Charlie digs deep for community pantry

Donating cash to help stock the community food pantry at Cire’s Yarra Junction Community Hub was a perfect fit for Warburton’s Charlie Pizarro-Gaultier

Charlie digs deep for community pantryCharlie, who owns vintage clothes shops in Warburton and Healesville and is the driving force behind the Warburton Community Opportunity Shop, is always striving to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

When he found himself with surplus vintage stock earlier in the year, and not needed by the op shop, he decided to have a $1 “fire sale” and donate the proceeds to a worthy cause. Aware of the many people doing it tough in the Upper Yarra particularly, he felt donating to the food pantry was a great way to provide support. Not only did the $490 donation directly benefit those in need but it supported Cire, whose values align with Charlie’s. The “fire sale” also helped reduce even more items going into landfill unnecessarily.

“It was a win-win all round’ said Charlie who has a background in social work and lives his life with a broad humanitarian brush through his sharply focused social justice lens.

Charlie digs deep for community pantryHumble about his giving and reluctant to be profiled, Charlie hoped that his donation might help encourage and inspire others. He believes everyone has a responsibility to do their bit and help others where they can, and that businesses have an obligation to contribute in some way.

While his Charley Horse Vintage shops at Warburton and Healesville are doing well, equally important to him is the Warby Community Op Shop. Sales through the shop help support the needs of vulnerable women and others needing a hand up, the local CFA and Upper Yarra Wildlife Refuge.

 “The level of socio-economic disadvantages experienced by many people in the Upper Yarra and the constant risk of homelessness often falls under the radar. It doesn’t take much for people’s circumstances to change dramatically,’” Charlie added.

Charlie hopes to develop the op shop into a hub of support and referral where people have a sense of belonging and connection and can access support and referrals in a welcoming and safe environment. Currently, its main focus is clothing, with any quality donations welcome, with the hope of also expanding to include furniture.

For anyone interested in donating quality clothing, The Warby Community Op Shop, at 3459A Warburton Highway.  Is open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

Cire’s Community Hub at Yarra Junction also welcomes donations of non-perishable food which can be left at the hub or at reception at our Lilydale office.

Pictured: Cire’s Karina Stone and placement student Jenaya re-stock the pantry at the Yarra Junction Community Hub Karina; Charlie (inset).

Magic of giving adds to kinder graduation excitement

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.

Cire joins Rotary

Cire Services Inc. has added further depth to its community partnerships by becoming one of the first organisational members of Wandin Rotary Club.

Cire has welcomed the initiative because it helps build on our existing relationship with Rotary and work even more closely with a service organisation very much driven by similar values and goals.

‘We are honoured to have been invited to join Rotary which is such an enormously respected organisation worldwide,’ Cire CEO, Gus Seremetis.

‘We already enjoy a great relationship, having partnered in various projects and we greatly look forward to more collaborations in the future to help improve the lives and opportunities for others in our region and beyond.’

In welcoming Cire, Wandin RC President, Heinz Budweg, said he looked forward to partnering more with Cire in the future to deliver many positive outcomes for people of all ages. He also commended Coldstream Primary School which joins Cire as the first organisational members with Wandin RC.

Wandin RC’s has provided invaluable support to Cire across its diverse services with initiatives including scholarships for students at the Community School, defibrillators for Cire Community House and our Mt Evelyn campus, and books for Yarra Junction Child Care Centre. Through Rotary connections, the Days for Girls program has been introduced at Cire Community School to help make education more accessible for girls in Third World Countries, and students have assisted with landscaping projects at Yering and Coldstream primary schools. Plans are also underway for Rotary to provide mock employment interviews for our students.

In jumping aboard Rotary, Cire has launched a postal stamp collection drive to support ROMAC – Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children. Please see the end of this article for details.

Rotary International has 1.2 million members and more than 35,000 clubs across the globe who contribute 16 million volunteer hours each year.
The organisation is driven by a philosophy that: ‘Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves… Each day, our members pour their passion, integrity, and intelligence into completing projects that have a lasting impact. We persevere until we deliver real, lasting solutions.’

For more than 110 years, Rotary has bridged cultures and connected continents to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease.

Eliminating polio has been one of its greatest campaigns with 2.5 billion children immunised against the debilitating illness, particularly in Third World countries.

Another of its projects is ROMAC which funds life-saving and dignity-restoring surgery for young children from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Timor Leste, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Everyone can help ROMAC by collecting used stamps. All you need to do is cut the stamp off the envelope (please do not peel off), leaving roughly a 2cm border. Once you have collected a few, drop them into Cire’s Yarra Junction office in an envelope marked ‘ROMAC – Sandra Bucovaz’.

A recent comedy night hosted by Wandin RC raised $13,000 for ROMAC!

If you would like further information on Rotary visit

Pictured: Cire’s Manager of Partnerships and Funding, Sandra Bucovaz, and Coldstream Primary School’s Chaplain, Chris Waizel, with Wandin RC president Heinz Budweg (centre).

