Over 2000 students across 15 schools were involved with the initiative that builds student awareness of domestic violence and women’s homelessness, particularly in their local area.
Walk the Talk is delivered in schools by Dannielle Miller and her team at Enlighten Education, who work to foster a discussion about positive relationships and build student action from there.
“The second part of the day is when we talk to students about the refuge in their area. We discuss why it exists and who might need it, before we ask them to consider what kind of support they could give,” Miller told Women’s Agenda earlier this year.
“Kids are so creative and the ideas they have are awesome,” Miller said.
The Walk the Talk program empowers students to support local women and children in need by ‘adopting’ their local shelter. Many student led initiatives were developed this year and they were supported into fruition by school staff, assisted by Women’s Community Shelters.
Across the 15 schools who took part, students raised money through numerous fundraising activities, created welcome packs, handmade wooden toys for the shelters, grew vegetables, volunteered including landscaping the gardens and renovated a study space in one of the shelters, assisted at gala fundraisers and helped raise awareness in their local communities.
This year, 27 students were nominated as finalists in the inaugural Walk the Talk Awards by their schools and were identified for a willingness to go above and beyond in ‘walking the talk’ to support the Women’s Community Shelter’s mission.
The winner of the Award was Ari Levy, from St Pauls’ Grammar School in Penrith.
Levy says she was shocked when her name was called out as the winner, because there were so many deserving finalists.
She says the Walk the Talk program really helped her grade unite and she believes everyone involved now has a greater understanding of healthy relationships.
“The program was a great way of getting our grade involved in helping the community, and it got a lot of our grade to participate in bringing in goods for our bake sale especially and all the other events we had during our ‘Awareness Week’,” Levy says.
“Our school as a whole is more aware and educated about domestic violence and its effect on the community. Hopefully this will lead to the cycle of domestic violence breaking.”