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Cire Community School expands to Berwick

Cire Services Inc is excited to announce the opening of a third Community School secondary campus at Berwick at the start of the 2021 school year.

Following an 18-month process, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has given Cire the green light to offer years 7 to 12 to local young people who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from their education.

The approval is testimony to the reputation Cire has earned and enjoys as a ‘school of choice’ for students who need a positive alternative to mainstream education, as well as realistic employment pathways.

Based on the Berry St Education Model and trauma-informed approach, Cire Community School is one of only a few special assistance schools registered for years 7 – 12 students.

The school has well-established campuses at Yarra Junction and Mount Evelyn where total enrolments across the campuses have grown 86% since 2015 to more than 200 enrolments. Earlier this year, the Yarra Junction campus received VRQA approval to offer years 5 and 6 for the first time at the commencement of 2021.

The expansion to Berwick, aligns with Cire’s Strategic Plan to source opportunities, mainly focusing on areas of need and growth that complement existing campuses in the Yarra Ranges.

“Berwick is such an amazing opportunity to extend what we deliver, and do well, in the Yarra Ranges and adjacent areas,” said Cire CEO Gus Seremetis.

“Cire Community School has become one of choice, offering alternative education for young people who struggle in mainstream education for all kinds of reasons. We are not competing with other schools; we simply offer a positive alternative with many successful outcomes.”

Cire enjoys a strong reputation and track record for engaging students who have previously struggled; some have not attended school for up to 18 months or more. Successful outcomes include students transitioning to TAFE and further education, employment including apprenticeships and traineeships, and returning to mainstream school.

Cire Community School’s Executive Principal, Paul van Breugel said – “He is proud that Cire’s model and expertise in specialist education can be extended to the City of Casey and adjacent areas where schools have identified the need for such alternative education.”

“Local young people who need this type of education will have access to better opportunities to learn and grow and become successful adults,” Paul said.

Cire Community School’s success is underpinned by specialist wellbeing teams and dedicated staff on each campus where each student is respected as an individual with unique needs.

“Our flexible and innovative approach is reflected in individual learning plans for each student, enabling them to achieve at their own pace and in their own way,” Paul explained.

Cire Community School campuses offer a welcoming environment to ensure students have a sense of belonging, purpose and growth, and are supported in their learning, wellbeing and life goals.

The Berwick campus will offer middle years (years 7 to 9) and a VCAL program (years 10 to 12) with the first intake of students beginning at the start of the 2021 school year.

Already with strong enrolments, the Berwick Campus has the capacity for 90 students and the potential for further growth.

Click here for further information on Cire Community School.

COVID Reflections by Megan Small

In the following presentation to Cire’s all-staff forum on 9 November, Megan Small from Cire Community School shared her experiences as Lead Teaching and Learning VCAL during COVID lockdowns and how she overcame her own challenges to support and keep students connected, engaged and supported, as well as colleagues 

END OF MARCH

One week to go in Term 1 and COVID numbers were starting to creep higher.

Schools were given two days to prepare to go online… Apparently, that’s all it would take. Teachers scrambled to learn new tasks on top of rewriting the entire curriculum to go online.

There was much research, sharing of ideas, folders set up for easy access, phone calls, emails, excitement, teamwork, frustration and tears.

I had been in a new role, for what seemed like five minutes, as Lead Teaching and Learning VCAL. My Achilles heel is technology, now I was to lead teaching and learning online.

I studied my degree online, so had some understanding and some resources that I could use to help me get through. Many teachers were less experienced and were terrified to go online with their classes.

School holidays were non-existent in semester one. Other than a few hours here and there, we were all working, all learning to go online.

I ran online classes in the holidays to pass on what I could. Sometimes it is easier to learn from someone that is not an expert, but the problem was I was in a lead role and the others were relying on me, so I had to learn before I taught my colleagues.

Term 2 started and we simply ‘went for it’. We had prepared as much as we could, supported each other and worked hard. We were exhausted before we even began… teachers terrified, students ranging from distraught to excited, internet failing, cameras not working, me forgetting to unmute when I was talking…

With every success, there was a problem to balance the scales.

On my planning day, I would visit the classrooms via google meets and often found teachers in a world of pain, asking for my help. Many times I would say “give me five minutes” and I would google my life away to come up with an answer for the team.

