CORA booklet - The Source home by tyndale

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                 CONTENTS

Page 3    Biographies of Team Members

Page 5    Our Vision

Page 6    C.O.R.A

Page 7    Story from Chris

Page 9    Story from Kelly

Page 10   Story from Rannay

Page 11   Story from Anonymous

Page 13   Story from Natasha

Page 15   15 Tips to build your community

Page 17   Acknowledgements




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The information expressed within this document is the
opinions of the members of the Stronger Families Team
of the National "Youth Roundtable 2007."




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NAME OF TEAM: Stronger Families, Stronger Youth

By: Kelly Bucknall, Kaesahne Dean, Kirby Drew,
Robyn McKinnon, James Orchiston (Returning
Member), Allison Rickards, Glenda Roberts (Facilitator),
Chris Standing, Rosemary Tabuai

Kelly Bucknall: 21, Brisbane, is currently studying a
Social Work/Law Degree.

Kaeshane Dean: 16, Broome, and is currently in Year
12 at Broome Senior High School.

Kirby Drew: 23, Coffs Harbour, is currently in her 3rd
year of a Bachelor of Primary Education at the Southern
Cross University.

Robyn McKinnon: 24, Northern Tasmania, crisis
support worker at a Sexual Assault Support Service.

James Orchiston: 21, Sydney, currently is completing
his degree in Communications at the University of
Technology, Sydney where he is majoring in political
and sociological studies.

Allison Rickards: 26, Hobart, is a Pathway Planning
Officer for the Tasmanian Education Department and
mother of one.

Glenda Roberts, Facilitator: 37. Grafton, a public and
community relations manager, mother of three boys.


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Chris Standing: 20, Macquarie Fields, is currently
studying for a Certificate IV in Youth Work from TAFE.

Rosemary Tabuai: 18, from Torres Strait, currently
living in Cairns, currently in 1st year of a Bachelor of
Laws.




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Vision: To encourage community spirit in working
together to address local issues that are impacting on all
members of the community, through the building of
relationships and resourcing solutions that create positive
change.

Introduction: Stronger Families, Stronger Youth is a
diverse group of passionate young people who come
from various backgrounds and regions across Australia,
yet we have been drawn together by one common goal to
make a difference.

Each of us have our own powerful stories to share, and
through this story telling we have been able to unlock the
passion that drives us towards making a difference
towards breaking the cycle of domestic violence, crime,
homelessness, poverty and teenage pregnancy among
many more issues. We acknowledge that this is
something as individuals we cannot stop alone, but
together we hope to inspire others to work as one
towards a world free of the things that hold us back.

We believe that we all have the potential to make
positive changes towards improving our communities.
The Stronger Families, Stronger Youth team have
developed a concept known as CORA that will be a
resource aimed to all members of the community to
encourage, inspire and resource people interested in
making a difference in their communities.




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Name of Project: CORA – Community, Ownership,
Responsibility and Action.

Background of Project: Each of the members of
Stronger Families, Stronger Youth brought to the team a
broad collection of both personal and professional
experiences that has allowed us to birth the concept of
CORA. Although at the beginning we all had our own
specific causes and communities we wanted to help, we
have been able to see how to integrate and address all
these issues within a group of people working together.

To enable us to share what CORA means to us as
individuals, we have developed this booklet that contains
inspirational quotes, stories of young people, resources
and tips of what you could do for your community. We
hope to accompany the booklet with an online forum
where community members can maintain contact with
other people trying to bring CORA to their community
and share stories and resources about their successes.

We developed this booklet to spread the CORA message
across all communities within Australia.




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Chris, 20

I’ve lived in Macquarie Fields since I was 10 years old. I
went to school there, and most of my mates are from
there too. Growing up in Macquarie Fields I’ve always
known we had it tough – high poverty, high crime rate,
high levels of public housing. In Mac Fields it was the
way of life. You had to do crime to get money, so that
you could go do stuff with your mates. Most of the time
we used to just hang out in the streets, drinking and
stuffing about.

