its eighth year, they are set to hit $2M in fundraising. Funds raised through Abseil for Youth will help to cover the costs to provide this specialised support to young Australians. It costs over $27,000 to put just one person through the residential rehabilitation program and provide an additional 6 months support as they re-join the community for a safe and positive future. With a recent study of the programs Return on Social Investment (SROI) conducted by Social Ventures Australia, it is evident that for every $1 invested into Triple Care Farm, $3 is generated in long term positive results for the community. Triple Care Farm is able to support 100 youths per year. “Abseil For Youth is a unique opportunity! Where else could you get the thrill of your life, overlooking the gorgeous Sydney Harbour, and raise money for such a good cause? When you’re facing a 130m descent, your mind and body are screaming to stop, but you have the commitment to see the challenge through – you’ll feel more alive than ever. Every abseiler conquering their own fear and making that step off into the unknown, gets a little taste of what young people in rehab face as they tackle their own very different challenges.” says Alex Green, General Manager of Sir David Martin Foundation. Ice has become the primary drug of concern for young Australians seeking treatment at Triple Care Farm. Addiction tears apart families, destroys homes and ruins lives. Young people from all backgrounds and neighbourhoods are being impacted by addiction, with frightening rates of youth suicide ideation and co-morbid mental health issues. Triple Care Farm provides treatment and support for these issues, as well as assists young people in returning to education and training to find pathways to employment and a healthy, productive life. “TCF supports young people to make real and lasting change in their lives. Young people move out of a life immersed in trauma and drug use to feeling valued and worthwhile. Abseil for Youth continues to be an exciting event to support this amazing change.” notes Gabriella Holmes, Program Manager, Triple Care Farm. The corporate partner this year is Investa who are supporting the event for the fourth time in a row. ‘Abseil for Youth’ 2017 will take place at 1 Market Street, Sydney from Thursday 12th to Friday 13th October 2017. For further information please go to www.abseilforyouth.com or call 02 9219 2002. For all media enquiries and interview requests as well as access to case studies, please contact Annabel Carroll annabel@polkadotcomms.com.au // (02) 9281 4190 NOTES TO EDITORS Abseil for Youth 2017 supported by Investa When: 12 & 13 October 2017 Where: 1 Market Street Sydney - Event supported by Investa - Corporate Teams and Individuals from across Sydney and interstate will be abseiling - Up to 6 people can abseil at a time - 300 people will be abseiling this year MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE Abseil opportunities, interview opportunities with Triple Care Farm graduates, staff and ambassadors / public identities available. Sir David Martin Foundation Ambassadors Scott Gooding and Andrew Lock will both be taking part this year and are available for comment. NOTE: Additional program information and outcome data as well as the SROI report can be provided. Community giving in 2017 hits half a million dollars! 2017-09-24T22:54:47Z community-giving-in-2017-hits-half-a-million-dollars More than three hundred grassroots groups and charities will share in a $500,000 cash windfall in a unique giving program by one of Australia’s leading customer owned banks. Beyond Bank Australia will distribute the funds to organisations across the nation as part of its annual commitment to support local communities. Organisations include Camp Quality which will receive $14,600, RSPCA (SA) $19,000, Riding for the Disabled (Wagga) $11,300, Country Hope $10,500 and the NSW Riverina’s popular Ganmain Grong Grong Matong football club which will collect $15,000. “Giving is a very important part of our business and now more than ever, it’s important to be innovative in the way you give,” said Beyond Bank’s General Manager, Community, Peter Rutter. “As a bank, we’ve put together a range of products from home loans to savings accounts that allow our customers to nominate their favourite charity. “From there, we either make a lump sum payment to that chosen charity or we donate a percentage of the customer’s annual average balance. “It’s a really innovative way to fundraise that doesn’t cost the customer anything but still gives them that sense of contributing to their local community. “And in these tough economic times, donations