New work boots by the truckload, almost

It was like Christmas at Cire’s Mount Evelyn campus on 3 August when a donation of a truckload, almost, of spanking new work boots arrived for horticulture students.

The Port Melbourne-based Workwear Group was behind the incredibly generous donation, with students eager to select their own from the 40 pair available. There were no second thoughts for one student who readily retired his dad’s boots.

Karen Swankie, Leading Teacher VCAL/VET and Student Pathways, and Workwear’s John Simon were delighted to see the expressions on the faces of students when they tried on their very own work boots. Some of the students readily went up to John to shake his hand in thanks.

‘It is an incredible donation because it is such a huge boost to the students and their futures,’ said Ms Swankie. ‘Having their own boots that comply with OHS requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE), helps open the doors for students to future employment and structured workplace opportunities, as well as work placements and experience, on-the-job training, and hands-on learning.’

Ms Swankie said the boots would give students greater confidence to enter the VET field and workforce and maximise the opportunities that are available.

The boots will benefit Cire students at all year levels and across varying programs including those in Vocational Education and Training (VET) Horticulture run in conjunction with Swinburne TAFE and the Hands-On Learning program at Yarra Valley ECOSS which focusses on sustainability.

Ms Swankie said the donation was particularly timely given that students will be involved in structured workplace learning later this term in areas such as building and construction, nurseries and mechanical roles.

If you would like to know more about community school click here or call 1300 835 235.

Inspired by a generous donation

In March, Cire Services Inc. was delighted to meet with Designs to Inspire, a Melbourne-based team of property stylists, who have a lifelong passion for homes and interiors.

Founded in 2011 by Georgia K, the Designs to Inspire team have grown to be a leader in the home staging area. The team researches property styles, current design trends and analyses target markets in your area, to ascertain the optimum way to furnish your home. Further information can be found at

Since trends always come and go, the Designs to Inspire team supports organisations through their furniture donation program, donating older and outdated furniture in order to make way for new trends and designs. Design to Inspire was pleased to support Cire Services during March.

Cire was approached by Designs to Inspire in March to ask if we were interested in a “bit of furniture” that they would like to donate to us. Of course, we couldn’t refuse this generous offer of receiving quality furniture to brighten up our facilities.

From an initial discussion, we were expecting a little bit of furniture, but soon we realised that their donation was much more generous than expected including several couches, chairs, tables, shelves, paintings, and cushions (lots of cushions) which amounted to two truckloads. Cire was overwhelmed with the generous donations received that will see our school and childcare facilities upgraded.

“We were ecstatic when we saw the sheer amount of donations. Cire has two campuses to maintain so we knew we wouldn’t have any problems finding new homes for every item. It’s the goodwill of businesses like Design to Inspire, who support organisations such as ourselves to continue to deliver quality services to the community.” Gus Seremetis CEO Cire Services

Tnak you cardCire staff member, Anthony Lindner, recently visited the Design to Inspire office to say thank you (and to pick up a few more cushions!).  On behalf of Cire, Anthony was pleased to provide the Design to Inspire owners, Georgia and James and their great team a “Thank You” card, full of drawings from the children from our childcare centres and school students who will benefit from their generosity.  The Design to Inspire team were also presented with copies of our recently released “Cire Community Cookbook”.

Being a registered charity, Cire relies on donations such as these to further enhance our programs and services.  The generosity that Design to Inspire has shown us is greatly appreciated and for that, we say thank you. With thanks to Georgia K and the team for your support and goodwill, be assured that all the donations will be put to good use by our students, childcare and kindergarten kids and staff.

If you would like to make a donation to Cire Services or have questions about our you or your business can support us please contact Sandra Bucovaz on 03 5967 1776.

Prams to go

Diletta Lanciana, Geoff Vickers and Roseda CampbellCire Services would like to thank the Warburton and Yarra Junction Community Bank branches for their generous sponsorship towards the purchase of three quad multi-seat strollers. Cire Long Day Care in Yarra Junction is located at 39-41 Little Yarra Rd, Yarra Junction. The centre is located at the back of the property (shared with the Cire Community School and Outside School Care program) and borders significant bush plantation. The location of the main evacuation point (Yarra Junction oval) is located 900 metres away. It was identified that quad multi-seat strollers would assist in the event of an evacuation as well as increase the opportunities for educators to take children out on excursions to the fantastic outdoor spaces of Yarra Junction (with parental permission of course!)

4 Wheel prams donated by Bendigo BankEach quad multi-seat stroller buggy features removable canopies, a rain and wind cover with Velcro snug fit to make sure that the children within the stroller stay warm and dry. A large storage area underneath the stroller seats is present for all essentials required for an outing. The buggy folds compactly for ease of storage and is certified to the mandatory safety standards for Australia and New Zealand AS/NZS 2088:2000 Prams and strollers- Safety requirements. The stroller features a five-point safety harness on each seat, 360 pivot wheels with a locking option, handbrake safety mechanism, a rear foot brake, a reflective strip on the stroller canopy while each stroller has a padded bumper bar for front passengers. The stroller is suitable for children aged 6 months to 4 years of age with a maximum weight for each child being 15kg.

