St Vincent de Paul funding Sparky and Shady program

Breaking the Barriers southern coordinator Sarah Mason (left) with Sparky and Shady creator Kathy Sheehan and program participants.
Breaking the Barriers southern coordinator Sarah Mason (left) with Sparky and Shady creator Kathy Sheehan and program participants.

A nationally acclaimed behavioural program ‘Sparky and Shady’ aimed at helping 9-12 year-old children facing major challenges in their lives is being funded by St Vincent de Paul Society .

The program was developed by former school principal, Coffs Harbour-based Kathy Sheehan and helps kids struggling at school to understand the positive, or ‘sparky’ side, of their nature as well as the scared, or ‘shady’ aspects.

“Sparky and Shady is the only program of its kind that teaches children who they are, how to cope with problems and how to believe in themselves so they can live loving, happy and fulfilling lives,” Sarah Mason, southern coordinator of Vinnies Breaking the Barriers initiative, said.

“These kids may have been suspended from class or expelled from school, and are a handful even for loving parents. Teachers can be at a loss to find workable strategies and are concerned how disruptive behaviour impacts on the learning of other students.”

Now Vinnies has teamed with the Nambucca Heads branch of Interrelate to enrol families in the nine-session program assisting children to better understand themselves and their past and future challenges. Wherever possible the final session involves parents or carers.

Interrelate’s Child, Youth and Family Worker, Rebecca Smith, said  Kathy had developed an innovative program for helping kids to cope with a range of problems and challenges.

“This enhances their self-awareness and helps them with self-management, a vital life skill,” Rebecca said.

“Sparky and Shady is an example of an early intervention that can deliver good outcomes. It is a great investment in young lives, benefiting them, their families and the community at large.”

Vinnies support for Sparky and Shady is made possible through sales in local North Coast op shops.

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