In the Spotlight

Calling on all schools, child care centres, organisations and parents to – Shine A Light For Children

Each year, the Queensland Child Protection Week Committee (QCPWC) awards a small number of Arts grants to organisations and groups around Queensland. The projects funded work with children and young people to discuss child protection through various artistic mediums that involve the sharing of key child protection messages whilst encouraging children and young people to talk about and articulate how they view safety, protection and wellbeing from their perspectives.

In 2017 Hands on Art ran an art project for Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW) entitled: Shine a light for children. The aim was to promote the messages of QCPW and increase awareness of child protection through the creation of paper and bottle lanterns with various groups of children and young people across Brisbane and Queensland.

Hands on Art called on all in their local community to participate in workshops and the wider community through Facebook by making lanterns and then celebrating children, their protection and wellbeing, by lighting them with a battery-operated candle during Child Protection Week. They also featured a lantern installation at their gallery. The lanterns displayed at the gallery were then donated to the Child Protection Week end of week dinner and were presented as lovely table centrepieces. Over 800 lanterns were made.

Following the success of this small project in 2017, the QCPWC decided to build momentum and work towards a flagship art project that over time will become a key Queensland project including all schools, organisations, child care centres and community centres. A meeting with Hands on Art demonstrated a mutual desire for this to happen.

In 2018 the Hands on Art lantern project Shine a light for children is growing. Hands on Art have some lantern packs free for schools and community groups. They also have 3 design templates that can be downloaded that are easy to use and create excellent opportunities for art teachers to use in school classrooms. Counsellors, youth support coordinators and chaplains can also become involved with the lantern project whilst sharing child protection messaging. This lantern project is also an excellent fun activity for parents to do with their children of all ages. Community groups can run a lantern making event. The ways these lanterns can be used are varied and the QCPWC is expecting many more innovative ideas and uses this year. Templates for lanterns come with the QCPW key messages to assist those making the lanterns with the development of messages that adorn them.

Child protection is everyone’s business is the key message noting that the responsibility lies with adults in keeping children safe from harm and assisting their holistic wellbeing. All members of our families and communities need to play a part in ensuring children are nurtured, protected and safe. Children and young people need to be safe and they also need to experience wellbeing. Parents and loved ones spending time with children and young people assists them in feeling connected and cared for.

The key messages further note that child protection and wellbeing requires us all to:

  • Listen to children and young people.
  • Know that children and young people are honest and need to be believed when they speak out about issues that impact them.
  • Understand the impact of domestic and family violence on children and young people.
  • Know that if something doesn’t feel right, trust yourself.
  • Know that words can harm.

Tanya Burkhardt, Hands on Art Project Coordinator said she is really excited to be partnering with the Queensland Child Protection Week Committee in 2018, particularly given that the project will reach remote and regional areas this year as well as many other parts of the state. “We have confirmed workshops in the Logan area and at Milpera State High School. Milpera teach young migrants and unaccompanied refugees as well as English as a second language students. We have a template and instructions for groups to download and make their own lanterns.”  This will be available on the Hands on Art website and on the Facebook page Shine a Light for Children – Lantern Project 2018. Anyone making lanterns will be invited to upload images to Instagram @shinealightforchildren.

Hands on Art are also supplying lantern packs to QCPW grant recipients including community groups and day care centres. These will also be sent to priority areas such as: Cape York, the Torres Strait, Ipswich, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Toowoomba amongst others. The lantern instructions will also be disseminated through School Chaplains throughout the State.

QCPWC’s Manager Caitlin King notes that the committee is supporting this partnership as a major mechanism to share the key messages of Child Protection Week: “Last year was really exciting. Especially when we saw the interest in the lantern making and the participation in sharing our messages and being involved in child protection. This year we’re delighted that we’re taking this project to a much wider audience. Anyone can participate. This includes family members, teachers, guidance officers, youth support coordinators, day care and community centre professionals. All can be involved in having these really important conversations about protecting children whilst also enjoying fun activities as they spend time and connect with children and young people.”

Caitlin further noted that there are many ways the lanterns are being promoted around the state: “We’ve just been informed that the children’s lift out in the Sunday Mail, Factor X, has indicated they will support QCPW and help shine a light for children by running a lantern template in Factor X on Sunday 2nd September, which is the start of Queensland Child Protection Week. Between this contribution and the hard work of Hands on Art and committee members promoting the lantern project, we’re expecting excellent outcomes this year.”

For further information on Shine a Light for Children contact Tanya by email.

Find further information or download the CPW key messages in full here.

For more information visit the Queensland Child Protection Week website.

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