Coat of arms for kids’ es­teem

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Profile - Belinda Cipri­ano

BE­TWEEN run­ning two foun­da­tions and men­tor­ing chil­dren, mum-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 peo­ple over­come ad­ver­sity.

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.

“Chil­dren need some sim­ple and ef­fec­tive strate­gies to help them to be calm, con­fi­dent and car­ing in­di­vid­u­als,” she said.

“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.

“The Magic Coat also helps chil­dren to be­lieve in them­selves even when they are in a sit­u­a­tion where no one else does.”

Work­ing with chil­dren in schools, Ms Wil­cox fa­cil­i­tates the pro­gram us­ing pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy strate- gies, tech­niques she said had worked across the board, in­clud­ing in one of WA’S tough­est high schools.

“Par­ents, teach­ers, po­lice, so­cial work­ers, psy­chol­o­gists, doc­tors and of course chil­dren fall in love with The Magic Coat,” she said.

“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.”

As if run­ning one foun­da­tion was not enough, three years ago Ms Wil­cox be­came in­volved with

Make A Dif­fer­ence WA af­ter the foun­da­tion lent its sup­port to the pro­gram.

“The foun­da­tion de­cided to spon­sor the pro­gram into schools and it has evolved be­cause the board now has a vi­sion to fo­cus on the men­tal health and well­be­ing of our chil­dren in

WA,” she said.

“Last year the board asked me if I would be in­ter­ested in be­ing their chief in­spi­ra­tional of­fi­cer and this in­volves me speak­ing to all dif­fer­ent types of peo­ple about why The Magic Coat pro­gram is nec­es­sary and why Make A Dif­fer­ence WA want to en­sure as many dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren and their fam­i­lies have ac­cess to the pro­gram as pos­si­ble.

“It works re­ally well be­cause I have the great­est re­spect for the foun­da­tion and I am in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for their be­lief in en­sur­ing those that can least af­ford it don’t miss out.”

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.

“We will have Nine News’ Michael Thomp­son as MC and he will in­ter­view Justin Langer, Tony Sage, Tony Popovic, Diego Cas­tro, Nat Med­hurst, Trevor Glee­son and Matthew Pavlich,” she said.­mu­ni­ d488778

Di Wil­cox cre­ated The Magic Coat pro­gram and works with the Make a Dif­fer­ence Foun­da­tion. Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

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