On Wednesdays the team would catch up, report on what was working and what they wouldn’t do again. Mark Hunt, my equivalent at the Mount Evelyn campus, and I made a huge effort to stay in touch with each other so we were prepared for our colleagues. We had meetings and communicated regularly with the school leadership team so they weren’t being inundated with emails from individual staff.

Executive Principal Paul van Breugel kept us as updated as he could but eventually we realised that some questions just could not be answered. This was and still is the nature of COVID.

MID TERM

We hit a groove with some students..they were turning up and completing work. I had one student attend online classes more than he had attended in the past two years. The quiet students were speaking up, making oral presentations and engaging in discussion. They were showing leadership and coming out of their shells.

However, not everything was fantastic. The outgoing students weren’t turning up. They could not relate to a classroom online. They were not receiving their much needed energy from each other, the banter, the rough and tumble, the very things that make them feel alive – human contact.

Teachers could see it happening, we called them, we begged them, we called parents, heard them cry, consoled them and soldiered on.

The wellbeing team set up a session for parents to talk about the craziness that was going on inside their families.

When COVID  numbers started to drop, we had the chance to return to campus. The numbers of vulnerable students attending Mount Evelyn campus were slowly growing and teachers on the ground were run off their feet. However, many students just gave up and waited for third term before returning to the classroom

THIRD TERM

We had some time off during the holidays but I was preparing for placement, which was starting day one of third term. I was to spend a month recording the most incredible and difficult experience a teacher could endure. My uni is in Hobart, they had no idea. 

Engagement interviews that were scheduled for the end of first term were happening at the beginning of term three. They focus was on setting goals, explaining the new COVID classrooms, preparing our students and their parents for the new normal. Then there were temperature checks, sanitiser, one (student) per desk, no food prep, no cuppas, no sharing.

We didn’t care, we were all so happy to be back in the classroom, the mood was jubilant, the chatter was infectious. It was hard not to hug them (students), it was all I wanted to do.

Try coming up with creative tasks again without touching, try teaching manicures or hairstyles without touch, sport without sharing a ball, cooking without sharing tools.

But we did it and were happy to do it, the amazing staff at Cire coming together once again to support our precious youth.

Three weeks in, COVID numbers were soaring and we were home again, for the rest of the term. Leadership opened both campuses so if one fell, we would not lose all students and staff to infection. There was no novelty with online teaching this time, we knew what there was to lose. Our students, our results and our sanity!

There were no meetings of goodwill, we taught an hour less each day to save us becoming exhausted. Mark and I were teaching full time, so we could not support the teachers by popping into classrooms. 

And it was numeracy and literacy, day after day, beloved projects just could not be taught online, there was no room for peer teamwork.

To be honest, I started to struggle, I missed everyone, I was teary and dealing with people struggling at home. I was like the outgoing kids, I missed my dose of people, the ones that made me laugh, made me proud and gave me my energy to continue such a rewarding yet taxing job.

I also worried endlessly about the students that had stopped picking up the phone, the parents that were sick of talking and my colleagues that were dragging themselves to the other end of the day. 

I stayed home, wore a mask and had no visitors, desperately trying to do my bit to help reduce COVID numbers.

COMING BACK

Returning to school was wonderful, everyone was smiling, nearly everyone had made it through. It was wonderful to see everyone and I felt that my class had a special connection by sharing the challenges of going online together.

It was okay that we had no excursions, no speakers to welcome, no sports day, graduation dinner, work experience or volunteering

Less than half of the VCAL students will graduate this year because the lack of community involvement has not allowed them to finish all of their subjects. COVID has put many plans back at least six months for these students. 

Unfortunately, some students didn’t make it. The lack of human contact, the lack of routine and the decisions driven by boredom have interrupted their journey to a positive life. However, we will keep contacting them, keep showing them that we care and keep doing our jobs.

I am so proud to be a teacher at Cire, now more than ever. 

Thanks for your time and showing an interest in our teaching journey.

For further information about Cire Community School click here

Students start their day baking fresh bread

Cire Community School recently purchased two new bread makers for use by two Year 10 Foundation VCAL classes at the Yarra Junction campus. Concerns over some students coming to school without healthy food, or without food at all, has been an ongoing problem that teachers have resolved to deal with. The purchase of the bread machines has met several objectives.

