Supporting children’s development

By Luisa Bustos, 8 December 2016 , Comments

Becoming a mum at 21 years old was overwhelming for Kelly. Discovering support through the Northcott and Tharawal Aboriginal Supported Playgroup increased her confidence, introduced her to new friends and strengthened her bond with her daughter Jameka.

“When Jameka was born, I had no male support. It was only me and my mum. We went through some hardship in the first year or so, but we’ve pulled out the other end now,” says Kelly, who suffers from depression and anxiety.

When Jameka was nine months old, Kelly joined Tharawal Aboriginal PlayLinks Supported Playgroup, a collaborative partnership between Northcott and Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation. Diagnosed with post natal depression, Kelly was admitted to hospital at risk of suicide and recovering from a drug addiction. Belonging to the playgroup helped Kelly feel supported to properly care for her daughter.

“PlayLinks connected me with other mums in the community, and built my self-confidence as a new mother. It also linked me up to other support organisations. At the playgroup, families feel they have a safe place to yarn and share stories, the good and the bad.”

Attending the weekly playgroup has also supported Jameka’s early development. “Playgroup has really been good for Jameka’s development and social skills. I don’t think she would be where she is today if I didn’t have that connection with the playgroup. For me, I’ve got more presence about myself these days. I’m not so shy. I’ve spoken out more in the community and I’ve learnt to cope with my mental illness. I’ve even gone back to work and I’m studying,” Kelly says.

“With Jameka getting ready for school next year, everything is slowly laying out the way I want it to. The playgroup has been essential for my wellbeing over the last couple of years. If I didn’t have them, I don’t know what I would do.”

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