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Hello everyone,

This was our final week, our final group time with the crew and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support throughout this term. This type of program does not happen without everyone's involvement and we truly are very grateful for the support of not only us but our students during the term. So for a final time here is the blog of the week.

On Wednesday the 14th of June we collected the crew like usual and made our way to Collingwood Alternative School. This day was an important one, as it was our long awaited and worked towards community bike donation. We gained the help of the local bike shop and mechanics at My Ride, who donated their time to help us in understanding how to build and properly check bikes before the donation. Jack, a My Ride employee, was great with our crew, keeping them engaged and consistently a part of the whole building process. We also gained the opportunity to accept these bikes from Bendigo Bank who donated $1000 this term to support this community project. Bendigo Bank and My Ride were also the main support in our term 1 bike donation this year, allowing us to get better and more efficient bikes for our local english language school students. Without the help of these two groups we would not have been able to donate bikes of this quality or gain further biking knowledge from a trained professional and we are truly grateful for their involvement with our program. After we had created the bikes with Jack from My Ride we thanked him for his involvement and headed over to the local basketball courts to play a few games and hold lunch. When done we began discussing our bike safety talks. Each student was incharge of separate things about the bikes and what safety checks to do before riding. Soon enough we saw this in action as we grabbed our bikes, helmets and other equipment and travelled to the Collingwood English Language School. The students were a little anxious, however, showed great communication, perseverance and kindness as they faced this challenge head on and were highly considerate of each young person. It was a truly great day with the crew and they all did exceptionally well.

On Thursday the 15th we joined our group and moved down to the Yarra Youth Centre, a space we have frequented all term. After some initial check in’s and a reminder of our day ahead, we began with a reflection activity. We looked at our best and most silliest moments during the term and what we think we have developed through the term as individuals. Everyone was extremely responsive to this, even getting some ideas for the speeches we would soon present for graduation. After a small snack and play break we delved head first into the speeches. Everyone was diligently involved in their own pieces, occasionally asking for clarification but truly giving it their all at their speeches. After this, we headed off to our final boxing session with our coach Sal. With everyone wanting to do a variety of activities, Sal took our avid boxers and Alex took the few remaining through some stretches and a circuit of their creation. The groups were laughing but really giving everything a try, before we exhausted ourselves and began our final words. In preparation for the speeches tomorrow Sal led a silly activity to get our attention from our thoughts to the moment, by directing a silly walking game. This allowed students to try walking in a line in an absolutely silly way and giving us all a good laugh along the way. It was truly a great moment of stress release as the crew soon enough said their final goodbyes to Sal.

On Friday the 16th we held our graduation, where all students, referring teachers, family members and community members were welcome to join us. Staff prepared the space as well as refreshments before welcoming the students in at 10:45. Having a pep talk and handing over their own personal hoodies we prepared ourselves for the final event of the program. Having a welcome in from Phil Wheatley from Operation Newstart Victoria, our base organisation, the students came and sat beside the crowd. With a few welcomes we then began our student speeches. Everyone took their own activities and character strengths from the program, talking about their experiences with photo prompts. All of the speeches were thought out and were great self reflections from the program, and we were truly happy to hear what each individual would have to say about their experiences. After the speeches we listened to our song we created in the hip hop session before watching our term movie. There were plenty of laughs and gasps during the film, the students were both embarrassed and proud of what they achieved. Once done we had our awards ceremony, for each student and community groups who took part in making this term possible. After this we thanked everyone, having a talk from staff and a final send off to enjoy the refreshments.

This term was a whirlwind and was truly a time to remember. Everyone did exceptionally these past 7 weeks in trying new and adventurous things, never giving up and keeping positive through our time together. We will miss you but know all of you will be doing great things in the future to come. Goodbye and good luck term 2 2023!


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