Next time you are at Cire Children’s Centre in Yarra Junction, come and check out these fantastic red strollers!

Thanks again to the Bendigo Bank who continue to support us to endure we can deliver quality childcare services to the community.

If you would like to more about Cire Children’s Services call 1300 035 835.

Upper Yarra Community Enterprise



Books to get off to a good start

In February 2018, Cire Services were fortunate to be the recipient of a $200 donation from Wandin Rotary that was to be utilised for the purchase of educational products for the children from the Yarra Junction Children’s Centre. Both Cire Services and Wandin Rotary acknowledge the importance of literacy and language development in pre-school children and what better way to contribute to the children’s learning journey than through the magic of words.

Literacy is a key part of a child’s development. Talking, singing, playing sounds, word games, reading, writing and drawing with children is a fantastic way to set up sound literacy skills. Activities such as reading together, playing with rhyme and sharing stories can all assist in a child’s early literacy journey. These skills will prepare children for primary school and for the learning road ahead of them.

On Thursday 8th March, Mr Warwick Bisley from Wandin Rotary attended the Yarra Junction Children’s Centre to present a collection of children’s books for the children to enjoy. Selected from the shortlist of books for Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards 2017, which were aimed at promoting “quality Australian books that help children get the best, most literate start to life”.

The books were selected from three award categories: “Birth to three years”, “Three to Five years” and “Indigenous children”. A total of 12 books were purchased. Some of the donated books included:

  • I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You- Kate Ritchie (Hannah Sommerville)
  • At the Zoo I see – Joshua Button and Robyn Wells
  • Animals in My Garden – Bronwyn Houston
  • The Ricker Racker Club – Patrick Guest(Nathaniel Eckstrom)
  • Mad Magpie – Greg Dreise
  • Hello to You, Moon – Sally Morgan (Sonny & Biddy)
  • 1,2 Pirate Stew- Kylie Howarth
  • Colours of Australia- Bronwyn Bancroft

The children were fortunate to receive a special treat when Warwick stayed to read one of the donated books. All the children enjoyed listening to the story and admired the colourful images and afterwards Warwick was invited with the children to enjoy a yummy morning tea.

When asked about the books, some of the children expressed their thoughts.

Charlye-Rae said “I think they are great”, Sam described the books as “cool” and Matilda told her teacher “My mummy and Daddy would love them”.

In appreciation for the special gift, the children presented Warwick with a thank you card then a tour of the centre. Warwick described the centre as:

“One of the best preschools he has seen in Australia”.

We would like to express our thanks to Wandin Rotary for their generosity. We look forward to children enjoying the books for many years to come.

if you would like to know more about Cire’s Children’s Services click here or call 1300 835 235. Cire also offers tours of our centres located in Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction.



UYCH Continues their support for Nepal

Image of the Free Dress day fundraiser flyer

Last month we posted a blog article to raise funds for people of Nepal. The earthquakes have had a massive impact on the region and many organisations have come up with ways to help. UYCH has done just that by having a ‘Free Dress’ day for all staff and volunteers.

All UYCH sites got involved and even the students at the Yarra Valley Community School got in on the act. What started out as a ‘Free Dress’ day ended up for some as a ‘Wacky Dress’ day, as you can see from the image above. Teachers and students got really creative which had people talking about their outfits and more importantly building awareness about the need for donations and support. We asked participants what they liked most about the day and and what it meant to them, this what they had to say.

“Was great to be able to come to work in casual clothes and know that you’re raising money for a great cause too. It’s good to break up the office wear sometimes, and makes it more worthwhile when you’re contributing to helping others and donating money.” Amy, Corporate Services – Mt Evelyn

The kids really enjoyed seeing all us teachers dressed up. Plenty of laughs were had throughout the day and the money raised went to a people who really need it, overall it was a success and lets hope we have more.” Karen, Yarra Valley Community School – Yarra Junction campus

“We are happy to support such a worthwhile cause by raising money for the people of Nepal” Kat, Family and Children’s Centre – Mt Evelyn 

“Seeing everyone dressed up made my day”. Lachie, VCAL student – Yarra Valley Community School – Yarra Junction campus

“We really feel for the Nepalese people and anything we can do to help and contribute is great”. Toula, Family and Children’s Centre – Yarra Junction

In all we raised a total of $191.15 which will be donated the the Atticus Nepal Trust (ANT) which aims to provide ongoing support to the people of Nepal by purchasing medical equipment and health supplies. For further information on this fundraiser read our previous blog article ‘Help the people of Nepal‘ posted 19th May 2015.

A big thank you to all the people that made a donation and contributed to the success of the day. If you didn’t get a chance to donate you still can by clicking here.