Children's Week road trip in East Gippsland

Monday, October 17, 2022

Kristina Stafford is East Gippsland’s Healthy Kids Advisor, bringing healthy and delicious food education to her region’s young people. Kristina was involved with East Gippsland's Children's Week Committee to help plan and roll out a series of opportunities and events for the National Children's Week celebrations, supported by The Children's Week Council of Australia and the Australian Government's Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia every October. A diverse range of events and activities are organised at national, state and local levels to focus the attention of the wider community on children, their rights and achievements. The Children’s Week National Theme for 2022 is based on Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child: All Children have the right to a standard of living that supports their wellbeing and healthy development.

Launch event

East Gippsland launched Children's Week at a community event in Lake's Entrance. Kristina set up a stall where 200 participants came for a free lesson on how to make Vietnamese rice paper rolls. She connected with local families and young people with tips on how to grow vibrant, seasonal herbs and vegetables and ways to use them to make fresh, nourishing snacks.

Road trip to remote schools

After the big launch event, Kristina partnered with Uniting Care and Triple P Parenting to visit three remote East Gippsland schools. Participating schools included Orbost Primary School, Cann River Community Centre and Mallacoota P-12 School.

As a committee, we advocated strongly to ensure that the more remote townships were included in this year’s Children's Week activities. We wanted to go beyond asking them to run their own events and wanted to ensure that our resources were distributed more broadly in our municipality. 

As the Team Leader of Bushfire Recovery, I wanted to ensure that the townships who had experienced hardships over the last few years received an opportunity to participate in parenting support through Triple P and fun wellbeing activities through Uniting Care and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Hopefully, this regional focus will help us establish longer-term partnerships in these areas.

Kirsten Van Diggele – National Children’s Week Committee & Team Leader Bushfire Recovery, Uniting Gippsland  

Kristina delivered hands-on kitchen garden workshops to students in these remote schools. The busiest event was at Mallacoota P-12. Three classrooms worked with Kristina to make seed spheres and learn how to raise and harvest the basil plant to use in wholesome, tasty recipes. 

About the Healthy Kids Advisors initiative 

The Healthy Kids Advisors initiative is delivered by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and supported by the Victorian Government. 

This community engagement initiative is active in East Gippsland and 12 other priority communities to spread pleasurable food education and encourage participation in the state-wide Vic Kids Eat Well movement. 

In collaboration with local health promoters and the East Gippsland Shire, Kristina Stafford offers free support and simple ideas to boost healthy and delicious food and drink in schools, sports clubs, after-hours care and council-run facilities. 

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