Childhood can be stressful
Pressure on families, for all sorts of reasons, can impact on a child’s happiness, self-esteem, and wellbeing. An aunty or uncle who steps forward to give a vulnerable child their time, while also giving parents a break, can make the difference for a children living with disadvantage and hardship.
CareSouth Aunties and Uncles program aims to support disadvantaged children by linking them with carefully selected and trained volunteer carers who provide simple activities that help the child to learn about social and life skills and help to create happy childhood memories.
The success of this program lies in its simplicity.
Spending time with a child doing what you normally do on a weekend. You simply include a child in your activities, such as cooking a meal, taking the dog for a walk, helping in the garden, or simply reading together. Share what you love. It gives children new skills, raises their self-esteem and provides trust in others. It also gives their parents welcome respite.
The minimum commitment is that you spend regular time with a child. Once you get to know each other, this can be for a whole weekend once a month, or for a night or two every fortnight, with shorter visits in between. Arrangements can be flexible and are negotiated so that it works best for you and for the child. What matters most is that you see the child often enough to establish a strong relationship with each other and one that's built to last.
Benefits to children
For almost 20 years, we have seen an increase in children's self-esteem, improvements in academic performance, and renewed interest in everyday life long skills, and a sense of hope in life. Research has shown that preventative programs like Aunties & Uncles can alleviate stress in families. Connecting children with positive role models increases their chance of growing into well-adjusted adults.
"The main thing that is needed in our isolated community is a friendly helping hand by a non-threatening or non-judgmental person. Those in need benefit more from the warmth of your heart rather than analysis coming from your mind" (Rose White, Founder, Aunties & Uncles).
Could you be volunteer Aunty or Uncle?
Aunties and Uncles are adults, over 21, from all walks of life including singles, couples, and families. We require adults who have some previous experience in caring for children, possess a friendly nature and genuinely enjoy spending time with children. All our volunteers need to consent to relevant screening checks, and undertake assessment and training.
What's important is that you have a warm and understanding nature and the desire to help kids who are struggling. Being an Aunty or Uncle can be challenging but is always rewarding. Your gift of time will make a major difference in a child's life.
Contact your local Aunties & Uncles Regional Coordinator on 1300 554 260.