Giving is better than receiving

24 January 2018

The generosity was overflowing for a number of school students in the Central Coast region of NSW late last year as they donated over 330 gifts to LWB’s kids in out of home care (OOHC) in the Central Coast and Hunter regions.

Each of the LWB children in care were provided personalised gifts after they were asked to write down a ‘want’ and a ‘need’ in the lead up to Christmas. These ‘wish lists’ were divided up and given to Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Berkeley Vale Campus and Tumbi Umbi High School. The students at both schools really stepped up to the plate to make these wish lists come true.

A teacher at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College commented, “Some of the items that the young people had asked for were so simple that they brought tears to the eyes of the students. The excitement to get involved was contagious… and the generosity was overwhelming.”

When the schools received the wish lists each student involved signed their name next to a wish from a child. In under 10 minutes there were already 103 ‘wishes’ that had been allocated. Many of the students even opted to take on additional gifts. LWB Manager of Foster Carer Recruitment, Deanne Carroll commented, “This is such a unique opportunity for students to learn about foster care and the needs of kids around their age, in their community, whose stories are sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. We are so grateful for their generosity and passionate support for this program.”

Once the gifts had been purchased and wrapped, they were collected by LWB and distributed to each corresponding child at the OOHC Christmas parties held in late December. Both parties were a hit with all involved and the excitement and joy on the faces of the children and young people receiving the gifts said it all. One of the Christmas parties was held at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast. This party was only made possible by the generous donation from Freemasons Central Coast Lodge 2001. Thanks to their kindness the kids, foster carers and parents (where possible) got to enjoy a free day out at the park, with presents and a very special visit from Santa.

“The day went to plan really well with 58 adults and 72 children attending the party and spending the day learning about reptiles, reconnecting with previous carers and friends, enjoying a BBQ, having a lovely photo taken and spending time with Santa getting the presents that were so thoughtfully donated by the school students,” said Troy White LWB Operations Manager for Central Coast OOHC.

“We saw many happy children and carers throughout the day, staff mingled, chatted and spent valuable time with the children. We also had some of our children’s families attending which was great to see. It is the second year in a row we have had carers, families and the children and young people all come together at Christmas to spend time together proving it can be done.”

The program is continuing to grow with schools from Gosford up to Coffs Harbour along the NSW coast asking to get involved after hearing about the positive impact it has had on the students that have participated.

For more information as to how your school (at any location around Australia) can be involved in providing gifts for children local to your area in out of home care at Christmas time at the end of the year, please contact carers@lwb.org.au