Our students love to cook but unless they’re engaged in the cooking program on a Thursday, access to the kitchen is limited. The bread machines are the perfect solution. They can be set up in the classroom, all preparation is done in class and numerous educational outcomes are being met through the students making their own bread daily. Numeracy and Literacy outcomes are being met through measuring and making the bread, through researching and trying new recipes and in instructing classmates in bread making procedures. The students are excited by the endless possibilities of creating their own bread recipes and imaginations are running wild! We are currently using a white and whole wheat flour recipe and it is interesting to note that there have been no complaints or refusal of bread. When we had store-bought bread in the past, students refused to eat it unless it is white!

Routine is very important for our students and serving up warm bread, spread with good quality butter at morning tea time every day gives the students something to consistently look forward to. Bellies that are full of nutritious food are more likely to be conducive to students that are more settled in the classroom, more focused on their work and more engaged in school generally. An added bonus is the sense of community in the classrooms as everyone sits down together to share something that they have made themselves. Some students have been bringing condiments from home and sharing them with others and there is a real feeling of family as we break bread together.

The highlights were the anticipation of the students as they waited for the first loaves of bread to bake, and the looks on their faces when the loaves came steaming out of the oven .

What our students had to say:

“The bread tastes like cupcakes.” Jasmine
“The best thing about today was making and eating the bread.” Ben

Although the bread making is a new initiative, so far it is a wonderful success! The students get to experience warm, wholesome, fresh food that they have made themselves and everyone gets to work in an environment that smells of freshly baked bread. This can’t help but to contribute to the wellbeing of all students and teachers alike!

We would like to thank local business Village Greens Health Food for their support of the project and for supplying bio-dynamic flour to the school at a wholesale price.

If you would like to know more about our youth education programs and community school call 1300 835 235 or click here.

Facing fears with new highs

Cire Community School – High Ropes Excursion

This semester various year 9 and VCAL students from Cire Community School have been participating in an outdoor education project. This project supports the Victorian Health and Physical Education curriculum and the Learning Outcomes for their Personal Development Skills strand.

Over the year our students have been engaging in various activities designed to challenge, empower, develop leadership and teamwork skills and also connect to nature.

Students had the opportunity to participate in a high ropes experience facilitated by John (Camp Manager – St John’s Ambulance Camp in Wesburn).

The high ropes course is conducted in a safe and controlled environment which is designed to challenge the students physically and mentally, take them out of their comfort zone and give them the opportunity to experience self- empowerment through personal risk taking. The course is also designed to allow students to practice in a team environment and to instil a sense of responsibility towards their peers.

Cire Community School high-ropes excursionOn the day of the excursion, the students were both equally excited and nervous. Not knowing for sure what to expect, the student expressed worries that their experience would be limited by factors such as, a fear of heights and some self-doubt. But to their credit, every student had the courage to rise above their fears, and have a go. All the students achieved their personal best and pushed themselves to finish the course, despite the challenges. For some of the students, this meant combatting their fear of heights by climbing to the height of the rope. For others, this meant stepping onto that rope and trusting in their classmates to keep them safe whilst they were belayed from the ground. For the students on the ground, it was an opportunity to demonstrated teamwork and leadership skills. It was wonderful to see the students working together and believing in themselves knowing that they completed these challenges.

“Every student stepped out of their comfort zone and was proud of their achievements at the end of the day. To see the smiles of pride on their faces and the sense of success, knowing they worked in a team, was a special moment to witness.” Willa Vale – Cire Community School Teacher

Cire Community School high-ropes excursionAt the end of the day, on the bus ride home, there was a feeling of exhilaration. The students although exhausted had a fantastic time. One of the highlights for me was seeing the students facing their fears and uncertainties head on. The students showed great teamwork and pride in what they accomplished. It is always amazing knowing, that when you feel that a task will be impossible, it only takes that first step, to be pushed beyond what you believe is the edge of your capabilities. This was a special event for not only the students but for us to be proud of.

We would like to thank John, from the St John’s Ambulance, for his ongoing humour, enthusiasm throughout the whole experience and for supporting all of our wonderful and courageous students.

