Coat gives hope back to kids

Guardian Express - - NEWS - Belinda Cipri­ano

BE­TWEEN run­ning two foun­da­tions and men­tor­ing chil­dren, mother-of-two Di Wil­cox makes a dif­fer­ence wher­ever she goes.

The founder of The Magic Coat pro­gram and “chief in­spi­ra­tional of­fi­cer” for Make A Dif­fer­ence WA helps chil­dren and oth­ers over­come ad­ver­sity.

West Perth-based Ms Wil­cox, a teacher of more than 20 years, said she came up with The Magic Coat pro­gram af­ter see­ing chil­dren de­velop men­tal health prob­lems, in­clud­ing anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion from an early age.

“I be­lieve if we teach the chil­dren the strate­gies taught in The Magic Coat from a young age, we will lessen do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, vi­o­lence in gen­eral, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and all the neg­a­tive choices that come with these neg­a­tive thoughts,” she said.

Ms Wil­cox fa­cil­i­tates the pro­gram in schools us­ing pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy strate­gies, tech­niques she said had worked across the board, in­clud­ing in one of WA’s tough­est high schools.

“Chil­dren who have been bul­lied, chil­dren who feel that they don’t be­long, chil­dren who hate them­selves, chil­dren who think they are stupid, chil­dren who are ne­glected, chil­dren who have been abused and chil­dren who have wit­nessed things no child should see have all ex­pe­ri­enced the sense of hope, love and em­pow­er­ment that the ‘coat’ brings,” she said.

Three years ago Wil­cox be­came in­volved with Make A Dif­fer­ence WA af­ter the foun­da­tion lent its sup­port to the pro­gram.

Make A Dif­fer­ence WA will hold a Coaches and Cap­tains Break­fast at the Hy­att on De­cem­ber 13, where money raised will go to­wards help­ing dis­ad­van­taged women in refuges and pris­ons in­volved in the foun­da­tion’s pro­grams.

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