of any amount can make a real difference to the bottom line of not for profit organisations.” Beyond Bank also distributes a series of annual grants to support new and existing businesses that can demonstrate a real commitment to meeting community needs. In 2017, the Bank is distributing grants of $2500 to $10,000 to eighteen recipients around the country. In the past 10 years, Beyond Bank has distributed close to $3 million across its national network. “Being owned by our customers gives us real flexibility and freedom to respond and deliver great local result,” said Mr. Rutter. “Seeing the impact even a small amount of money can make is a pretty special feeling.” Australians can now employ theatre and event producer, Jac Bowie, as their very own wedding planner. 2017-09-20T03:58:38Z australians-can-now-employ-theatre-and-event-producer-jac-bowie-as-their-very-own-wedding-planner PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Geelong, Victoria, 20th September 2017, Jac Bowie proudly announces the purchase of wedding styling and planning business ‘Oh Perfect Day’. The business has been rebranded to ‘Darling Don’t Panic’ “After 10 years as a theatre producer, developing, producing and bringing shows into Australia, I had a short hiatus in 2011, trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had a wealth of experience in events, and was juggling a few short-term contracts at the time with Cirque Du Soleil, Mardi Gras, and by this time had held a few small networking events for women (which later would go on to become Business in Heels). I’d even worked as the tour manager for the controversial “Wolf of Wall Street”, Jordan Belfort. In the middle of all this, I found myself thinking about becoming a wedding planner. I toyed with the name One Perfect Day, and went about creating a Facebook page and the beginnings of a website. Unexpectedly, Business in Heels took off, and within 3 weeks of this idea, I was processing 15 branches of franchises for BIH.” Jac sold BIH to a franchisee in December 2014, and went on to embark on a few years in radio. Jac adds: “A year on air in Darwin, and then another year in digital management in Geelong. But I really struggled not working for myself. I was missing it.” In 2017, a small Geelong wedding planning business, Oh Perfect Day, came on the market, Jac grabbed the chance and purchased the business. She has rebranded it as Darling Don’t Panic. Jac says: “Darling Don’t Panic is the reincarnation of Oh Perfect Day. We took the beautiful aesthetics that previous owner Jane Lovejoy had worked so hard to create, but we’ve grown the business into something truly unique. I’m bringing my (rather eccentric) experience producing burlesque, cabaret, corporate events, entertainment, and applying this outlook to weddings.” The whole point of the business is to create something unique to the bride. Jac understands that no one wants a cookie cutter wedding. Jac concludes: “Along with the new outlook, we are now partnered with state-of-the-art planning software, Aisle Planner, so regardless of which package our clients book, they have access to an online tool that helps them with all aspects of the event planning process such as budgets, contacts, guest lists, seating plans and a fully collaborative Design Studio where our clients can not only upload their inspiration, but search and add more by type, theme or colour.” “Whatever it is that you need for your big day we will be there. To us, it does not matter who you are or what your background is. Rather it is how we can make two people happy on their special day. Our greatest wish is that you can spend the rest of your lives united. That is why Darling Don’t Panic fully supports marriage equality.” There’s also a FREE GUIDE, 12 Steps to Discover (& Get!) The Wedding You Want. Based out of both Melbourne & Geelong, Darling Don’t Panic is now servicing clients all over Victoria, and around Australia by request. Franchises are also available for talented event stylists and planners. DARLING DON’T PANIC Email: info@darlingdontpanic.com Web: www.darlingdontpanic.com Instagram: www.instagram.com/darlingdontpanic Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/darlingdontpanic Facebook: www.facebook.com/darlingdontpanicwed JAC BOWIE Email: jac@jacbowie.com Web: www.jacbowie.com "Formal assessment processes end up labelling instead of enabling our children. 