Charity starts at home: HIPPY Program enriches disadvantaged parents and children

By Jordan Grantham, 5 April 2018
CatholicCare Western Sydney and Blue Mountains runs a popular enrichment program for disadvantaged children in Emerton. Photo: Shutterstock

You’re a new parent, yearning to provide for your child, but what if you never learnt the alphabet?

CatholicCare Social Services’ HIPPY program creates the opportunity for disadvantaged families to learn the skills that give their children a brighter future.

Linda McDonald is the Coordinator of HIPPY for CatholicCare Social Services. She says there are no obstacles her program cannot overcome.

The HIPPY program based at Holy Family Parish, Emerton, runs for two years, and is home-based, focusing on early learning, based on speech therapist recommendations.

“I’m really passionate about it. I’m passionate about working in the Mt Druitt area and bringing change to the area,” Linda said.

The vital work is greatly appreciated in the local area, especially by the Aboriginal community.

The program relies on tutors visiting the homes of families in the program.

RELATED: One big holy family at Mount Druitt Parish

Tutors work 15-hours each week providing support and are also supported in their development.

“We have tutors from the community. Tutors could be fourth generation unemployed,” Linda said, “I am able through my program to offer parents that are involved with the program employment, which enables training in TAFE. The position is for two years, and allows parents to experience work ethic and protocols.”

“What keeps me going? What gets me up in the morning? I like my program I am passionate. As a former teacher, I believe that my program benefits children and parents alike in an early learning framework. The program is in its fourth year,” she said.

The worldwide program started in Australia in the 1990s and at Holy Family Parish, Emerton in 2015.

At Holy Family Parish, Emerton, HIPPY clients can access CatholicCare Social Services’ financial counsellors, Gambling and counselling, as well as offering well-being and a TAFE outreach cooking class as well as circle of security, triple P and other workshops.

“Parents are bonded through educating their own children,” Linda said. “Our HIPPY program operates within a strong Aboriginal Cultural framework. This allows us to provide not only a more holistic & empathetic service delivery to our own community but to families also from ethnically diverse communities.”


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