Cycle-Breakers with SunnyKids

Image source: Contributed

Georgia Beard discovers how SunnyKids empowers communities to raise the safety net for victims of domestic violence, setting them on a path beyond the cycle of abuse.

SunnyKids is a cycle-breaker.

When economic instability and housing shortages threaten to force victims back into domestic violence, SunnyKids’s support systems knock out the hurdles to provide immediate rescue.

Emergency accommodation, food and financial relief, counselling, healthcare services – this is the complex safety net catching children and families as they escape violent situations. To hold this net out, it takes the hands of an entire community.

As much as health, education and child protection agencies spearhead early inventions, this community is founded on the efforts of passionate volunteers and donors.

According to the 2021/22 SunnyKids Annual Report, the organisation provided 7326 nights of accommodation in the last two years, delivering support for a total of 2042 victims at an increase of 22%.

This continual growth is an incredible achievement but also comes with the harsh reality that the demand for SunnyKids support is growing with up to 5,000 vulnerable and at-risk children every year. The work is far from over.

Launched at the SunnyKids Mayoral Ball in 2022, Save a Life Tonight is an initiative that fast-tracks the organisation’s response to offer immediate access to a night’s accommodation and essential needs for those escaping dangerous situations.

“Across all programs, we are dealing with some of the worst examples of human behaviour and trauma that is unmatched in most areas of our society,” said SunnyKids CEO Kathleen Hope.

“The Save a Life Tonight campaign is designed to break the cycle of harm and violence at one of the earliest possible moments,” she said. “The first step is recognising that what they are experiencing is not okay; then sending a clear message to children that they have a safe and protective parent who will take action to prevent harm; and finally, providing an opportunity for targeted support to improve the relationship dynamics and rewrite the script for their family.”

As a result of funds raised at last year’s Mayoral Ball, SunnyKids was able to provide lifesaving accommodation to 166 individuals within families through the S.A.L.T. program.

In general, these funds supported a total of 2500 individuals – 1500 of which were children – with 8000 nights of accommodation in the last 12 months.

Encouraged by this potential for positive change, the SunnyKids Mayoral Ball will return to Venue 114 on Saturday 28 October, aiming to save a further 200 lives through S.A.L.T.

Supported by Mayor Mark Jamieson and Mayoress Lorrell Jamieson, the charity ball aims to provide the opportunity for community to come together and step up  to be part of the solution.

Kathleen said while they were dealing with very serious and critical issues, the Mayoral Ball was designed to be a celebration of the work that has been done and to put the ‘fun’ in fundraising with a three-course meal from local award-winning chefs, premium beverages and a sensational band.

Our very own John Caruso and Carlie Wacker will once again host the event as MCs, facilitating an in-session discussion with key stakeholders from the SunnyKids Village.

From the importance of early intervention to work in schools and sports programs to youth crime, speakers will visit the myriad of ways they break the cycle for future generations.

An outstanding line-up of auction items will also be on offer, including a local artist showcasing their talent, opportunities to rub shoulders with sporting icons, award-winning vineyard experiences and much more.

Alongside these fundraising efforts, a $300 tax-deductible donation to Save a Life Tonight results in an instant village of support including a night’s hotel accommodation, food and hygiene products and safety planning with a DV expert.

From there, victims can find their feet and look to a positive future with the SunnyKids Virtual Village.

This practice model identifies the best support for families within five key areas – cultural connectedness, health and wellbeing, success in education, safe and nurturing relationships, and economic stability.

Kathleen said these were the foundational stones for a safe and connective community where every life can reach its full potential.

“Domestic and family violence is one of the most critical factors our society is facing right now, and we cannot continue to delegate responsibility to our government or services to fix the issue,” Kathleen said. “We all play a part, and we are all responsible for the outcome. The SunnyKids Mayoral Ball allows us to inform and educate, creating messengers to work alongside us to end violence for all children in our community.

“Sharing this night with likeminded people who share our values demonstrates to us that they are passionate about seeing this change in our community. Through their collective generosity, we will break the cycle.”


SUNNYKIDS MAYORAL BALL 2023

When: Saturday 28 October, 6pm – 11pm

Where: Venue 114, 114 Sportsman Parade, Bokarina

Dress Code: Black Tie / Ball Gown

Cost: $3000 for table of 10 x people.

For table enquiries, contact Sue Gilbert at [email protected]

Visit www.sunnykids.org.au/event/2023-mayoral-ball/ for more.

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