These are just some of the empowering activities Cire Community School students partisipate in. If you would like to know more about our educational services click here or call 1300 835 235.

Working Together Forum – The best Pho I’ve had all week

Cire Community School students in the Yarra Junction cooking group shone recently at the Cire Working Together Forum where they, along with their teacher, Ian Seppings, catered for 70 staff members, serving a delicious Vietnamese Pho and some healthy finger food.

“Our teacher Ian Seppings, together with students Lachie and Carlie serving on the night, did an amazing job catering for our recent Working Together Forum.  The forum is an opportunity for staff, board and volunteers to all get together and share in what we are up to and contribute to new initiatives.” Gus Seremetis, CEO

In the lead up to the forum, the Yarra Junction cooking group prepared and cooked for the event. The students not only prepped the ingredients for the Pho, they also created samples of food they are cooking for their school projects this year.

One of the projects that the students are undertaking this year is aimed at educating younger children about healthy eating options, which, in partnership with Cire Children’s Services, the students hope to provide the kindergarten children with some fun foods, which are also good for their health.

“It is great to see the work done by the Cire Community School students to prepare the delicious food that we all enjoyed on the night. Lachie and Carlie put in the extra hours to be there on the night, which was outstanding.” Tim Knowles, School Principal

With this as the goal, Cire Community School cooking students created ‘Martian Crackers’, which are made out of cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, rice crackers, hummus and slices of bocconcini. All the ingredients are healthy and nourishing, and when they are ‘built’ to resemble an out of space Martian, eating becomes fun.

So, while staff at the forum sampled Martian Crackers and other tasty morsels, Ian, along with students Lachie and Carlie – who volunteered their time to serve for the evening – got to work organising serving the ingredients of the Vietnamese Pho.

“Commendations to Lachie, who showed true leadership throughout the day in preparing the food, then served throughout the evening. Lachie went above and beyond. Carlie’s help with this event was outstanding. Carlie is not part of the cooking group, but was more than happy to lend a hand on the night and help with serving the food.” Ian Seppings, Teacher

Platters of chicken, vermicelli rice noodles and freshly cut vegetables, herbs and spices were laid out on each of the tables. Then came the demonstration; whilst Ian explained to everyone how to make their Pho, Carlie and Lachie handed out a preserving jar to everyone. These jars were to be the vessels for everyone’s dinner.

The Pho tasted amazing and everyone had a lot of fun slurping out of their jar with chopsticks in hand.

“Ian and our students provided us with the opportunity and learnings on how easy it is to create Vietnamese Pho, a meal that can be prepared and shared around a table with family and friends.  A huge thanks to them for making the session both fun and informative.” Gus Seremetis, CEO

It was fantastic to have the participation of students from Cire Community School in the staff forum.

“Thanks to Ian and his amazing team of students” Tim Knowles, School Principal

Cire Working Together Forums create a space for all staff to come together. People who may not get the opportunity to meet staff from other departments are able to find out what is happening and be kept up to date. Some of the highlights were the People Choice Awards, presenting Ric Butler with a Certificate of Appreciation for his 17 years as our president, Erica German gave an update on the SWEY Project and Robynne Mauger gave us all an overview of what’s ahead for Cire Community House.

If you would like to know more about Cire Community School and the education programs we deliver click here.

VCAL Students just love projects

This semester, the projects for the Personal Development Skills classes at Cire Community School covered Sport, Beauty, Landscaping and Woodwork, Cooking, Art, Upcycling and The Amazing Race. Students participated enthusiastically and there was a strong community involvement focus in all the projects.

In the Sports Project run, at Mount Evelyn campus and organised by teacher Mark Hunt, students played a variety of sports including basketball, futsal, squash, volleyball, trampolining and footy nines.  Students developed their skills and fitness and worked on teamwork and leadership.  The students also organised and ran a lunchtime indoor soccer competition at Mount Evelyn Primary School.  Students were responsible for designing the coaching program, creating a fixture and ladder, coaching, umpiring, and running games for the primary school students and they completed a certificate in Community Coaching.