2017-09-19T03:03:35Z formal-assessment-processes-end-up-labelling-instead-of-enabling-our-children Lara Jennings is a teacher, founder of Offspring Education and an education expert and consultant. She runs workshops and consultations with educators with the outcomes of children at the forefront of her mind. She strongly believes that all levels of education should be as child-centred, flexible and developmentally appropriate as early childhood. She founded Offspring Education which provides professional workshops for educators and teachers, supplies quality educational resources and provides advice and workshops to parents. Melbourne, Australia, 19th September 2017, Yesterday, a Government-appointed panel put forward an idea that we need to give Year One students a reading and maths test. As a former teacher, this idea scares Lara. It scares her because she has seen first- hand just how useless testing children actually is. "Jimmy was a 12 year old student of mine who had the label of the naughty boy who couldn’t read or write and therefore couldn’t learn. In our Science class, we were beginning a topic on pulleys and gears. The equipment was sitting on the table in front of the children as I was discussing the upcoming topic. Jimmy, grabbed the kit and took it to the back of the room." "Other teachers may have asked him to stop and listen but I knew he had had a difficult morning, he had fought with his father before coming to school, then he had spent his lunchtime in detention for misbehaving in class with another teacher earlier that morning. I could see that he wasn’t hurting anyone with what he was doing so I let him be." "After I’d set the task for the lesson, I went over to Jimmy to see what he had done. The structure he had made was incredibly intricate and showed a deep knowledge about pulleys and gears and how they work. At the end of the topic, the children were required to do a written test. His test results showed limited understanding of the topic, but his creation that day showed me the that Jimmy had the potential to be a brilliant engineer! He knew how these things worked better than any other kid in the class!" "How would a reading and maths test in Year One have helped Jimmy? It wouldn’t have. As it was, Jimmy had spent most of his school life being tested. And these tests always told Jimmy that he was a failure. That he was ‘behind’. Which, to Jimmy and all the other children who are not meeting National Standards, is basically a polite way of saying that these children are dumb." "Formal assessment is schools such as NAPLAN and this ‘light touch skills check’ (as per Simon Birmingham’s words on his interview with ABC News) is often justified by the idea that it helps teachers to understand what children know and what they need to be teaching. However, when formal assessment processes are relied on, they end up labelling instead of enabling our children." Lara adds: "Children already have skills tested before they get to school in an interview. This additional testing would simply be a waste of time for teachers and a waste of tax payers money. Teachers need resources and training to be able to support children in developmentally appropriate educational practices for the early years of formal education. They don’t need another test." Lara also questions why are we looking to the UK for a solution when they are currently sitting below Australia on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tables for Reading, Science and Maths (http://links.erelease.com.au/wf/click?upn=jsmq4ETA8vWHcPcezuXj8lmINveqZAjWHGN6WahjLwdUcmkQ7aSWn81s11c69500V08vGadTrB4aJTA7tMkkHA-3D-3D_qIooMZrbgczQrC75bCgllj8dRfN68YovQgagbDcCcm5zXMdS2pPKcC5KtgehmXbuCxwYOoZsa9koUyCja-2F4qR0-2BbP7kKEOT0euiRhe-2FRK-2ByV-2BB0rPNlr2Mv448JudGSaRsgztURSl22YKiGBBXLI6fkI7gAfX6uHPTiWpO2Hmge7Lv2a3XpY7ZuIbFqnG2UyBVhGwcKC2Fmna62GxeAM8-2FrsbsM3YjrmlKJYJFC7gwQ-3D). Lara believes that we should be looking at the countries that are in the top 10 for PISA results and taking ideas from them. Finland is one of these countries that have maintained a healthy spot in the top 10 for Maths, Science and Reading in recent years. One of the key factors in this scenario is that teachers spend time engaging children in deep learning and observing them in action, rather than relying on testing to find out what children know and understand. (http://links.erelease.com.au/wf/click?upn=jsmq4ETA8vWHcPcezuXj8uFbh5OUDpwlZKMu0Zw-2BxecO3ZQD4aHqUF44SkjDpM9d_qIooMZrbgczQrC75bCgllj8dRfN68YovQgagbDcCcm5zXMdS2pPKcC5KtgehmXbuuH-2Fx9FgLrfY2LbBgQbzqWBmMTFGLRicOa4EBX1ZjZIjN6rAHtnQQXWprkKSFpAiFUkDY3I7YXCT9bzrjAPwXZQrtekuTZgRpYgzJxeL2ZJF0d9X2zwuiDr91o-2Fv0-2Ba2rlQictDIMUKPwebob-2BFRhbQ20pKhUp0ZrFuLNSALp9tg-3D) Lara believes that a test or skills check is just one piece of information from one point in time. It does not give the full picture of a child’s capabilities and strengths. When children are engaged in a developmentally