A little help can go such a long way

September 30, 2017

Ricky Welsh (left) and Kaz Fuller (right).

Liam Hackney (left) and Tamara Whittaker (right).

HUNDREDS of paper hands were planted in the garden and plastered all over the classrooms at Echuca Specialist School.

The helping hands were made by all of the students, who wrote the names of five people they could turn to for help or emotional support on the hands.

Vice principal Ben Ridge said he wanted to make sure his students did not suffer alone.

“We want the students to know there is support if they need it,” he said.

“If they can choose two or three people from school and some at home that holds them in good stead to have someone they can talk to.”

Mr Ridge said some of the junior students could not think of five people they could confide in, which is why the school arranged a buddy system to connect junior students with senior students.

“The whole school has come together,” Mr Ridge said.

“We teach social strategies about how to cope and how to socialise. We teach them what emotions are and how to deal with being happy and sad, as well as grief and loss.”

One name that appeared frequently on the helping hands was Gary Needs, who has been one of the school aids for ten years.

“I can only be in one place but I know all the kids and their backgrounds, where they’re from and how they’re feeling,” Gary said.

“We have a lot of talks about life and how they’re feeling and how they’re going.

“We don’t let things bubble out. We talk about them so we can feel better.

“We’re all very close and we support each other all the time.”

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