Thanks to the generosity of Cire’s Sue West, the inspiring magic of giving added to the excitement of the first group of four-year-olds to graduate from Cire Children’s Service and Kindergarten at Chirnside Park.
Proudly dressed in graduation robes and caps, the nine children were thrilled to welcome Sue, who sponsored their academic regalia, to their graduation ceremony on 17 December.
The group was the first to graduate, ready for school next year, with Cire commencing the Children’s Service and Kindergarten at Chirnside Park at the start of 2020.
Aware that the service didn’t have any graduation gowns, Sue generously covered the cost with part of her prize money as a finalist in the 2020 Learn Local Awards. Sue, a trainer with Cire Training, together with student Haylee Mackintosh, were among the top three finalists in the state for the coveted awards in their respective categories.
Executive Manager, Cire Children’s Services Diletta Lanciana said Sue’s generosity was overwhelming yet very much in character. Sue is a dedicated member of Cire Training’s team and always helping others to achieve their best. She is particularly passionate about First Impressions Clothing Exchange (FICE) for women who are long-term unemployed and/or needed extra support, and empowering women to be financially literate and secure.
Graduation is an important milestone for children and even more so this year with all the disruptions and challenges of 2020. When asked how they wanted to mark this special event, the children said they wanted a graduation ceremony, explained Diletta. They subsequently worked together to plan the ceremony with the gowns being a big part of the celebration. The celebration featured a Yarning Circle with the children presenting a song and dance for their families about what they want to do when they grow up. The children were very excited to wear their gowns and hats and to receive their certificates.
In addition to Chirnside, 14 children have graduated from the Yarra Junction service ready for school in 2021 and three from Mount Evelyn.
“Due to COVID and the financial challenges that 2020 brought Chirnside didn’t have is own set of graduation gowns and hats,” Diletta explained.
“We have a set of gowns at Yarra Junction that we would normally share with all services but this year we needed each service to have their own to allay any fears about COVID and to ensure we are COVID-safe. Thanks to Sue this was possible.”
Sue said she decided to donate because COVID restrictions and lockdowns have been so hard for everyone. She believed such a gesture would bed a real boost for the children and their families.
”I was overwhelmed to be nominated by Cire Training and named a finalist in this year’s Learn Local Awards. It seemed right to share this achievement with another Cire service.”
Sue said that it was incredibly rewarding to work for Cire, especially at FICE where women are able to work towards reaching their own personal goals through friendship, mentoring and training. Every day she feels blessed to be able to help other women reach their true potential.
FICE has quickly gained momentum, recognition and support since its establishment mid last year. In addition to the hundreds of women it has assisted, including Zoom sessions throughout COVID restrictions, it received a CommBank Staff Foundation Community Grant through the Mooroolbark branch to cover operation costs in 2021, a Yarra Ranges Council for Community Grant to launch a pop-up shop in 2021, and a council small grant for a fashion show on 12 February 2021.
Of significance, Sue recently became a grandmother for the first time.
“It will be so exciting to watch my beautiful granddaughter Ainsley grow and achieve many milestones through life including graduating from kinder to ‘big school’.
If you would like to know more about our early childhood education programs click here.