appropriate, research proven education, teachers get to know the children they work with on a deeper, holistic level. They know where they need to steer these children for them to learn in a way that enables each to child to reach their full potential. What teachers need to know about children, don’t come from a test. They come from the relationships that are built in an educational setting where teachers and learners are working together. Not out of an environment that is reliant on testing.. Lara Jennings is Primary Teacher by Trade, a Secondary Teacher by experience and an Early Childhood Educator out of Love. She is a self-confessed education nerd. She is also the founder of https://www.offspringeducation.com.au/ Lara Jennings is available for media interviews. Media Contact: Candice Meisels candice@candicepr.com 0481 369 494 ​About Offspring Education: We proudly supply quality, educational resources that are environmentally sustainable, fun & engaging for early education settings, schools, parents & therapists. We provide professional workshops for educators & teachers. Our workshops are child-centred & draw on the best practices in the industry. Each workshop provides teachers and educators with a well stocked tool kit full of practical strategies to engage young minds as well as a chance to reflect on their own practices to support each child to reach their full potential. We also provide advice & workshops for parents so that they can have the confidence to be advocates for their child’s education as well as the skills they need to support their child along the way. https://www.offspringeducation.com.au/ - ENDS - “Millennial Mums are shaking up the future of travel across the globe!” 2017-09-15T04:34:39Z millennial-mums-are-shaking-up-the-future-of-travel-across-the-globe Press Release For Immediate Release Australia, 14th September 2017, Katrina McCarter, Founder and CEO, Marketing to Mums states: "Millennial Mums are shaking up the future of travel across the globe. They want to discover new places, they are more adventurous and seek a high degree of personalisation in their travel experience. This represents significant challenges and opportunities for travel marketers.” “If Jetstar and Afterpay extend their offering to international fares, I would expect to see a significant lift in the frequency Millennial Mums and their families will travel. “They will be attracted to the opportunity to travel to places such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar as they seek diverse cultural experiences to enrich their family’s lives.” Katrina McCarter is a Marketing Strategist specialising in the most powerful global consumer, Mums. Katrina is also the author of bestseller Marketing to Mums, which went #1 on Booktopia's Business Bestseller list. Katrina will be speaking and sponsoring the world’s leading event for marketing professionals who market to mums, M2Moms® – The Marketing to Moms Conference. The conference takes place on the 3rd and 4th of October at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Other sponsors include Google and WebMD.M2Moms® is attended by a comprehensive and diverse list of brands including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Evenflo, IKEA, Abbott Nutritionals, GM, Allstate, Heinz, Symantec, Hasbro, BBC, NBA, Procter & Gamble, Wyeth and Coca-Cola. Katrina concludes: “In my presentation I will be revealing new research to show how Mums influence the $8 trillion travel industry. I will be offering practical tips for travel marketers to cut through the clutter and make genuine connections by understanding what motivates a mother who is trying to make a travel decision. I’ll show marketers how to maximise the effect of storytelling, the importance of reviews and testimonials and show why a customer experience focus is critical to success.” -ENDS- Media Contact: Candice Meisels Candice Meisels PR candice@candicepr.com About M2Moms® : M2Moms® is the world’s leading event for marketing professionals who market to mums. M2Moms® is attended by a comprehensive and diverse list of brands including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Evenflo, IKEA, Abbott Nutritionals, GM, Allstate, Heinz, Symantec, Hasbro, BBC, NBA, Procter & Gamble, Wyeth and Coca-Cola. http://www.m2moms.com/ About Katrina McCarter and Marketing to Mums: Katrina McCarter is a Marketing Strategist who specialises in driving sales and profit amongst the world's most powerful consumer, Mums. Katrina is the author of Marketing to Mums, which went #1 on Booktopia's Business Bestseller list outselling the likes of Simon Sinek, Timothy Ferriss and Sophia Amoruso. Katrina is a mum