Supporting Students

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Yancoal has provided $200,000 towards a Student Wellbeing Program, which is unique to the Upper Hunter. Earlier this month, company representatives got to see exactly what that funding is doing.

The Singleton Visible Wellbeing Showcase was held at King Street Public School, and close to 300 staff from 11 schools in the district gathering to see the programs and share ideas.

Kicking off with an onscreen presentation, those present saw the depth of program initiatives across early childhood, primary and high schools in the area.

The concept is simple but effective. It is all about identifying and building strengths by helping students to: feel better about themselves; to understand that their emotions change; to be mindful; and to be caring and kind towards one another.

Schools shared their ideas, such as a simple colour board on the entry to a classroom where children tap on their mood as they walk in. It is a simple process, but gives a teacher and support staff an understanding of how a student may be feeling at the start of their day.

Staff at Singleton High shared the kindness amongst each other through their Guardian Angel program, where staff send an anonymous gift from a ‘Guardian Angel’ to recognise the trials and tribulations faced. This aims to boost staff moral and the evidence from recipients proves that it worked.

Yancoal Operations Manager, Aaron McGuigan, said Yancoal had supported the Wellbeing Program in Schools since 2019, and he said it was wonderful to see each school adapt the program’s concept into their own programs.

“I was really impressed. Language is a mindset, which is quite a deep concept but simple in practice; it is about understanding and listening,” Aaron said.

The program is jointly funded by the Mt Thorley Warkworth and Ashton sites.

Taking care of mental health is not just a thing for young people, and there are workplace mental health programs in place across Yancoal sites.

“Our whole workforce has gone through mental health programs. The reality is we all need to have the tools to cope, regardless of our positions,” Aaron said.

Where There’s a Will’s Pauline Carrigan was also at the Showcase and she is delighted to see initiatives instigated by the Scone-based organisation in action.

“Imagine the future, when our kids today, armed with understanding, language and skills, return their children to our Visible Wellbeing schools, and then head into our workplaces and lead our community. This is the future we are building here for ourselves.

“I am also emotional about everyone who has, in anyway, backed this project.  Our communities are amazing, and I congratulate Yancoal for backing these Singleton schools to train and to achieve a dream.  A dream that I hold very close to my heart. I know this is the way and that this strategic plan will build healthy futures for our communities, and provide vital data that will change the very future of community wellbeing nationally.”

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