Days numbered for dreadlocks in cancer fund raiser

The countdown is on for 21-year-old Tristan Rogers who is about to have his cascade of dreadlocks shaved off as a fund raiser for a teenage friend battling cancer.

Ever humble about his courageous gesture, Tristan says it is the least he can do to help support family friend Merrick Edelston who has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), and also encourage others to dig deep.

Sixteen year old Merrick from Seville is about to undergo his second round of chemotherapy and it has been confirmed he will need a bone marrow transplant.

‘It was like a bombshell when I heard about Merrick and I thought that having my dreadlocks shaved would be a great way to help Merrick and his family,’ said Tristan who is coordinator of Cire’s Out of School Hours Care program at Badger Creek.

‘We all know each other from going to Seville Primary School and Lilydale High…and our brothers being close friends.’

The big day for Tristan’s dreadlocks of the past seven years is 11.30 am on Sunday 28 March at Branded Burgers and Bar, Seville. All money raised will go to the GoFundMe campaign that has been launched for the family with Branded Burgers donating 20% of its taking from 11 am to 12.30pm.

For those keen to donate, and as the gofundme page states: ‘Let’s support Merrick and his amazing family through this long and stressful journey by ensuring they can cover medical expenses, petrol and parking costs as well as the impact on both Maree and Jonas’s ability to work their usual hours while caring for Merrick.  Let’s show our support for Merrick a bright, fun loving, caring and thoughtful young man who faces this extremely tough journey and subsequent recovery.

AML is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It is a group of leukaemias that develop in the myeloid cell line in the bone marrow. Myeloid cells are red blood cells, platelets and all white blood cells excluding lymphocytes.

AML is fairly rare with about 900 people diagnosed in Australia each year, accounting for 0.8% of all cancers diagnosed  and at a rate of 3.7 per 100,000 of population.

Click here to visit Merrick’s GoFundMe page

Early years treasure

Janine Waters -

Janine Waters – celebrating 20 years at Cire Children’s Services

Early years educator Janine Waters could well be described as a Cire icon, even an Upper Yarra treasure, however reluctant she may be to accept such an accolade.

Janine recently clocked up 20 years with Cire Children’s Services at Yarra Junction and during that time she has helped nurture and educate hundreds of local children at their most critical developmental stage in life.

She has also developed strong bonds with the parents and carers, extending Cire’s support and reach into the wider community network.

In commending Janine for her dedicated service, Executive Manager, Cire Children’s Services, Diletta Lanciana said:

“Janine is a significant and valued member of the team and has positively impacted the lives of countless children in the Upper Yarra. She can certainly be described as a baby whisperer.”

“Thanks for being such an invaluable part of the Cire fabric and congratulations on the amazing milestone.”

Passionate about helping provide youngsters with the best possible start, Janine finds her work hugely rewarding and fulfilling. Her warm and welcoming smile and encouraging manner are a genuine indication of her passion.

“It is a real privilege to be part of the Cire team at Yarra Junction, providing quality care for children and also offer such an invaluable service to parents,  carers and the wider community,” Janine said.

“I love my job, working for Cire and being part of a great team that has been together for many years. I love the relationship, the bond you develop with the parents and carers and the trust that their child is receiving quality care in a welcoming, safe and inclusive space.”

Janine believes the quality of care has improved significantly over the years in terms of the programs for learning and children’s development and recognition of the needs of each individual child. It is this quality of care and the sense of community and connectedness that makes Cire Children’s Services experience so special.

In recent years, Janine has been working in the infant’s room, for almost-newborns up to 18 months old, where she has witnessed her young charges achieve many milestones such as learning to speak, and crawl and walk and even dance with joy.

“It is so amazing watching these little ones grow and develop their own personalities,’ said Janine, ‘Before you know it they are serving you at the local supermarket.”

She has further extended her positive influence through mentoring students from Cire Community School undertaking a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. While gaining hands-on experience at the Yarra Junction Children’s Service, these students have been inspired by Janine’s passion and willingness to share her knowledge and wealth of experience.

“It is super rewarding to be able to help launch these students on their career pathways,’ said Janine, who has three adult sons and welcomed her first grandchild at the end of last year.”

Cire’s sense of community and connection, across all ages, aligns strongly with Janine’s own philosophy.

She embraces the way Children’s Services reaches out into the community through initiatives such as providing local work experience for students, hosting very popular community dinners, as well as the formation of a parent/carer committee so they provide input as well as network with each other.

Janine’s links to Cire go well beyond her 20 years as one of the early childhood educators at Yarra Junction. Her sons attended child care at the Warburton Highway site when it was operating as the Upper Yarra Neighbourhood House.

Janine joined the Children’s Services team in its early years in Little Yarra Road. She recalls that the first building was the principal’s house from Gladysdale Primary School which is now used as the toddler’s room. Since those early years, the site has been developed and expanded to provide a quality service and meet local need.

As the longest-serving educator at Yarra Junction, Janine has witnessed many changes across Cire as a whole, as well as Children’s Services.

She has watched with pride as Cire has expanded to become a reputable not-for-profit delivering flexible learning opportunities to people of all ages and helping the community identify and address its needs.

“There have been many changes for the better, to better serve the community,’ said Janine, adding that she hopes to be part of the Cire team for many years to come.”

Thanks for being such a valued member of the team member and congratulations on reaching this milestone, the Team at Cire.


Shooting Hoops set in concrete – Part II

Cire Children’s Centre at Yarra Junction were recently given an opportunity to upgrade the playground area with the addition of a brand new basketball ring and concrete court. This upgrade has given our kids a fantastic space to practice their shooting, dribbling and bouncing skills and as an extra bonus; a fun place to play down ball, hop-scotch and to be creative with chalk drawings.

Cire Children's Services - shooting hoopsThe children were so excited to see this project completed and were quick to make use of the new space. There have been so many benefits in gaining this new court; from safety in the playground to creating new friendships through play, with the older children teaching the younger ones new skills. Providing a safe area for our children to play basketball more effectively and allowing the balls to bounce consistently without rolling off down the hill or becoming covered in mud and getting the kids covered in dirt, not that they minded too much.

Ball games are now played all the time on the flat hard surface free of obstacles such as bumps, rocks and mud. When the children are engaging in a safe game of basketball they are learning life skills such as sharing, perseverance, accepting victory and defeat graciously, becoming a team player and overcoming obstacles. Many of the children come from different schools and this area has encouraged them to play together with the opportunity to form new friendships. They have gained a space that helps them spend their time in the sun in a fun and exciting environment.

We asked the children what they thought of the new space and this is what they had to say…

“I like the concrete better than the mud, because it helps the ball bounce better.” (Sam aged 6)

“I like the new basketball area because it is now easier to bounce the ball. The ball didn’t bounce before and sometimes it would pop because of the rocks on the ground.” (Peter aged 9)

“The concrete is harder than the mud and you can play basketball better .” (Riley aged 8)

The children’s responses show us that they are pleased with the new area. The basketball court has provided a harder, more weather appropriate area that can be played on all year round.

Physical activity is large part of Cire’s outside school hours care program. We encourage children to be active in play and learning. Having this new facility will play a big part in the wellbeing of each child and we would like to thank the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise for their generous donation.

We now all look forward seeing the children engage together, having fun, gaining opportunities to play in their new space.

Shooting Hoops in concrete Part I blog article

For further information all our children’s services click here or you can contact us on 1300 835 235.

Upper Yarra Community Enterprise