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Commissioner visits Balga and Girrawheen

“School helps you later in life so that you can have a good job and a good life.”

This is what one young student from Warrapiendi Primary School said about his school, a positive reminder of the impact an education can have on our youngest citizens.

Last week I took a drive to Balga and Girrawheen and met with local children and young people as well as staff from local agencies, service providers and schools.

I spent the morning visiting with Warrapiendi Primary School and its adjoining Child and Parent Centre, and also Girrawheen Senior High School, seeing for myself the varied programs offered by the schools to enhance their students learning. It was clear to see how much these students enjoyed their school.

One of their Year 6 classes told me they are working on a fantastic little recycling project, where they are turning paper into bricks, and have even engineered design solutions for during the bricks in winter. They are currently selling their bricks to the local community to fundraise for their graduation. This is a great example of enabling further engagement in school and producing programs that encourage students to learn in different ways.

I also met with staff and volunteers at the Edmund Rice Centre and Balga Detached Youth Work Project/Whitelion.

My trip to the Edmund Rice Centre in Balga was an interesting part of my trip. They have really thought outside the box to promote cultural diversity through developing better relationships between the community, youth and WA Police, facilitating a program whereby young people play soccer with police officers and have organised a visit to a mosque where young people could ask the Imam questions about the Muslim faith to gain a better understanding of the community.

Although it is always uplifting to hear children and young people speak so positively about their communities, the need for additional facilities was a common theme throughout my visit however, and was raised by several agencies.

In particular, the need for holistic services for youth and families, which focus on long term support and stability, was highlighted.

Thank you to the Balga and Girrawheen communities for your time, it was great to meet with so many enthusiastic young people and the services providers who are working harder to make their lives better.