FOLLOWING on from a highly-successful 2017, the Where There’s A Will (WTAW) Foundation has began 2018 just as impressively.
The Upper Hunter not-for-profit organisation kick-started Visible Wellbeing training for the first batch of local teachers – and the response at the Muswellbrook RSL Club on Monday was overwhelming.
“[Today] marks a significant milestone for WTAW,” executive officer Andrea Burns said.
“We’re introducing visible wellbeing into the community.
“And, it’s a national first, so it’s a thrilling moment for everyone.
“The entire program is being funded by Where There’s A Will, thanks to the exceptional donations made by individuals and businesses across the Upper Hunter over the past 18 months.”
This means that wellbeing practices will be integrated into every class and every project from pre-school right through to Year 12, influencing nearly 4000 students across the district.
Melbourne University’s Lea Waters, the first person in Australia to be appointed a professor of Positive Psychology, hosted the opening workshop, which featured more than 200 teachers.
“It’s exciting to be part of this large scale community initiative,” she said.
“We’ve got 16 schools represented.
“So, more than 400 teachers will receive six full days training over the next two years.
“They’ll have access to visible wellbeing coaches, they’ll be given a range of activities to implement, they’ll have access to online resources and, most importantly, they should see an improvement in their own wellbeing.
“That, in turn, will have an impact on thousands of pupils within the Upper Hunter.
“For us personally, of Visible Wellbeing, it’s such a great partnership to be involved in.
“We’re genuinely creating change across the community – and up-levelling the wellbeing of young people and adults.
“Everyone has wellbeing; sometimes it’s ill-being, sometimes it’s wellbeing.
“It kind of sits inside all of us – and it’s invisible.
“So, we teach basic psychology techniques in principle to make wellbeing more visible.
“Once it becomes more visible, we can pick it up, we can look at it – we can see it.
“We can then intervene in a young person’s life when wellbeing is at the lower end.
“But, importantly, when wellbeing is at the higher [end], we can maximise it and make the most of it.
“While individual schools and small groups have completed the Visible Wellbeing program in the past, never before has an entire community come together with a united vision of prioritising the mental wellbeing of its children like what we are seeing here in the Upper Hunter.”