of three and is a sought-after speaker at world class events. Katrina has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and an MBA (International Business) and over 18 years of Marketing and Sales experience targeting Mums as the purchaser. She is an experienced speaker and workshop facilitator. https://marketingtomums.com.au/ Top Sydney Dance Schools Star in 9th Annual KidsXpress Dance Challenge 2017-08-15T01:04:09Z top-sydney-dance-schools-star-in-9th-annual-kidsxpress-dance-challenge Over $16,000 raised on the weekend to support KidsXpress charity Sydney, Australia – 15th August 2017 – The talented teams of over 1,000 local dancers from Sydney’s top dance schools, accompanied by their principals, attended the annual KidsXpress Dance Challenge at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on Sunday. Performing in front of more than 3,000 people who attended the event, they not only gave the audience a terrific show but with their combined efforts they helped support the KidsXpress charity, a world’s first early-intervention, unique expressive therapy program for young children, by raising $16,000. The funding raised over the weekend will help ensure that KidsXpress can continue to inspire children to thrive through the power of music, art, drama, play and, of course, dance. Lachie Dearing, Hi-5 member, Australia’a Got Talent 2013 finalist and current KidsXpress ambassador, has also been an active part in KidsXpress’ journey since he performed at the grand opening in 2006 when he was just 8 years old and has participated at the Dance Challenge event every year since its inauguration, including this last Sunday. "The purpose of the program was explained to all of us back then and hearing about what some kids endure opened my eyes to how fortunate my own life is. It made me realise that I wanted to be able to help others. To this day, the most fulfilling part of being in Hi-5 is having the ability to be able to give back in some small way. The program uses the things that I am most passionate about, dance, music and drama to help troubled kids. I for one know just how helpful expressing yourself through the arts can be.” Talking about the event, Lachie continued saying “There is a sense of unity as we are all there to do what we love to do, dance, but more importantly raise money for an incredible cause. It’s an incredible feeling to know that an awesome day of fun for us can make a change to others lives." Miss Galaxy 2017, Shikye Alyce Smith, is too one of the original performers who was invited to be a part of the opening of KidsXpress back in 2006 and she said ‘It's been amazing to see how it has grown over the past 10 years. I've been involved in the Dance Challenge from its first year as a competitor and now volunteer each year at the event. I'm a huge believer that the performing and creative arts are very powerful healing tools so I am beyond proud to support this incredible organisation. “ Now in its 9th year, the KidsXpress Dance Challenge brings together Sydney’s top dance schools with the children’s charity, KidsXpress, to showcase some of the state’s most talented young dancers while also raising funding to support KidsXpress innovative program. The day celebrates dance and highlights the incredible impact it can have on young lives, as KidsXpress uses dance and movement therapy, along with other expressive therapy modalities to support children living with the impacts of childhood trauma. Over the years, more than $260,000 has been collectively raised for KidsXpress through this event which has helped KidsXpress grow and develop their program to reach more children in-need throughout Sydney. Margo Ward, KidsXpress founder and CEO said “The KidsXpress Dance Challenge unites the dance community in a meaningful demonstration of compassion in action. It is a day of expression, a day of dance, beauty and fun, but most importantly, it’s a day of incredible impact for the vulnerable children which can now access our incredible expressive therapy program as a result.” For more information, please visit https://kidsxpress.org.au/how-can-i-help/#schools-and-organisations /Ends About KidsXpress Founded in 2005, KidsXpress first opened its doors in 2006 and it seeks to reduce the personal, social and financial burdens of the childhood experiences of trauma through an innovative and accredited expressive therapy interaction program for children aged 4-14 years. More than 2500 children have been through the program. KidsXpress’ core therapy program is run by highly skilled, expert therapists in small groups from its headquarters in Sydney’s Moore Park as well as through a Western Sydney Outreach