Tag: Community

Real Needs Community Grants

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Real Insurance and Real Needs Community Grants

The Quirky Kid clinic and our Principal Child Psychologists Kimberley O’Brien are proud to partner with Real Insurance and the Real Needs program as the Judges for grants of  totalling 1 Million for non-for-profit projects. 

Kimberley O’Brien said, “Early support for children, whether physical or mental, is crucial for their development as they mature and become a more active part of our society. The effects of neglecting the needs of our youth, if not addressed, will have a profound effect on Australia’s social and economic well-being through the current century.

“There should never be barriers to children receiving the essential services that many of these charities provide. It’s great to see a company like Real Insurance connecting with the community in this way and making a real difference to the lives of Australian children in need.”

The Real Needs Program launches in April 2015, with grants of differing values of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 available. These grants will be awarded to Not-For-Profit organisations who demonstrate innovative approaches for how the funding will be used to support youth programs. Real Insurance staff will also have the opportunity to vote for their preferred charity to receive a monthly $5,000 ‘Staff Choice’ grant.

The program comes as a result from a New research, commissioned by Real Insurance, that reveals that Aussies mistakenly consider themselves to be among the best globally at caring for the community. Over half of the country (57%) believes that Australia is well above average when it comes to looking after disadvantaged people in the community, however, over three quarters (77%) underestimate the number of children in need requiring welfare in Australia, according to Galaxy research commissioned by Real Insurance.

The findings reveal the most concerning societal issues affecting children that trouble the community. These range from concerns about homelessness amongst children (48%) and children affected by domestic violence (76%), to excessive use of mobile phones and the internet by children (51%).

The research also showed that over three quarters (76%) of Australians believe there should be more support for children in key areas such as providing increased educational support (77%), counselling (56%), health care (54%) and food services (45%).

In the interest of giving back to the community, Real Insurance is today launching its new grants program, Real Needs, to help support children in need across Australia. With $1 million being put towards this initiative, Real Needs is encouraging Not-For-Profit organisations working with children in need to apply for charitable funding which will enable them to address the growing issues faced by Australia’s youth.

To be eligible for a Real Needs 2015 grant, Not-for-Profit organisations must support children up to the age of 18 years and be a registered charity, community group or service, sporting club or hospital community program.


To find out more or apply for a grant from Real Needs, please visit http://realneeds.realinsurance.com.au or contact contact@realneeds.com.au.

About Real Needs

Real Needs is a community grants program launched by Real Insurance. It encourages Not-For-Profit organisations working with children to apply for charitable funding, which will enable them to further aid youth in need. Real Needs aims to make a positive difference by providing charities with grants that assist them to manage programs that help children in need across Australia.

About Real Insurance

Real Insurance entered the Australian market in 2005 with a goal to protect the quality of people’s lives and to make insurance simple and easy to understand. We’ve held to this promise with a range of real, value-for-money insurance products, including life, home, car, pet, funeral and income insurance, as well as staff that provide real, high quality service for our customers. In addition to our quality products, we now believe our real point of difference is our commitment to Australian families and our pledge to protect their wellbeing, as well as the assets and financial security they have worked hard to create.

About Quirky Kid

The Quirky Kid Clinic is Australia’s leading Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology Clinic based in Sydney and Wollongong (Austinmer). Our experienced team of educational and developmental psychologists, social developers and youth mentors are motivated and inspired by our daily interactions with children, adolescents and families.


Family, Society and School: Where do we want to go?

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Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

“Family, Society and School: Where do we want to go?” is the theme of the May 2012 Education conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, attracting 15,000 educators from around the world and as the only Australian speaker, I am nervous! Apparently, I will be fielding questions from the audience pertaining to the cooperative relationship between schools and families, otherwise known as Family-School relations.

Family-School relations differ between schools and between families. Some families are very involved, others are not. Some schools throw their doors open to parent volunteers, others do not. The question of, “where do we want to go?” encourages us to develop an ideal scenario for our children, incorporating the positive input of families, schools and greater society.

The Best Case Scenario

In my opinion, the best case scenario for primary school students is to see their parents regularly interacting with teachers, other parents and students in the school grounds. Similarly, I like the concept of parent volunteers in the classroom for reading support, weekend working bees in the school vegetable garden to generate a sense of belonging at school, as well as open communication between educators and parents on any given day. Younger siblings who feel welcome in playgrounds with parental supervision are more likely to experience an easy transition from home to school upon commencing Kindergarten.

The Reality

In reality, our child psychology clinic commonly receives referrals from frustrated parents seeking support when their children are refusing to attend school, or when both parent and child would like to change schools after months or years of family-school conflict. Other parents report strict school policies limiting parent-teacher contact to avoid a bottle-neck of parental traffic in classrooms before and after school. We also work with the parents of children with diagnosed Learning Disabilities or an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These families most regularly request classroom or playground observations. Some mothers sing the praises of schools, doing everything possible to increase classroom support for their child and others reports teachers have suggested they seek out another school option to gain more appropriate support.

Inside a Brazilian School

The Quirky Kid Clinic started researching school culture in 2006 as part of the School Days Project. The video below offers insight into what a school in Brazil looks like, through the eye of 10 year old, Riana, a student from Curitiba in Southern Brazil.


When parents disengage

A global perspective on Family-School relations suggest many schools are struggling to receive any support from parents. In Northern Brazil, for example, teachers often report minimal involvement from parents despite their attempts to make contact, particularly when there are large sibling groups attending the local school. In some cases, parents are working long hours to support their large families while others with limited educational opportunities in their own childhood, may lack confidence and avoid engaging with teachers.

