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Baking a Great Relationship

Lemon delicious, pavlova, fruit sponge with custard, birthday cakes, cupcakes and even an impossible pie! It sounds like a menu you may find in a bakery. In reality, this is a small sample of the delicious foods that the students of Yarra Valley Community School (YVCS) have been making in conjunction with the good folk of the Warburton Lyrebird Day Club.

The Warburton Lyrebird Day Club was established in 1995 to address the concerning level of social isolation felt by many veterans and senior community members in the Warburton region.

The club meets every Wednesday at the Redwood Centre in Warburton. YVCS students from the Yarra Junction campus attend each week (and even through the school holidays) to assist with setting the tables, preparing the main meal, making the dessert, serving the luncheon guests and cleaning the kitchen after mealtime. Students assist lunch members into the dining room, serve their drinks and make sure that needs are met.

“I love going each week and supporting my older community members. They get to enjoy a big lunch and catch up with fellow community members. Each week we cook for them, talk with them and hear great stories…every week is full of laughter and fun.” – Sarah YVCS Yarra Junction campus

Lunch guests pay $12.50, receive a three-course meal and are invited to participate in social activities. Games such as Mahjong, solitaire, scrabble and other card and board games are played weekly.  The money raised each week then provides the meal for the next week.

In November 2015 The Warburton Day Club will celebrate 20 years of providing meals to the community through volunteer support and passion. The students of Yarra Valley Community School are extremely proud of their role in supporting such a great initiative and the feedback received from the seniors has been great.

Check out the The Lyrebird Club Facebook page

Our students are a dedicated bunch who embrace the community and do all they can to assist throughout the year. The projects they undertake are designed to assist them with tasks that can lead to further education and employment. If you require more information on our youth education services click here or call 1300 835 235. With two convenient locations we’ve got the valley covered when it comes to education.

Taster courses a step in the right direction

UYCH student Lavinia Lyons had always wanted to work with children, however she needed to know more about the industry and what was involved in gaining a qualification to enter this popular sector. The first step was to complete a three day Taster Course in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). From participating in that short course Lavinia then went on to enrol in and successfully gain a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Yesterday we had the opportunity to catch up with Lavinia over coffee to discuss her learning journey with UYCH in order to share her experiences with our readers. Anja Laukart- UYCH Traineeships Team Leader caught up with Lavinia and here is what she had to say.

Anja (interviewer) – “Lavinia what was your experience in completing the taster in ECEC prior to enrolling in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course?”

Lavinia- “The taster gave me an idea of what was required to successfully complete a qualification in ECEC (Early Childhood Education and care). I gained an understanding of what was involved in the accredited course and what it was going to cover. This gave me a realistic view of what to expect from being a part of the Early Childhood Education and Care industry and employer expectations which was really helpful.”

Anja (interviewer) – “How did the taster short course help you in deciding if the Certificate III Early Childhood Education and Care course was right for you?”

Lavinia – “I liked what the course was about and was excited about doing my qualification. I knew what to expect before I started which was great. I found the environment positive and liked the fact that the trainer was easy to talk too.”

Anja (interviewer) – “Can you tell us some highlights of the course (Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care)?”

Lavinia – “I really enjoyed how the trainers made the course very interactive. Going to the child care centre next door to our training classroom was a highlight and a wonderful benefit to training with UYCH because the children’s centre (Long day care and OSHC programs) are right there outside the window. On our visit to the children’s centre the class walked around the centre to assess risks and observed the staff interacting with the children.  I also enjoyed book reading, playing with different toys, and understanding the importance of developmental stages of children. I really found the hands on activities cemented in my mind what the trainers were saying.”

Anja Laukart (interviewer) – “Since completing the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course what have you been doing?”

Lavinia – “I have continued learning with UYCH, I recently enrolled in the Next Step Computers course to gain more skills and knowledge in IT. This is being held at the Mt Evelyn campus which is really convenient. I plan to look for work in the Early Childhood Education and Care industry next year.”

UYCH Community College would like to thank Lavinia for her time and sharing her learning experience with us. Maybe we will catch up with Lavinia early next year to see how her career plan is going.

If you would like to know more about our Taster and VET Qualification courses select the industry sector below.

Early Childhood Education and Care
Aged Care
Horticulture
Animal Care and Welfare
Community Service

For discuss your option please call Nina or Anja on 03 9736 1457

 

Story time enjoyed by all

The children of Mt Evelyn UYCH Children’s Centre love having story time and this year we have been lucky enough to have continuing visits with Beck from Eastern Regional Library’s Outreach Flexi-van Service. We discovered this service at the end of last year and due to it’s popularity we are now approaching one year.

