On Wednesday 4 December, The Helmsman Project celebrated 63 young people from schools across Western Sydney completing our program. Buzzing with excitement, the students arrived at Corrs Chambers Westgarth who kindly hosted our event which ran without a hitch thanks to their support.
Each group presented a reflection of their experience on the program with a focus on their community project. It was inspiring to see all the students, parents, supporters, volunteers and staff in the room to witness the students' passion, inspiration and genuine compassion behind their community projects. From multilingual websites and aged care visits to art murals and care packages, the community projects represented a wide range of local issues and innovative solutions.
A common theme across all groups is the gratitude they had for the professional coaches who supported them throughout their 8-week journey. Leon Naufahu, Matt Robinson, Charmaine O’Brien, Sam McQueen and Janine Sagner all received special mentions and thanks from the students who were lucky enough to learn how to overcome challenges, gain confidence, work collaboratively and other essential life skills from their coaches.
One group listed the skills they have all learnt from the program as:
The Helmsman Project graduation is a highly anticipated event. It gives everyone an opportunity to hear directly from the students the impact the program has had on them. Many principals, teachers and coaches comment on how impressed they are with the groups presenting to a room full of people, and how before they had completed The Helmsman Project those same students would not be likely to do so.
A final congratulations to all of our Helmsman Project graduates for 2019. As CEO Kim Larochelle said in her speech on the day "You went through each challenge with confidence, determination, resilience. You can be very proud of yourselves."
Special thank you to all the volunteers, parents and supporters who attended, to our pro bono photographer, to the teachers and principals supporting the program and arranging the students to attend the event, and to our funders for supporting our organisation and allowing us to impact the lives of young people.