In the Beauty Project, run at Mount Evelyn campus and organised by teacher Megan Small, students were involved in two community projects.  The students visited an aged care facility, Alexandra Gardens Assisted Living, on a regular basis. On each visit they set up a manicure table in the dining room and invited residents to have their nails groomed and painted and they gave hand massages. The other was work placement experience at Meggahair Salon, owned by Megan, where the students learned some of the tasks of a first-year hairdressing apprentice.  In class each student researched a history of hairstyles and makeup for an oral presentation in class, supported by power point slides.

In the Landscaping and Woodwork Project, run at Mount Evelyn campus and organised by teacher Ash Kirkwood, students improved and maintained the school grounds at Mt. Evelyn campus, to make it a better place to learn while studying at Cire Community School.  The students were responsible for designing and constructing outdoor student spaces and a chicken enclosure, as well as maintaining children’s playgrounds in the community and the community garden.

In the Art Project, run at Mount Evelyn campus and organised by teacher Bernie Miller, students researched a number of art themes. The major focus was on street art and they attended a stencil making workshop with Yarra Valley artist Paul Sonsie. They researched, prepared and delivered a presentation on an art movement of their choice and prepared art work from the themes for exhibition at Lilydale Show and for the Cire School mural. In all, fifteen entries were submitted for the Lilydale Show-Art Show and Cire Students won five prizes in three sections.

India Moffat won 1st and 2nd prize in Adult Novice- Mixed Media Art

Jacinta Lammertse won a Commended Award in Adult Photography

Jye Holden won 3rd prize and a Highly Commended Award in Junior (under 17) Drawing Class

In the Cooking Project, run at both campuses and organised by teacher Ian Seppings, students researched cuisine across the globe and identified suitable recipes for the project.  Ian designed the program to improve cultural understandings among the students and to promote healthy eating.  To introduce these dishes to a wider community audience, students each week prepared dishes to be shared with Cire Community members at Mount Evelyn. Students used fresh produce grown in the community garden for the project. At Yarra Junction, the students also prepared dishes that were culturally inspired, and then shared among the members of staff and visitors to the school. This semester, the students prepared vegetarian versions of their chosen dishes.

The Art Project, run at Yarra Junction campus and organised by teacher Jacqui Tarquinio, celebrated several different areas of focus, culminating in a fundraising event. Jacqui developed students’ skills with clay, canvas, wood-burning and street-art inspired graphics, as well as developing their skills in researching, planning and organising. The culmination of this project was the sale of various pieces of art made by the students to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation and fund some school art resources.

The Upcycling Project, run at Yarra Junction campus by teacher Willa Vale, students created beautiful and functional items out of old scraps of material. Students developed hand sewing and machine sewing skills and created items such as heat packs and cushions that were highly sought after when they joined forces with the Art team, selling these to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation.

In the Amazing Race Project, run at Yarra Junction campus and organised by teacher Kelly Charman, students prepared and ran an event full of mind-boggling challenges. Their focus throughout the planning process involved learning through trial and error, what type of activities could be successful and what resources they would require to run the event effectively. Students had to pick challenges that were physically, mentally and/or socially challenging. They organised routes, clues to locations, organised trails for their challenges, wrote meeting minutes and participated in team problem solving activities. The final race day was held with the remaining students of the Yarra Junction campus taking part.

If you would like to learn more about Cire Community School VCAL programs and educational services click here or call 1300 835 235.

It’s official, we now cater for year 7, 8, 9 and 10

Cire Community School (formerly Yarra Valley Community School) has been operating as a registered senior secondary school for the last two years, from our Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction campuses. We are very pleased to announce that from the start of the 2017 school year, we will be accepting enrolments in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10, in addition to our existing VCAL programs.

The curriculum at Cire Community School is designed to cater specifically for vulnerable students, those who have experienced barriers to completing their education and young people at risk of disengaging with school. We aim to provide a supportive learning environment for each student that builds self-regulatory and relational capacities through a therapeutic approach to teaching and learning that is grounded in the research backed, Berry Street Education Model. The school provides students with a planned and structured program to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to complete their schooling and to make a successful transition from school to work, training or further education.

The school creates learning experiences that engage students, while maintaining a strong emphasis on the development of key literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. Integrated units of work and a project based learning approach, provide students with an opportunity to explore their interests and passions and learn more about their community. As a result, teaching and learning resources are varied and often involve creating hands-on experiences through partnerships with the local community and interaction with the natural surroundings.

