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Remember, Remember… A Location Update

Those of you who’ve been following the events around KLU in the past few months will have noticed that there’s been a change in the air, with us looking for a new home.

Our quest is continuing well, with some promising opportunities on the horizon that we look forward to sharing with you as we reach them.

For now, this post is a notice to let you know that we are not flying from our 21 Bay Road location just yet – we will be remaining here until November 2016.

This means that until this time, everything will be continuing as normal at KLU, with us making full use of our current site.

As new developments arrive, we’ll keep you in the know!

 

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An Audience with Anne – with Special Guests

Over the past 25+ years, Anne Jackson has had the opportunity to work and learn alongside some wonderful, amazing, troubled young people.

In recognition of what some have gone on to achieve, to reassure the current VCE students and all others and to allow you to look at real 2e people, Anne has organised this session with eight of her students aged from late-teens to mid-twenties. These students are highly varied, and are either studying or working in fields as varied as aviation and finance.

Each student will present a 5-minute talk with or without pictures of:

  • what it was like for them at school,
  • what strategies were put in (or not put in) place to help them at school,
  • their journey to where they are now, and
  • where they see themselves in 5 years’ time.

There will then be time for questions from the floor to the panel, with nibble and mingle time afterwards to allow individuals to ask specific questions to individual speakers.

This is a fantastic opportunity which has been very well received previously. Don’t miss out on your chance to hear from people who have managed to overcome adversities in the school system.

Event details:

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World Wide Wonder – Our New Website!

As many of you will have noticed, we have a new website!

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to create a website that captures who we are at Kids Like Us – professional, but easy-going; informative, but not overloading; and as always, easy for our kids to access.

We’re really proud of our new site, and have been receiving glowing praise from many of you who’ve been looking through it.

We’re also still developing it, introducing new ideas that can help you to access what you need, as well as to improve the overall website experience. Because of this, we may find the odd hiccup as we go along. We’re usually pretty quick to catch these and to fix them before you can say ‘What’s that?’, but we can’t see everything at once!

If you see anything on our site that looks odd, doesn’t seem to work or otherwise makes you go ‘Hmmm…’, please feel free to let Alex know at alexa@kidslikeus.org.au.

Thanks, and enjoy our new website!

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A Helping Hand – The Kids Like Us Bursary Fund

As Kids Like Us continues its support of twice-exceptional young people, we work with children and families from all backgrounds.

Many of these children come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and need financial support to access services that they require. Without the help that we can offer these children can find themselves isolated in their school environment, held back from achieving their full potential. Twice-exceptional young people who lack the support to embrace their twice-exceptionality and to develop the skills and strategies are often left anxious, depressed, and at a distance from those their age.

Reaching out and lending a helping hand to these children is a priority for us, and that’s why we established the Kids Like Us Bursary Fund. This is a dedicated bursary fund that manages and distributes funds to young people who need financial support to help them access their learning. The fund is governed by a separate Board, and follows an application process – the first steps of which can be found on our Bursary Fund page. Accounts are prepared by Pitcher Partners.

Through our bursary fund, we look to fund the equivalent of 20% of the value of our services to students experiencing financial hardship.

Over the course of 2015, your donations funded over $10’000 of support to the young people of our area, and we look set to be able to offer the same and more in 2016.

Donations to our bursary fund contribute where they’re most needed, ensuring that these twice-exceptional young people are able to achieve their highest goals in school and later life. All contributions are gratefully received.

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Location, Location: Moving to a new home!

As many of you know, the building we currently occupy is due for redevelopment.

We will be vacating our premises at 21 Bay Road at the end of Term 3; however we are working hard to find new premises before then as we have outgrown the building!

Thank you to everyone who is looking for properties for us to lease or buy – please keep sending them through!  We need 250m2+, 6 parking spaces and some kind of outdoor yard.

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To 2016 – and beyond!

With 2016 having got into full swing, it’s a good time to look back at what we’ve accomplished – and what we’re going to achieve this year and onwards.

Over the last three years Kids Like Us has grown from supporting 15 students in a civic centre to supporting over 375 students in 4 different states and territories!

Through all this time and everywhere we’ve gone, we work with students, their families and their schools to provide a learning environment that ensures the best emotional and academic outcomes.  We have developed strong relationships with local, national and international organisations, as well as the Department of Education in Victoria and NT, to create positive change for our twice-exceptional young people, and are incredibly proud of all of our achievements.

