Elise steals the show for Community School at Rotary

Elise steals the show for Community School at Rotary

Rotary has commended Cire Community School for its specialist work with young people and, equally importantly, has been inspired by the drive of one of its students who shared her aspirations and journey at a recent Wandin Club meeting.

Wellbeing Coordinator Stephen Duke and 16-year-old Elise were special guests at a recent  Zoom meeting of the Wandin Club to acknowledge its generous $2000 scholarship for 2020. Elise, is one of four students from the Community School to each receive $500 from the fund awarded by the club in conjunction with the overarching District 9810 which covers a large portion of Melbourne’s south east extending from Templestowe to Upper Yarra, to Chelsea to Beaumaris.

Stephen emphasised that Cire Community School focuses on each person as an individual and their unique needs; it is a school of choice rather than a last resort for young people who need a positive alternative to mainstream education.

Elise, who has missed many years of formal schooling, explained that Cire understands that challenging behaviour is a reflection of a student’s mental health and wellbeing rather than a desire to ‘act out’.

‘Cire understands individual emotions and how they affect students. Sometimes you just need some time…it is not just about sitting down and getting on with your work, not when there are so many other things happening in your life and around you,’ said Elise.

Elise, who impressed members with her maturity and candour and the way she articulated her story, said she loved writing which helped her manage emotions. She has used the COVID period to develop a new interest in painting.

Determined to pursue a career in social work, Elise will have much to offer, drawing on her lived-experience and the challenges she has overcome at such an early age.

District Governor elect, Daryl Moran, was also a special guest at the meeting and with a career in education, spoke highly of Cire’s focus. He said it was incredibly important that the Community School placed ‘each individual student at the centre of everything it does’

Daryl, together with Club president Paul Martin, meeting chair and past president Dennis Hoehne and other club members commended the school for its work and Stephen’s insightful presentation.

However, it was Elise who ‘stole the show’. It is enormously satisfying for the club to meet those who benefit from its ongoing fundraising activities and to hear how its financial support can make a positive difference in their lives.

‘It is so rewarding for us as a club to meet the people we try to help through our fundraising efforts. Elise is so deserving of such assistance and has such a great future ahead’, said meeting chair Dennis Hoehne.

He added that it was particularly courageous for Elise to join the meeting given that members are mainly men old enough to be her grandfather!

Club president Paul also commended the relationship Rotary has with Cire, the club’s first organisational member. He said these types of partnerships help strengthen community connections and reach, for the benefit of all and particularly those most in need.

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