Readings Foundation Update: HIPPY and Sacred Heart Mission

This week we’re featuring updates from the community organisations and projects that the Readings Foundation supported in 2009.

Today we’re hearing from Katherine Sciglitano of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s HIPPY program and Marika Fengler of Sacred Heart Mission – both of which receive ongoing support from the foundation.

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) focuses on the interaction between children and their parents with particular focus on numeracy and literacy and aims to equip children for lifelong learning and provides a supported pathway to employment and local level community leadership.

We currently employ six participating parents of Sudanese, Somali, Vietnamese and Indigenous backgrounds as HIPPY Home Tutors. These Home Tutors work with approximately 80 families with Age 4 or Age 5 year old children living in the Carlton, Fitzroy and Collingwood Estates. HIPPY Fitzroy is now in its twelfth year of working closely with marginalised families in the area and already has a number of families on the 2011 waiting list. There is a significant interest from parents to further develop their skills in order to prepare their own children for school and support their learning once school life has begun.

In the words of a current HIPPY parent: ‘I didn’t believe I could teach my child but I can. Now he will be more confident when he starts school and this is also good for me because I will better communicate with his teachers at school.’

Sacred Heart Mission is a community organisation based in St Kilda that works with people who are homeless or living in poverty. The Mission is best known for its dining hall, the cornerstone of the organisation, where 150 breakfasts and 350 hot three-course meals are served for free, every day of the year. It has an open door policy where everyone is welcome to enjoy some of the nutritious and delicious meals prepared and served by an army of volunteers, overseen by chefs well-qualified in the art of improvising with the days’ donated deliveries.

As well as providing a welcome and hospitality, the meals program gives support workers the opportunity to build relationships with individuals and try to establish the underlying causes of a person’s homelessness. The Mission has a range of other creative and diverse services available to address causes of homelessness and to help provide pathways out of homelessness.

With the generous donation from the Readings Foundation, Sacred Heart Mission was able to provide lunches for a whole working week.