On 25 February 2005 one of my good mates was killed
in a tragic car accident, which sparked the Macquarie
Fields Riots. I was heavily involved in the Riots,
throwing rocks and beer bottles, and intimidating police.
As a result I this, I was arrested and went to Court. I was
found guilty and sentenced to a one-year good behaviour
and one year parole. Some of my close friends went to
prison for their involvement.

A few months after the Riots, Father Chris Riley’s Youth
Off The Streets charity set up an outreach program.
They ran activities to give kids a safe environment, and
to stop them causing trouble due to boredom. They also
had regular bbq’s so we could have a good feed with the
rest of the community. I went to this program pretty
regularly and after a while was identified as a potential
role model.




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I was then asked by Father Riley to travel with him to the
Philippines to work with street kids there. The trip to the
Philippines really opened my eyes and made me decide
to change my ways. It showed me how I could make a
difference in my own community.

I am now putting back in to my community by devoting
my time to becoming a youth worker and work with
disadvantaged youth in Macquarie Fields. I know that
my actions during the Riots contributed to giving Mac
Fields a bad name across Australia, and now I’m
working to change that image.




‘If you don't like the way the world
is, you change it.
You have an obligation to change it.
You just do it one step at a time.’
Marian Wright Edelman



'Every community has more potential
resources than any one person knows'.
Mike Green
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Kelly, 21

Abandonment, abuse, abortions, drugs, foster care,
homelessness, poverty, truancy, depression, self-harm,
and that was all before I was 18.

I never thought I’d get out into the 'real world' and
actually survive. There would be days where I would just
spend the whole day and night planning how to kill
myself - how to make the pain stop.

That was a few years ago, I’m not saying everything's all
good, but I don't get as down as much as I use to. You
can't just erase the past!

I'm 21 now, in my 3rd year of university, and in stable
accommodation for the first time in my life. I’ve had a
lot of support – friends, professionals and mentors who
told me 'education was my key to a better life.' Without
that simple piece of advice and the constant support I’ve
had, I wouldn't be here today."


'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world – indeed it
is the only thing that ever has'.
Margaret Mead




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Rannay, 18

I was in a domestic violence relationship for two and half
years, after three months of being with him I fell
pregnant to him. When I was pregnant he would always
have his mates over drinking, doing drugs and making a
mess. He would also let his friends live with us. This all
continued after my daughter was born.

He wouldn’t get rid of his friends. Requests for them to
leave were ignored. I was expected to clean up the mess.
When my daughter was 8 months it came to my attention
that he had been sleeping with one of our flatmates for
six months. I moved out not long after this.

I moved up to Cairns with my mum, where I received
threatening phone calls to go back to him. I ended up
getting a DV order against him, and went to court on
many occasions. Finally I got a protection order signed
with my daughter and I on it for two years.

Three months after leaving him I started attending
University, I got my own place through access housing
and I finally got my life on track. Things are looking up
for me and my daughter.


‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a
single moment before starting to improve the
world.’
Anne Frank


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Anonymous, 24

This story begins and ends with a young girl, scared of
her past and frightened of her future yet determined to
make a difference in this world.

From as early as I can remember the people, who were
meant to have loved me, abused that love – emotionally,
sexually and verbally. When others had a family to
support them, I was left to fight for myself as no one
wanted to believe what I had been through.

At the age of 16 I made the brave decision to go it alone,
and make sure that no other young girls would be
exposed to the abuse from this man. I wasn’t quite sure
how I would do this, but after two long years of court
cases the decision was in, GUILTY! Despite the guilty
verdict I was left feeling empty, lost and as scared as
ever.

I had believed that proving to the world this had
happened would make me feel better, and would bring
back my family and my childhood but instead I had lost
everything. My identity my education, and my life. I was
alone, but the fight was not over.

Deep down within the sadness and pain there was a
burning desire to keep going, to help other young girls
who have been hurt and to breakdown the taboo of
childhood sexual abuse within the community. I had


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always been up for a challenge, but this was much bigger
than I had ever expected.