Beck has been a huge hit with the youngsters and they look forward to her visits every second Tuesday, during school terms. Stories are theme based to ensure the children get the most out of each book title, and sometimes include a puppet play. Beck often brings along fun activities to follow up, such as colouring or cutting and pasting, which have relevance to the stories she has read. The children are very enthusiastic when it comes to creating projects from the storybooks and characters featured in them. The children are then encouraged to choose from a selection of brand new library books that they can borrow to enjoy between visits.

Studies have proven that reading to children at any age, but particularly 4-5 year olds, every day has a significant positive effect on their reading skills and cognitive skills (i.e., language and literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life. We read stories to the children every day at the centre, and we hope that this will help them to foster a lifelong love of reading.

This program has been a great success and we would like to extend a big thank you to Beck and Eastern Regional Library’s Outreach Flexi-van Service for your ongoing support to the children of Mt Evelyn UYCH Children’s Centre.

For further information regarding our Children’s Services in Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction visit our webpage.

Bush kinder – planting for our future

The Yarra Junction UYCH Bush Kinder have been busy little green thumbs, and the weather did not deter them at all; Dressed in their little red rain suits, gumboots and with determined looks on their faces they began planting for the future. Their task was big, very big, they had to plant 300 trees and shrubs indigenous to Yarra Junction as a part of the Ribbons of Green Program.

This initiative was part of the Yarra Ranges Shire Ribbons of Green program, which encourages local services to offset carbon emissions through the planting of indigenous plants donated by the Shire.

The team led by Simone, our sustainability leader, and Ian, from UYCH maintenance managed the project by helping the children plant and learn about the importance of nature and the role it plays from an environmental perspective.

UYCH used these plants to help revegetate our bush block which over the past term has had much work done. Through participating in the Ribbons of Green initiative our service has been able to provide our children with opportunities to learn about local indigenous culture, sustainability and develop connections with nature.

The children helped to dig the holes and plant the different types of indigenous plants, trees and shrubs. The rain didn’t deter the children from planting and as for the mud, well that became the headlining act as the children had plenty of fun. This is what some had to say;

“We’re gonna plant the plants not kill the plants.”

“I’ve got my working boots on just like Ian.”

“I am a good digger.”

“I like flowers, not grass.”

The Yarra Junction Children’s Centre would like to thank Benn Sheffield from the Yarra Ranges for all his help in organising the Ribbons of Green project.

The UYCH Bush Kinder is a great way for your children to start their educational journey. For further information call 5967 2776.

Student art for all to see

At the start of the year, the Yarra Valley Community School was offered 3 projects that they could work on for their personal development skills unit. Graffiti Art was one of the projects which ran for six months. Graffiti artist Brad Colling lead the project team with Kelly Charman (YVCS Teacher) which covered a wide range of graffiti skills that included; t-shirt screen printing, canvasses and the star attraction the Men’s Shed sign.

The project wasn’t just making works of art, the students also learnt about the effects of graffiti in the community and graffiti removal. Sessions on this topic were conducted by Mark and Julie Hanman (Yarra Ranges Council Youth Services Officer) which saw the kids get involved with graffiti removal and helped them gain an understanding of the difference between street art and vandalism.

The main project was the sign for Ben’s Shed in Yarra Junction, this being the star attraction the students got out amongst the community to gather feedback and listen to suggestions. The first step was to have a meeting with the Ben’s Shed committee to discuss the history of Ben’s shed, and what they would like to see on the sign. This consultative approach was driven by the students who met frequently with shed members to ensure the project was on track and to their liking. They researched the history of Yarra Junction and spoke to local business to get approval for the sign as well as spending many hours planning and designing the sign. Drafts of final design were presented to Ben’s Shed on regular basis to get approval after which they came back with suggestions.  Once the sign got final approval the students started the big task of sanding, painting, stencilling and spraying the sign.

O’Shannassy Ward councillor Jim Child officially opened the sign launch and thanked the students and everyone involved for all their hard work.  Takysha Gammon (Student -YVCS VCAL Senior) did a great job presenting to the crowd about the project and the steps taken to create the artwork piece. Other speakers included, Leigh Hardy (Ben’s Shed), Julie Hanman (master of ceremonies), Brad Colling and Kate Kite (Ben’s Shed Treasurer) who presented certificates of appreciation. Many people attended this event to celebrate a project that set about connecting young people with older members of the community.  The final result complements Ben’s Shed with additional signs still to be erected over the coming months that aim to add colour and fun to the main street of Yarra Junction.

“The highlights for me was seeing it all come together. Months of planning really paid off and students benefited from the interaction with other community members”. Kelly Charman YVCS Teacher

“Linking young people with the community for me was the main highlight. The students were eager to learn and put in the hard work to get a positive result”. Brad Colling Graffiti Artist

“Graffiti vandalism (tagging) is a problem within our community. The students took a known problem and made it into an art form to be appreciated”. Julie Hanamn (Yarra Ranges Council Youth Services Officer)

A big thank you to Julie Hanman and Mark from the Shires, Brad Collings, Ben’s shed committee members and Karen Swankie (YVCS VCAL Coordinator).

