Bomaderry Rotary Club recently hosted Tim and Netty Kennedy at their meeting.
Tim spoke about the ‘Shine’ program, and the soon to be implemented ‘Strength’ programs in local high schools.
Tim was a paramedic for 16 years after moving to Culburra in 2000 and for the last eight years he has been the Assistant Pastor of the City Church Nowra.
Shine is a program for girls that was introduced in Shoalhaven schools and it is proposed to start the Strength program in the near future for boys.
The main emphasis of the program is to help young people understand their value.
Time spoke about a wider view in the NSW community of having a poor view of the Shoalhaven region and that our community was seen as being badly downgraded from general communities in the region.
However Tim believes the Shoalhaven is a microcosm of the wider community and the problems seen here are reflected throughout the region.
The Shoalhaven has a six per cent participation in tertiary education whereas the national average is 16 per cent. The social issues are varied but one troubling in particular, an Ice epidemic runs through the wider community.
The medium income for Shoalhaven people is $51,600. In NSW the lower spectrum of wage earners have an annual $57,000 income and the Shoalhaven was below that.
He questioned should the local church community lead local reforms to change widely thought attitudes.
A defining moment occurred for Tim five years ago when attending a 14-year-old’s funeral after suicide.
This was a terrible waste of life and Tim said it was obvious this teenager did not understand her own intrinsic value.
It was obvious that many young people were in desperate need for help. Some young people lacked hope and have a feeling that they will never amount to anything.
Every child has potential but many children lack love and care. Tim said he wishes that every child would go through these programs.
Tim said kids who have self-harmed have gained self-confidence through Shine.
He made the point that kids today don’t understand their own worth and while they may have many friends on social media, there is often no one they can talk to about personal issues.
The subject of boy’s issues was also addressed. Boys today are often confused about their role. What it is to be a man in today’s society?
Tim made a point that the programs were open to all religions and cultures and the program has been opened up to multiple community groups and church groups. The result of this program is that eventually outsiders may change their view of the communities in the Shoalhaven.
Kids will discover their personal identity discovering their worth and strength.
Presently there are nine students from Nowra High School and 15 from Shoalhaven High School going through the program.
Girls 11-17 years and boys 12-15 years can participate. Cyber bullying is an enormous issue and kids can snap under pressure if they cannot find a solution or a way out.
Youth suicide was also touched on with boys and girls reacting differently in a life crisis situation.
Shine has reached far and wide and is active locally, nationally and internationally.
Bomaderry Rotary Club thanked Tim for giving them an understanding of these issues critical to the future generations.