There are many reasons parents disengage with teachers and this phenomenon is common across all socioeconomic groups. How many time-poor parents in Australia put school activities on the bottom of their agenda? And how many others find the active parent community overzealous and off-putting? Most importantly, how can we reach all parents and teachers in a meaningful way to ensure a common connection in the interest of the student community?

When I ask the young clients I work with about their family’s involvement with the school, they commonly report their parent’s opinion of the school, stating, “Mum wants me to change schools because my teacher won’t tell us anything”. In my experience, when parents have a negative opinion of the school, the teacher or the homework policy; students typically follows suit, with an identically negative opinion. Mental note, never put a teacher down in the presence of a child! Parental opinions count, at least in the eyes of your school-aged children.

Research findings

Educational psychology research emphasizes the importance of consistency between home and school to increase a child’s sense of stability in both settings. A student’s connection to school is increased with parental involvement in activities such as reading support or canteen duty. Students with a sense of stability and connection to school are less inclined to ‘drop-out’ of school or struggle with academic motivation. Parental motivation to become involved in school activities is similarly relevant in this story, as a means of modeling a positive life skill to young people.

Generating change in Family-School relations

School events, such as a disco, fete or sports carnival often generate support from parents when resources are limited. Importantly, parents have the capacity to positively influence the school-family relationship. An active parent community will generate ideas for fundraising or similar and delegate jobs between themselves. Schools soon learn the value of this input. Alternatively, schools wishing to generate more parental involvement would do well to promote the benefits by acknowledging families for their participation while providing diverse opportunities to appeal to a broad range of skills, from gardeners to craft assistants. Parents who volunteer to assist with sports or weeding at school, typically report the benefits of physical activity as well as fostering the parent-child relationship. Being present at school is also an opportunity for parents to observe their child’s friendships; to gain insight into teaching techniques and to gain confidence within the school community.  Making a start on Family-School relations requires both parents and teachers to find traction and build momentum before the results become clear.


So, family, society and school: where do we want to go? My aim is to be part of a supportive, functional and resourceful community where educational aspirations are achieved and dreams are encouraged. Every school could be a microcosm of the same ‘warmth and generosity’, demonstrated by the most committed and kind-hearted teachers and school volunteers. The ones who dig deep within themselves to present all children with a world of opportunities and unwavering stability. But let’s not forget to mention the potential of time-poor working parents, who would love nothing more than to volunteer and see more of their school-aged children! By making the family-school relationship a priority in our society, children not only have the pleasure of recognizing a familiar family face in the school crowd; we also begin to work towards a common goal.


Refugees in India


Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Refugee Research in India - Centre for Refugee Research

As one of our Social Development projects and commitment to both local and international communities, Leonardo Rocker represented the Quirky Kid Clinic for a 15 day community development project in New Delhi, India. This involved working with Burmese, Somali and Afghan refugees living in exile. The project was organized by the Centre for Refugee Research at the UNSW and the UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency.

More than 120 women and girls as well as 70 men attended the four-day gathering and while grateful for the asylum they receive in India, the refugees said they faced many challenges. “Our children can go to school but I fear for their safety as the local children tease them, laugh at them, make fun of their skin colour and clothes and sometimes even beat or harass them,” claimed a Somali mother, who fled her country five years ago (UNHCR, 2010).

See some photos of our trip to India:

Our dual role was to participate in the Consultation with Woman and Girls project as part of regional dialogues involving meetings with community leaders, documenting and researching human rights violations. Secondly, we worked closely with the Burmese refugee community by facilitating workshops to encourage regional solutions to local livelihood issues in view of developing funding proposals. Our intensive work served to support the refugee’s  Community Based Organizations (CBO’s).

We were privileged to be part of such a great project, meet amazing people and in helping to fund-raising over $7000 for their projects.

You can find more about the dialogues by visiting the UNHCR website.

Leonardo Rocker participated in this project as an Intern for the Centre for Refugee Research at the UNSW in Sydney. The Quirky Kid Clinic provides supervision for other refugee organizations, such as the Malaleuca Refugee Centre and we currently consults to STARTTS.}


Sudanese Community

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Workshop on Leadership and Governance - Sudanese Community

Group Activity

Last night, I was honored to facilitate a workshop on leadership and governance for 12 incredible members of the Sudanese community in Mount Druit, on behalf of the Quirky Kid Clinic and STARTTS.

The Quirky Kid Clinic has been selected as a consultant organization for the Communities in Cultural Transition Project (CiCTP) which is  been operated by STARTTS. STARTTS is the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors .The CiCTP project aims to assist non-funded associations and groups from newly arrived small and emerging refugee communities to develop governance and leadership capacity.

My role with the Sudanese community will hopefully be continuous. They are an incredibly inspiring community with already great projects in existence including settlement assistance, relocation and new child support, language skills for they children and social activities for the community.

They goal now is to establish an incorporation, apply for funding, create a community shopping initiative and extend these projects to reach more people and consolidate this already vibrant, genuine and active community.

The Quirky Kid Clinic is committed to the local and international community by engaging in several community

development projects. Our community development projects are founded in a Human Rights framework,  a Social Justice philosophy and a Community Development approach. Visit our community pages for more information or navigate on our Tag’s for current information about our projects.


Interpreter Assistance

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has announced that it will now pay the cost of interpreting services provided by the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) that may be required by clients funded by the Helping Children with Autism package. Access to interpreting services is critical for ensuring appropriate Early Intervention is given to clients of FaHCSIA funded services who speak little or no English.

The Quirky Kid team has extensive experience in working with multicultural communities. Visit our community pages for more information

Please contact us if you require early intervention with an interpreter assistance.