Overall the project was a huge success with the community benefiting from having a new sign at no cost to them and having the opportunity to engage with young people.

For further information on Ben’s shed visit their Facebook page or to learn more about our youth education services click here.

YVCS Students making a difference

The Milking Cow and Goat Project – YVCS students raising money for orphanage in Kenya.

Foundation VCAL Students from the Yarra Junction Campus at YVCS are currently working with the Healesville Rotary Club to raise money for The Milking Cow and Goat Project which supports orphans and primary school children in Kariakomo Orphanage in Kenya. These children live in extreme poverty, dying of starvation and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Malaria. 300 orphans and poor children attend school and their daily intake of food consists of some beans and maize and ¾ glass of milk. Once a week they get one egg and a banana so as you can see they really need our support. The students have developed fundraising projects to support the purchase of cows and goats that will provide more milk for the children.

As a part of this project the students came up with some great ideas on how to raise the funds needed to make sure their milk supply doesn’t run out. The first initiative was to run a raffle, being winter a decision to make the prize a trailer full of fire wood was a winner. So off they went making a flyer and putting them up in local businesses to spread the word. They took to main street of Yarra Junction with their trailer full of wood to promote and sell tickets. Their entrepreneurial  skills didn’t stop there as they held a sausage sizzle at the same time, so customers could purchase a ticket while waiting for their banger in bread, good thinking on their part. Their hard work has paid off as they have raised over $1000 and they still have more ideas up their sleeve, so be sure to keep an eye on our website and blog for more fundraising activities to take part in.

If you’d like to support this fantastic fundraising activity come into UYCH Main Office – 2463 Warburton Hwy in Yarra Junction to purchase your raffle tickets – $2 each or 3 for $5. The raffle will be drawn Wednesday 5th of August so there is plenty of time to purchase a ticket or three.

For more information on The Milking Cow and Goat Project visit www.cowsandgoatsproject.org.au

If you would like to know more about our youth education programs click here.

Community houses working together

SWEY Project – Community Houses Partnering together to provide more learning opportunities in the Yarra Valley.

The Seville Community HouseWoori Community House and the Upper Yarra Community House recently received funding from ACFE (Adult, Community and Further Education) to explore the possibility of developing a partnership. One of the aims of the group is to be able to deliver more courses to people who live up and down the Warburton Highway.

The project name, SWEY, is a play on words, coming from the individual Community House locations, Seville, Woori, Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction, SWEY.

The UYCH Mt Evelyn campus recently held a workshop which included representatives from each of the three community houses and was facilitated by Sue Gold, who is an independent business advisor. The workshop focused on the values of the Community Houses and how they support learners within each of their communities.

There is a second workshop planned in the coming months in order to decide on the type of partnership that could work for the three Community Houses. So watch this space……

“This funding has been a fabulous opportunity, giving the community house leaders time to come together and think about possible ways that we can all help support each other and our respective communities.” – Nina Bekker, UYCH

“This project has given the three Houses the chance to come together and form the beginning of a valuable partnership which could lead to resource sharing, bringing accredited training to the Valley and hobby courses to the Yarra Junction region.” – Vicki, Seville Community House

“Woori Community House is looking forward to working together with Seville and Upper Yarra Community Houses on the SWEY project to enrich the lives of local community members.” – Sonja, Woori Community House

“The funding has helped the SWEY group with big sky thinking time, opportunities to be creative, thinking outside the box, possibilities of delivering something different, and above all keeping the focus local.” – Nina Bekker, UYCH

For more information on the Seville and Woori Community houses, visit the links below:

Seville Community House
Woori Community House

VCAL Students get the green thumbs up

Supporting Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Living within UYCH – Introducing the UYCH Growing Community.

The UYCH Mt Evelyn Campus has launched its very own community garden with the vision and aim of providing a general garden space for our students and community members to create and maintain their own gardens.  We hope the garden will encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly living within our community and provide people with the opportunity to create and utilise a garden space that they may not have an opportunity to do so in their own home. It is also a great concept to encourage and promote healthy eating and activity within our organisation and local community.

Historically the garden operated under Morrisons, however in the change-over with UYCH the Community Garden program was left unattended.  This year, our VCAL landscaping class have been working tirelessly to tidy and clean up any over-grown areas so new members could start using the garden and planting their seeds for the season.

There are 8 plots in total, 5 large and 3 small with a wood-fire pizza oven on site that can also be used by members. The use of the garden has already proven popular with departments of UYCH and past garden users from the Mt Evelyn Community already expressing interest and booking their garden plots.