At Cire Community School we do things differently. All classes from 7 to 12 are modelled on a primary school structure, whereby students have the one classroom and one teacher for the majority of their core study at a particular year level. This enables the development of strong and positive relationships between the teacher and students and between students within the peer group, facilitating a safe and supportive learning environment.

Now with 115 students across two campuses the future looks bright in 2017 as we become a Year 7 to 12 school and continue to explore flexible and innovative ways of engaging the young people of the Yarra Ranges in their learning journeys. Cire would like to thank the community for their feedback and contribution which played a big part in successfully extending the education levels at the Yarra Junction campus.

Need to know more? Year 7 to 9 orientation sessions over the coming weeks for students considering attending our school in 2017. The sessions will be held at our Yarra Junction campus, 39-41 Little Yarra Rd, Yarra Junction. Additional orientation sessions will be held in late January and early February 2017.

The dates and timing of the orientation sessions are as follows:
Monday 12th December 9:30 to 11:30am
Thursday 15th December 9:30 to 11:30am

Parents/carers are encouraged to contact the school on 1300 835 235 for further information and to book into one of the orientation sessions.

 

VCAL Students pay respect on Remembrance Day

VCAL Students - 2016 Remembrance DayOn Remembrance Day this year students and staff from Cire Community School, Yarra Junction campus, attended the 11am service at the Yarra Junction Cenotaph.

At the ceremony, held by the Upper Yarra RSL, students Rebecca Behr and Lachlan McKenzie laid wreaths on behalf of Hon Tony Smith MP Member for Casey and Victoria & State Liberal Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish MP.

“It was a beautiful ceremony to remember our fallen soldiers.” Rebecca Behr, student

It is important for the students to understand and acknowledge the sacrifice of their ancestors and the history of Australia and the world. Attending the Remembrance Day ceremony not only provided this opportunity, it also allowed the students to get involved and feel a part of it.

“I was proud to attend the service today.” Corey O’Brien, student

The following is from the RSL website:

Remembrance Day, originally known as Armistice Day, commemorates the men and women of World War One, both in the armed forces and civilians. Remembrance Day is held on the 11th November every year as this was the day in 1918 when hostilities ceased.

Nearly one hundred years has passed since the truce that ended World War One, yet conflicts continue to ignite throughout the world. This said, citizens and leaders of the world continue to hold the belief that peace is possible, and continue to work towards that goal.

In Remembrance Day ceremonies across Australia one minute of silence is observed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to mark the anniversary of end of four years of horrifying war.

“I was happy to pay my respects to all who have died in war.” Charlotte Stritch, student

The students were moved by the occasion and went away with a greater understanding of the importance of Remembrance Day.

“The speeches were very interesting. It gave me emotion and awareness of what happened, thank you.” Zabian Jones, student

If you would like to learn more about Cire Community School VCAL programs and educational services click here or call 1300 835 235.

VCAL Students raise funds for the Starlight Foundation

On Thursday the 27th of October, Cire Community School Personal Development Skills (PDS) Art Group and Upcycling Group joined forces to raise money and awareness for the Starlight Foundation. To do this, the two classes held a market stall out the front of the Art Room at the Yarra Junction Campus.

In general, the VCAL Personal Development Skills classes are designed to help students develop as a person. They learn about team skills, leadership and develop self-confidence and personal responsibility. Planning and managing projects in the community are a big focus of this unit. The skills that are developed in these classes are transferable to work and or further study.

“I really enjoyed participating in the Cire Community School market stall because it gave me a sense of marketing skills.” Robert – student

The students and teachers came up with the idea for their semester project to showcase the products they had made throughout the semester. They raised money for the Starlight Foundation and for much needed art supplies for the PDS Art Group. The Starlight Foundation’s mission is ‘to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families’ making them the charity of choice for this project.

“I feel good that we raised money for the starlight foundation.” Zoe – student

For the market stall, students in the Art Group made things like candle holders, painted canvases and also ceramic mushrooms, whilst the Upcycling Group made wheat packs, cushions and soft toys. As is the ethos of their class, the Upcycling Group made their products using old, recycled materials such as clothing and other consumables.