It is now 8 years on, and I am still scared of what may
happen, but I am no longer alone. I am married to a very
special guy, and have a new family who do believe me
and love and support me in everything I do. I now work
with amazing, strong and beautiful women, men and
children who have experienced the effects of sexual
abuse, and I am proud that I kept on fighting through the
darkest of times just so I can make a difference, even if
only in one person's life.

Each day I still face the issues of my past, and sometimes
its hard to see past the tears, but what keeps me alive is
knowing that I am not alone, that I am one of many
survivors                    who                  everyday
live with the past, but I am determined to tell my story
and break the silence that too many of us live with, and
be free to love and be loved without being hurt.




‘Action may not always bring
happiness, but there is no
happiness without action.’

Benjamin Disraeli
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Natasha, 25

Violence against women, Australia says no.
Unfortunately too many women have to live everyday
experiencing what politicians and community leaders say
they will not tolerate. When I was experiencing
domestic violence with my partner, watching those
advertisements on TV made my self esteem lower.
Having someone telling you it's not ok what you're going
through and knowing your neighbours just sit by and
listen or turn the TV up louder.

When you are a victim of domestic violence it is virtually
impossible to have the strength to pick up the phone and
tell someone what's happening, most of us don't even
have the courage to tell our families.

Violence against women shouldn't be tolerated, but after
what I've been through I can say first hand not nearly
enough is being done to eliminate it. Raising awareness
through ad campaigns is a start but action has to be
taken.

When I was being abused by my partner I wanted
someone to help. The few times police came I wanted
them to take my partner away but instead I lied and told
them I was fine, just like I told everyone else who
noticed any signs. My self esteem was zero and all the
verbal abuse I'd suffered made me believe I deserved it. I
was petrified to admit what was going on because I was
scared of the consequences if I did, so getting a domestic
violence order was out of the question.

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If the world was perfect when I was being abused, when
the neighbours heard me screaming and crying they
would of rung the police. When the police came they
would have removed him for at least 24 hours and
questioned us both separately. I would have then been
offered a safe place where I would have received intense
counselling and personal support. This would have given
me enough strength and self esteem to know I was one of
those women who Australia won't tolerate being abused.

‘Let there be justice for all. Let there be
peace for all. Let there be work, bread,
water and salt for all. Let each know that
for each the body, mind and soul have
been freed to fulfil themselves.’

Nelson Mandela

‘Great communities don't just happen! They
are created, nurtured and sustained by
caring and involved residents.’

Peter Kenyon




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   15 Things you can do to bring CORA to your
      Community:


1. Start a community garden

2. Help coach a local sports group

3. Join a local Emergency Services group

4. Gather a group to clean up a local park or nature
reserve

5. When inspired, write personal notes to friends and
neighbours

6. Organise a street barbecue

7. Share with neighbours any surplus vegies from your
vegie patch

8. Take time to know and communicate with the people
who live in your street

9. Invite some people without family to join your family
for Christmas lunch

10. Contribute to suggestion boxes, especially those
related to community activities

11. Get to know local elected council members and share
your ideas and opinions

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12. Make it a practice to talk to strangers e.g. at the
supermarket checkout, on the bus, in the seat next to you,
on the plane etc

13. Regularly give surplus books, clothes, toys etc
to local charity groups

14. Write a letter to the editor about one issue
you care about

15. Think of your own action!




‘Our greatest fear is not that we are
inadequate, but that we are powerful
beyond measure.’

Nelson Mandela




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This booklet is made possible by the experiences that
each team member has had this year in trying to
implement CORA related activities in their community.
We acknowledge the input we have received from young
people and community members who have attended
events such as community teas, basketball and barby
nights, and local lunches all held in National Families
Week in 2007. We would like to acknowledge the source
of www.bankofideas.com.au and the staff of FaHCSIA
for their contribution to the production of this booklet. In
addition to this we have received a number of stories
from young people outside of the Stronger Families,
Stronger Youth team which share invaluable insight in to
their lives and is a testimony to their strength within the
community.

CORA Team




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