Breakfast Club breaks down barriers
Horsham Primary School is a dual campus P-6 Primary School with a combined enrolment of approximately 440 students, educating those from both Horsham City and the surrounding rural areas.
Student wellbeing is a continued priority for the school, especially as almost 50 per cent of their students are statistically recognised as coming from a disadvantaged background. With this in mind, Horsham Primary School is always searching for programs that assist to prepare students to be ready to learn each day, and this is where the Foodbank School Breakfast Clubs program steps in.
Is That Music in the Air?
Brent White is the Student Wellbeing Coordinator at Horsham Primary School, and as part of this role he is responsible for the School Breakfast Clubs Program. Brent is passionate about making the breakfast accessible to kids that really need a good start to the day. His previous experience with underprivileged communities gave him good insight into stigma associated with providing free food to families. Brent wanted to make the free breakfast approachable and stigma free – so he turned to the Nutbush!
It is easy to find the Horsham Primary School Breakfast Club, because DJ Brent appears every day taking requests. The music is blasting across the school, and it brings the kids in. On any given morning, you will find 50 or 60 kids doing the Macarena, moving to the YMCA, grooving to the Nutbush, or any other dance songs the kids request.
While the music creates a fun environment, its real agenda is achieved by breaking down the stigma involved with kids needing food – especially when the whole school wants to be part of the club.
The Community Grows Tighter
Horsham Primary School uses the Breakfast Club to assist in breaking down not only personal stigma, but also barriers between the local police and school kids by inviting the local police to come along to help at the breakfasts.
“When the students meet our team in person, they are sometimes shocked to know that police are nice and just normal people. Unfortunately, some of these kids have only had negative experiences with the Police, and when they see us dancing with them it really helps to see us as people they can trust not fear”, said Leading Senior Constable Linda McLenna from the Wimmera Proactive Policing Unit.
The Proactive Policing Unit attends the breakfast clubs at both campuses, helping to set up the breakfast and serve the kids. The kids love chatting to the team and they have also been caught dancing to the YMCA!
Breaking Down Barriers
The Breakfast Club offers more than nutritional food, it also provides Horsham Primary an avenue to create a safe space for kids who are seeking responsibly in a community setting. Brent has created the Wellbeing Warriors, who are kids that he felt would benefit from being part of assisting with the program. The Wellbeing Warriors are provided with a “Helper” badge, and they come into school to help make sandwiches for lunches, sort fruit and vegetables and other roles of responsibility. The badges give the kids a sense of belonging too.
The kids feel like they are part of something special. The responsibility provided to the Wellbeing Warriors provides the kids with the feeling of being needed, which they might not always get outside of school sadly,” Brent said.
My name is David. I am a single father of 3 children who attend the Horsham Primary School and feel so fortunate that the school has the support of Foodbank.
I have experienced many personal events that are still painful, and my children have been sadly exposed to trauma and this has created confusion, financial loss, accommodation, and food insecurity, not to mention trust issues.
However, I know through the support of Foodbank and the staff of the Horsham Primary School that my children will be treated fairly, not judged, fed when we are struggling, so school attendance is there haven and gives me the opportunity to return to work with the hope of re-establishing a life and opportunities for my family.
Having access to the food hampers allows me to feed my children over the weekends and holidays when things are tight and reinforces hope, and once I got over the embarrassment and swallowed my pride accepting support has enabled a positive shift for my children and for myself. I could not be more grateful for the support.