“I was very pleased with the work I made and sold for the stall.” Jesse – student

The students worked extremely hard to make their art and craft products, working together as a productive team, with all students contributing ideas to help make the best of their market stall project. A money tin with promotional materials was displayed at Cire Services Head Office in Yarra Junction which staff and members of the public generously donated to.

There were staff members and parents from Cire Children’s Centre that dropped by and bought products and also other people from the Cire community who showed support and purchased items from the market stall.

The project raised a total of $454.75, which is a great effort so well done to all involved. The total amount of money being donated to the Starlight Foundation is $284.75. The remaining money will be invested into much needed art equipment for future art classes.

The students of the Art and Upcycling groups would like to thank everyone that took the time out of their busy day to drop in, support the students and purchase some of their products.

If you would like to learn more about Cire Community School programs and educational services click here or call 1300 835 235.

Students raise funds for Breast Cancer Network of Australia

The intermediate class of Cire Community School set up a stall recently in the Yarra Junction shopping centre selling kindling. As a class, they were raising money for the Breast Cancer Network of Australia (BCNA), whose aim is to support people who are affected by breast cancer through their services, resources and programs. The intermediate class chose this charity because amongst the school community, breast cancer has had a big, ongoing impact that has been felt by staff and students. The students wanted to be able to give something back, in appreciation for what those affected have done for the local community.

“Over the past few months, we have had a few false starts, idea changes, motivational issues and other small hiccups, but we’re proud that we could ultimately band together to successfully complete the project.” Lachlan, VCAL student

From a wider perspective, this was a good way for the class to get a feel for the preparation and planning of an event. They had to plan the process of preparing the wood; of organising permission to set up their stall, and of getting permission to use the BCNA promotional material. The students also needed to consider the occupational health and safety aspects of the process. On the day, the intermediate class were split into three groups of 3-4 students. Each group had a one hour shift to interact with the local community and to try and gather up as many kind donations and kindling sales as they could. The students were also giving away free balloons to children as they walked past – which may have annoyed their parents, but that was not intended!

“It was great to be getting to know our local community.” Lachlan, VCAL student

The intermediate class was particularly satisfied with their efforts when a couple of local women came up and told several students about their own experiences with breast cancer, thanking the students for their commitment and recognising that they were part of something important. Sarah Le Page, the teacher of the students involved, was also very proud of what the students had managed to accomplish.

“Their project had a few revisions however, their end goal remained the same. They really wanted to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Network of Australia in recognition of the network’s important role in helping those in our community who have suffered from the effects of having breast cancer; or being a member of a family affected by breast cancer.” Sarah Le Page, VCAL Intermediate Teacher, Cire Community School

“It made my day to see the community being proud of us.” Steffany, VCAL student

The class project faced difficulty where they set up, inconveniently being in front of the community noticeboard. It was clear that this was not a good position to be in, as a number of people wanted to be able to read the noticeboard. The students were careful to pack up quickly after their three hour shift, so that the community could use the noticeboard again. This however did not dampen their spirit or enthusiasm, with one of the greatest highlights being the appreciation shown by members of the public for the students’ hard work.

“We thank all those in the school and wider community who helped us to make this project happen, particularly Tony  who also assisted us in preparing the kindling. We also appreciate the support of the staff at Cire Children’s Centre, for graciously taking one of our donation tins for a week, and actively encouraging the collection of additional donations.” Intermediate class at Cire Community School, Yarra Junction campus

The class did this as a team project with minimal help from staff. On the day they raised just over $200 for BCNA. The money raised comprised kindling sales and additional donations. The intermediate class are hoping to sell more kindling in the next few days to add to their total raised. They will be depositing all funds raised into the bank account of Breast Cancer Network of Australia once the project is complete.

Projects like these are designed to prepare VCAL students for the workforce. They start up a mini business and set goals to measure their success.  The businesses are social enterprises as they have a social purpose just like this one. They either have a direct social benefit to the community or they aim to raise money for charity.  These projects are supported by an EngageMe! Grant from the Victorian Government. Running the enterprises gives the students employability skills with a particular focus on initiative, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and communication.

For further information on Cire Community School VCAL programs click here or call 1300 835 235