program. Media Contacts Einsteinz Communications Carlotta Vittori or Pru Quinlan 02 8905 0995 carlotta@einsteinz.com.au or pru@einsteinz.com.au KidsXpress Contacts Matthew Keast Grants and Communications Manager matthew.keast@kidsxpress.org.au 0431679916 Anastasia Bernardo Fundraising and Events Manager anastasia.bernardo@kidsxpress.org.au 02 9380 9220 Helping Hand Group Celebrates 20 Years with Major Milestone of $100 Million Raised in Donations 2017-08-13T22:41:37Z helping-hand-group-celebrates-20-years-with-major-milestone-of-100-million-raised-in-donations Sydney, 14 August 2017 – Helping Hand Group, Australasia’s market leader in fundraising auctions, today announced it has now raised and donated more than AU$100 million for leading charities, community groups, schools and sporting clubs since it started 20 years ago. This has been achieved by providing a broad range of unique holidays, experiences, memorabilia (music/movies/sport), artwork and fine wines through Ballot Bidding®, silent and live auctions at over 6,000 fundraising events.  “One of the main challenges of putting on a fundraising event is the sheer effort and coordination that goes into the planning and execution,” said Richard Ernster, founder of Helping Hand Group. “This is where our services play such a pivotal role in helping organisations and charities run a successful event and bring in much needed fundraising revenue.” Founded in 1997 in Sydney, Helping Hand Group now has nine offices across six countries throughout Asia Pacific and has operated auctions in 17 countries, from Australia to Abu Dhabi, Monaco, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Japan and more.  Demand for Helping Hand Group’s fundraising and auction services continues to increase significantly every year, with over 400 events held in the past year alone. The company’s growth can largely be attributed to its focus on offering more unique, luxury items for auction, which achieve far better donation figures for the charities and fundraising groups it works with.  “Given the unique, money can’t buy experiences that Helping Hand Group offers, this played a pivotal role in guests pledging large bids on our auction items at our annual Foundation Ball,” said Vanessa Barry, head of St.George Foundation. Vital to Helping Hand Group’s success is its commitment to evolving the services it provides to auction events to keep up with changing needs. In recent years, the company has introduced its Ballot Bidding® service, which gives event guests the chance to lodge their maximum bid against the items that interest them via specifically designed ballot bidding forms. It also introduced Electronic Silent Auctions that use the latest software to allow attendees to engage instantly and directly via their mobile device during an event. About Helping Hand Group Founded in 1997 in Sydney, Helping Hand Group has raised and donated over $100 million for leading charities, community groups, schools and sporting clubs, by providing memorabilia, artwork, fine wines, holidays and experiences for fundraising through silent or live auctions. It has operated auctions in 15 countries and has affiliations with nine offices across six countries. For more information, visit: http://helpinghand.com.au/ DUBBO THE CENTRE OF A MYSTERY RALLY 2017-08-07T00:06:12Z dubbo-the-centre-of-a-mystery-rally Each car must be older than 25 years and while the finishing line is also Dubbo, the five-day driving route and each night’s stopover will be a complete mystery to the teams taking part. The rally is the ‘mad baby brother’ of famed Shitbox Rally, the leading individual fundraiser for Cancer Council nationally, devised in 2009 by James Freeman after both his parents died of cancer within 12 months of each other. “Each Mystery Box stopover location is a secret, adding to the fun of the drive. One thing teams do know is – we’ll be driving remote dirt roads,” James Freeman said. “As with every one of our rallies, we’ll travel in smaller teams and not every car will make it! But money raised is directed to vital cancer research and we’re proud of the $11.9 million we’ve raised overall from our rallies since 2010. “This has helped fund research into many different types of cancers, led by outstanding Australian research teams. “We can’t wait to arrive in Dubbo and see the community come out to support us.” With names like Lady Car Car, The Volvo-lution, Rusty Bumpers and Some Mothers Do Ave Em, teams from around Australia have been busy fundraising over the past months and going on the actual rally is a reward for all their hard work. The departure point on Saturday 25 November is Dubbo Showground.