Man­i­festo suc­cess

Benalla Ensign - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Benalla P-12 Col­lege stu­dents were among more than 100 12-year-olds from across Vic­to­ria who de­liv­ered their ‘‘Kids Man­i­festo’’ at an in­au­gu­ral event that recog­nises and supports child-led ad­vo­cacy and so­cial change.

Young­sters col­lab­o­rate with 10 creative fa­cil­i­ta­tors to ex­plain what change they want to see across crit­i­cal so­cial sec­tors that in­clude dis­abil­ity, en­vi­ron­ment, gen­der, el­derly, kids, an­i­mals and cul­tural di­ver­sity.

The Kids Man­i­festo was de­liv­ered to an au­di­ence of com­mu­nity lead­ers, change­mak­ers, fam­ily and friends who were chal­lenged and in­spired to work with par­tic­i­pants to make their vi­sion a re­al­ity.

High­light­ing Ar­ti­cle 12 of the United Na­tions Con­ven­tions on the Rights of the Child, which states that chil­dren have a right to be heard and their views and opin­ions re­spected — as part of Chil­dren’s Week — this event aims to put for­ward the views and opin­ions of chil­dren from across Vic­to­ria.

Kids Thrive co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­drea Lemon said par­tic­i­pants had spent the past six months be­com­ing lo­cal change-mak­ers through the Kids Thrive pro­gram, ‘‘Kids as Cat­a­lyst’’.

‘‘Work­ing within their com­mu­ni­ties with or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, stu­dents have taken ac­tion and driven change on is­sues rang­ing from the rights of an­i­mals to the re­spect of el­ders,’’ Dr Lemon said.

‘‘The 100 chil­dren com­ing to Kids Man­i­festo rep­re­sent a fan­tas­tic range of styles and abil­i­ties, which is why we have de­signed an event us­ing mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion dis­ci­plines, such as vis­ual arts, writ­ten word, mu­sic and per­for­mance, so as not to pref­er­ence those only flu- ent in text and pub­lic speak­ing.

‘‘The man­i­festo is the next step up from the chil­dren’s lo­cal ac­tivism. It’s a child­cen­tred gath­er­ing speak­ing di­rectly to our com­mu­nity lead­ers and pro­ject­ing their vi­sions for a bet­ter world, from their own gar­nered ex­per­tise.

‘‘Our eval­u­a­tions show that kids have a re­mark­able sphere of in­flu­ence that goes well be­yond their home and school.

‘‘It’s this in­flu­ence and agency that can be har­nessed in the big de­cis- lo­cally ions that af­fect us all. It is pos­si­ble to live in com­mu­ni­ties that in­clude chil­dren in the decisions that af­fect them and their com­mu­ni­ties’ fu­ture.

‘‘Kids Man­i­festo will re­mind us that chil­dren are es­sen­tial com­mu­nity con­trib­u­tors.’’

Proud: Cody from Benalla P-12 col­lege, pic­tured with State Mem­ber for Caulfield and Shadow In­no­va­tion Min­is­ter David South­wick at the re­cent ‘‘Kids Man­i­festo’’ event.

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