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Variety Shine Schools Program went regional, changing the lives of 67 kids

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Variety Shine Schools Program

Images provided were taken at our January Variety SHINE Intensive Program before social distancing restrictions were in place

This year, the Variety SHINE Schools Program went regional, changing the lives of 67 kids from Beechworth Primary and Mytleford P-12 College. Thanks to the help of 11 Charles Sturt University speech pathology and occupational therapy students and their highly trained supervisors, we had a very successful six-week program.

The Variety SHINE Schools Program sees university students in their final years of study from various disciplines work alongside kids in need to provide much-needed allied-health services and intervention under the supervision of highly-trained experts in their field.

Week One is spent getting to know the children individually and working closely with educators at the school to understand each child’s unique learning challenges. The kids also have a chance to build rapport with professionals and university students through games and fun activities. The following weeks consist of further assessments, goal setting and commencement of the therapeutic intervention.

It is fair to say that the program didn’t quite go according to plan. Faced with the news of state-wide lock downs in week one, our team quickly made the transition to delivering intervention via telehealth.

Whilst this was an initial hurdle for both the children and university students involved, we saw some great outcomes over the course of the program with a number of children ready to return to the classroom with a renewed confidence and eagerness to learn.

Thanks to the power of technology, we were able to reach out to families and facilitate participation from home, use WebX to complete assessments, start intervention activities and build rapport between our university student therapists and children. The kids enjoyed having that personal connection and receiving one-on-one support during such a tough time.

For many children who participate in Variety SHINE Programs, this can be where they receive their first diagnosis for a range of learning difficulties. Identifying these issues early on has a monumental impact on the lives of our Variety SHINE kids and plays a key role in maximising their learning potential well into the future.

Children experiencing literacy difficulties such as dyslexia or Autism Spectrum Disorders are not eligible for Government funding, unless they are assessed with an intellectual disability (IQ below 70).

The Variety SHINE Program helps fill this gap and is an essential part of the  solution. In a safe, fun and stimulating environment. The program delivers a range of schooltype activities, designed to re engage children to learn.

Approximately 10% of the Australian population has a language learning disability (LLD) that is not explained by a cognitive impairment. Children with a LLD who are not appropriately supported can experience substantial and ongoing learning difficulties across all school areas.

This affects their safety, self-esteem, confidence, employment options and lifetime opportunities.

Without additional support, these children fall even further behind their peers. We thank Perpetual IMPACT Funding for the support revied through the following trusts.

They play a vital role in supporting the Variety SHINE Schools Program in regional Victoria.
We thankt The Anne Maree and Bernard Myles Quinn Memorial Trust Fund No.2, Ethel Paxton Trust Fund, Michael Frank Herman Charitable Trust, The Morris Family Trust, and Percy Baxter Charitable Trust.

The Variety SHINE Program is delivered in partnership between Variety the Children’s Charity (Victoria) and SHINE – a division of the Andrew Dean Fildes Foundation Ltd.

Throughout the 2020 year, Variety and the SHINE Foundation have delivered vital support programs to approximately 200 metropolitan Melbourne children and 67 children from regional Victoria.

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