Our Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) kids and our VCAL students in particular have already hired plots and have been busy planning their garden projects.

Some of our VCAL students for example, are currently working on a Social Enterprise that link to their work related skills units, in this case they are using the community garden to run a plant sales Social Enterprise called ‘Jeffery’s Garden’.  The aim of the Social Enterprise program is to re-engage our youth with the community and give them confidence and leadership skills. Jeffery’s Garden will be selling winter seedlings to the local community in Term 3 and they hope to continue this enterprise into Spring and Summer.  They want to provide the community with healthy and fresh home grown produce with 50% of their profits going towards the Guide Dog Association and Animal Aid and the remainder going back into the business to keep it running.

To reduce costs they are using recycled pots which have been donated by community members and recently they received a $50 donation from Bunnings Warehouse. They are grateful for any community contribution and ask if you have something you think might be useful including sharing your gardening knowledge please consider their needs. If you have any old plastic soft drink bottles or plastic pots, we have arranged a drop off bin in the kitchen at the Mt Evelyn Campus, 20 Old Hereford Rd.

Here’s what one of our students have to say about having a community garden at UYCH and what it means to them:

“As a part of the gardening group I am gaining knowledge and skills on how to take proper care for plants. I am enjoying working with my friends and doing something that I feel passionate about”. Gillian – VCAL Student

This is a very exciting addition to the UYCH Mt Evelyn campus and our local community. We can’t wait to see what plants, fruit and vegetables start flourishing from the garden plots.

If you’re interested in becoming a plot user, please fill in your details on our expression of interest form to or contact 9736 1457.

VCAL Students Getting Into Gear

Our Mt Evelyn Campus recently ran a four day Changing Gears course to help young people get their learners permit. Changing Gears is an initiative of Mission Australia that provides an interactive and flexible learning environment to assist young Victorians prepare for their learner test.
Having a driver’s licence opens the doors of opportunity for employment and community participation. Changing Gears supports people to take the first step along this important pathway. The program presents the road rules in an interactive and flexible manner and has a very high success rate in assisting young Victorians to prepare for and receive their learner permit.

Yarra Valley Community School had 13 students participate in the Changing Gears program, 10 from Mt Evelyn and 3 from Yarra Junction. They participated in a three day classroom style course where they learnt the road rules through interactive games, videos and practise test. Then on the fourth day, they were taken to Vic Roads in Burwood to sit their test. 10 of the 13 passed and received their learners, which is a great success rate. The program was very popular and we have received a lot of interest in the next course being held later in the year.
Here’s what some of our students had to say about Changing Gears:

“It was a good opportunity to be able to achieve the completion of my learners. The teacher Rob was really good at breaking it down into an easier way to remember all the road rules and tips. If I didn’t have this course I probably wouldn’t have got my learners anytime soon.” – Keith VCAL Mt Evelyn

“My favourite part of changing gears was after doing the test at Vic Roads finding out I got 100% from the help of the classes.” – Liam VCAL Mt Evelyn

“I learned so much in the few days and it was the best experience. I thank Rob so much, he’s a wonderful guy.” – Tmia VCAL Mt Evelyn

“It was a really good experience and helped me so much. Thank you Rob” – Paige VCAL Mt Evelyn

“It was incredibly useful and we learned a lot! It was good.” – Sam VCAL Mt Evelyn

To find out more about the Changing Gears program and Mission Australia click here

UYCH Mt Evelyn’s Biggest Morning Tea

The Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea helps raise funds for world class research, prevention programs and support services for cancer patients and their families. This year our Pre-Accredited students decided to support the Cancer Council’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and host our very own morning tea in the office to show our support for everyone affected by cancer.

Our Introduction to Kitchen Skills class on the previous day had spent their class time preparing lots of delicious morning tea treats such as cookies, slices, cakes and even pumpkin soup. Other staff members and students also prepared some lovely homemade goods and bought them in to add to the morning tea buffet.

We had lots of attendees and contributors join the morning tea yesterday, making it a great success. Staff from all departments at Mt Evelyn as well as our Certificate III Animal Studies students and Pre-Accredited English students came along to show their support and to taste-test the sweets and treats provided for a gold coin donation. Here is what some of our staff and students said about the event:

“Today was about raising awareness to cancer and was good people could donate a gold coin to support the charity. It was also good to see people come together and enjoy the food” – Josh: Pre- Accredited student

“The morning tea went really well, it was a great opportunity for all staff and students at Mt Evelyn to mix” – Nicole: pre-Accredited Tutor

In total we raised over $80 for the Cancer Council which is a great effort and a real show of support throughout the organisation for Cancer Council’s mission to defeat cancer and help those fighting this devastating disease.

A big thank you to all the people who helped organise this event and who made a donation.

If you are interested in holding events for cancer research or would like to donate to this worthy cause visit www.cancer.org.au