When we started out, we had just two volunteers, and now? Now, we have seven paid staff, and thirty-five volunteers! We’re incredibly grateful to all our staff and volunteers who work to help twice-exceptional young people around Australia and beyond, and we look forward to the amazing work we’ll be doing with them in the new year.

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KLU Counselling sessions

Kids Like Us offers counselling sessions to both students and parents on a regular basis.

For student counselling, Anne is available at our base in Sandringham between 12:30-6pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, as well as alternate Sundays.

Kim offers parent counselling sessions for us, and is available for sessions on Sundays. She works to support parents as they face the challenges of parenting a 2e child or as they discover their own journey.

To find out more about counselling or to book an appointment, please get in touch!

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Well-being groups for girls and boys

Following the successful ‘Tree of Life’ group last year, Kids Like Us will be offering two similar groups for grades 6/7/8 in first term of 2016. The girls group is on Thursdays 4-5.30pm and the boys group is on Fridays 4-5.30pm.

The focus of each group is upon increasing each participant’s skills to manage their own life positively. This is done through an experiential structure that includes a mix of discussion, companionship and creative work.

Being at the top of primary school and then moving into high school is a time tinged with emotions, challenges and pleasure. Having a safe environment where such things can be openly considered and dealt with, under the guidance of a supportive adult, is acknowledged to increase resilience, self-esteem and ultimately the acceptance of the responsibilities associated with growing up.

Your student is being invited to join with other Kids Like Us. He/she will be offered the opportunity to interact with an experienced therapist who relishes what they do, and with peers who could become long-term allies and friends.

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Support and Assist: KLU and our academic support

Academic support is a big part of who we are and what we do, working to provide academic extension with specific learning support. When we work with these students, we carefully place them with peers in small learning groups to cater for their specific needs.

There is a range of ways that we do this, including…

  • Literacy and learning support – Lisa, Caroline and Sarah provide specific learning support for primary age students at KLU, either through individual tutoring, small groups or One Day School. The days available vary according to the staff member – with Lisa on Tuesdays, Caroline Thursdays and Sarah Tuesday to Friday inclusive.
  • VCE English, English Lang & Lit – We are in the process of employing a VCE English teacher to work with our senior students. He will be available to tutor after school and on weekends across the range of English and History subjects.  Please let us know if you would like to know more about these sessions.
  • Numeracy support – Lucy provides specific numeracy and maths support to our primary and lower secondary students, either through individual tutoring on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, or One Day School.
  • VCE Maths – Alan provides VCE Maths, Maths methods, specialist Maths, Chemistry and Physics tutoring to senior students. In 2016, Alan will be offering VCE Maths Intensives units 1&2 and 3&4 on alternate weekends for small groups of enthusiastic math students.

Advocacy – At KLU, our aim is that by Year 8 students should be confident to advocate for themselves in the classroom and life. However, this requires training and support. If you would like some support when working with your child’s school to help the teacher to understand, differentiate or accommodate your child, please let us know.

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Peer activities and fun!

At KLU, we offer a range of activities and clubs for 2e young people that allow them to explore new skills, develop their creativity and to interact with ‘Kids Like Us’.

Currently running is our Raspberry Pi Club, in which children use the class-set of the latest Raspberry Pi 2 educational computers to learn to code in Scratch; a computer language designed at MIT for children. The course loosely follows the resource packs provided by “codeclubworld.org” which, over a one-year period, begins with Scratch then advances to web/HTML, then Python. However there is a high teacher to student ratio, so we pace the course and nature of the learning to suit each child’s needs.www.kidslikeus.org.au/index.php/services/activities-for-kids.

In Term 1 2016 we have also started the long-awaited Kids Like Bricks Lego Club. This is the idea of one of our junior KLU entrepreneurs who has sourced grant funding, purchased the Lego, organised the volunteers and is running the club… all at the age of 12.

Every Wednesday during term time (4:00 – 5:30 pm), we also run our KLUB study group, where male students from Year 9 and 10 meet to discuss and help one another with their homework, study and how to make better use of available technologies to work more effectively and efficiently.  All this is done with the support of Dr. Cheryl Dodds, a literacy and assistive technology coach.

We’re also proud to be launching our outreach program in 2016, where KLU will be working in Geelong and Launceston with families and teachers to provide a full program of parent support, student extension, support and advocacy – plus professional development for teachers.  This is made possible through grant funding from Sidney Myers Foundation, Geelong City Council and Westpac and with support from Monash University.