Teddy Bears Picnic – celebrating children

Cire Services was a bit like the Pied Piper of the Yarra Valley recently when it hosted two fun-packed festivals at its community hubs to celebrate national Children’s Week.

Hundreds of pre-schoolers and their families including mums and dads and grandparents, and the local young-at-heart, gathered for the festivities which focused on the 2019 theme of ‘Children have the right to be healthy, safe and happy. Richer countries should help poor countries achieve this’.

With a teddy bears picnic theme, all who attended enjoyed a full program of activities at the Chirnside Park and Yarra Junction hubs on Tuesday and Thursday, 22 and 24 October respectively.

Teddy Bears Picnic - celebrating childrenHighlights included performances by educational theatre company, The Flying Bookworm, the musical magic of local drummer Kofi Kunkpe, storytimes with Bookaburra and Eastern Regional Libraries, energetic dance classes with Count Me in Dance Company, badge making, plaster mould painting, playdough, robotics, and cut and paste and sensor activities and lots more.

It was also one-stop shopping for information about local services and activities with stalls promoting Cire Children’s Services, Cire Training, Cire Community Hubs; the CFA complete with truck; local pre-schools and primary schools, Yarra Range Council Family and Community Services (FaCS), EDVOS, Healesville Hospital and Yarra Valley Health, Eastern Regional Libraries, Brain Gym, and Count Me in Dance School.

In keeping with the 2019 theme, and to plant the seeds of social justice among our youngsters, Cire showcased a charity it supports in North Bali.  The son of the founder, who was a special guest at Chirnside Park where he wore traditional dress, thanked all those who donated to the Aura Sukma Insani Foundation. Former Cire employee and Yarra Junction resident, Heather Dryden volunteers at the charity which focuses on education, housing and medical care in remote areas.

Cire hosted the teddy bears picnics with the support of Yarra Ranges Council as well as businesses from the region including the Fingers Orchard at Launching Place, Yarra Valley Archery Park, Belgravia Leisure’s Yarra Centre, Oz Tenpin Bowling, Bunnings Lilydale and Croydon, Maroondah Golf Park, and Readings.

‘Cire is proud to partner with others to ensure such an event is successful and that we work together to strengthen our broader community, through inclusiveness and connectedness,’ said Gus Seremetis Chief Executive Officer of Cire, one of the largest not-for-profits serving the Yarra Ranges and beyond and unique to the region.

‘It is tremendous that Children’s Week is helping sow the seeds of social justice with a focus on helping less fortunate children overseas, as well as promoting the rights of children in Australia.’

Ms Seremetis was delighted to welcome Dodi Sukadana from the Aura Sukma Insani Foundation.

‘Cire’s values closely align with those of the Foundation which we actively support,’ added Ms Seremetis.


The Lost Teddy Bear

This story started at a delightful Teddy Bears Picnic at Yarra Junction Recreation Reserve. The picnic was one of two hosted by Cire Services Inc in the Upper Yarra and Chirnside Park to celebrate National Children’s Week.

The Lost Teddy Bear – by Simone Whitehead

Molly and her friend Skye were very happy to be going to the Cire Teddy Bears Picnic in Yarra Junction. Molly knew that Skye would enjoy it because there would be other teddy bears for her to play with.

They had so much fun! Molly sculpted with play dough, made a teddy bear badge, threaded beads, painted a plaster mould, blew bubbles, sang nursery rhymes, played the drums and much more!

That night, Molly was so happy but as she was getting ready for bed, she realised Skye wasn’t with her. Molly couldn’t remember when she had last seen Skye. Oh no! Where was Skye?

As it happened, Skye had been separated from Molly at the Teddy Bears Picnic. Skye had been so busy blowing bubbles that she hadn’t seen Molly move on to the next activity. Skye was suddenly all alone.

Luckily, a lady found Skye and kindly reassured her she would be safe until she was reunited with Molly. Despite looking everywhere, the lady couldn’t find Molly so she took Skye home where her daughter made sure Skye wasn’t scared, particularly at night.

First thing in the morning, the lady was able to contact Molly but they couldn’t meet for two whole days. The lady reassured Molly that Skye was being well looked after.

The next day the lady and Skye went to another Cire Teddy Bears Picnic. This time at Chirnside Park Community Hub. The lady was one of the organisers and Skye was keen to help with all that had to be done.

Skye had loads of fun making badges, painting plaster moulds, watching the Flying Bookworm theatre show and even offering to drive the local fire truck back to the station! She was a great help. That night she slept so well and felt safe knowing the lady’s daughter was taking such good care of her.

The next morning Skye awoke with great excitement. Even though the past couple of days had been fun, today was the day that Skye would be back in Molly’s arms. Skye loves Molly so very much and Molly loves Skye just the same.

It had been a wonderful adventure, but Skye was delighted to be home again.

The Teddy Bears Picnic 2019

Molly and Skye reunited

The End

Photos by Grant Schoenmaker

Trivia hits the spot at Chirnside Park

Despite the wintry conditions outside, it didn’t take long for the inside temperature to rise as excitement gained momentum for a trivia night at Chirnside Park Community Hub on Saturday 25 May.

More than 50 people braved the cold, wet weather for a fun night of trivia and related antics which resulted in $1400 raised to purchase a barbeque and outdoor furniture for the hub

The trivia included many entertaining rounds focusing on pop culture, both new and more nostalgic, as well as some sport and general knowledge thrown in for good measure and to ensure there were questions for everyone. A particularly memorable movie question included an impromptu dance competition to the Blues Brothers soundtrack – definitely a sight to behold!

Silent auctions, raffles and lucky seat prizes meant that no one needed to go home empty-handed.

Executive Manager of Cire Community Hubs, Laura Shortis, described the event as a ‘fantastic’ success.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for staff, their friends and family and members of the community to come together and join in a light-hearted evening of entertainment,” Laura said.

Cire Services thanks all those who attended, as well as acknowledges the very generous donations received from local businesses to support the silent auction held throughout the night.

The community hubs team plans to make this an annual event – so look out for information early next year for the 2020 Cire Services Trivia Night!

Cire’s community hubs are one of our core areas of operation.

The hubs at Yarra Junction and Chirnside Park aim to empower people of all ages to learn, connect and belong. They are friendly, vibrant and inclusive offering an extensive range of services, education and leisure programs and community development activities that reflect community needs and interests. Programs include parenting education, environment education, health and wellbeing support activities, and craft and hobby tuition.
We are an active member of Neighbourhood Houses Victoria (NHV) and the Community Houses Association of the Outer Eastern Suburbs (CHAOS).

Cire’s other core areas of focus are:

Cire Community School. Our co-educational independent secondary school catering for young people who have experienced difficulty with mainstream schooling. We have pioneered successful and flexible programs to meet the needs of our students and work tirelessly to make our school one of choice. We provide quality education and personal development opportunities that are hands-on, and relevant in order to engage our students in their secondary education and life beyond school.

Cire Children’s Services. Children’s Services operates across multiple sites and focuses on the needs of families within our community. We provide long day care with an integrated kindergarten program); outside school hours care, vacation care and occasional care and several playgroups

Cire Training, our Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Cire Training offers nationally recognised and accredited and short courses, to help meet the diverse and changing needs of our community and facilitate greater inclusion. From short courses, work skills accredited units of competency to accredited training, our programs are both non accredited and accredited and have helped many people to upskill and achieve their aspirations and career goals.