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June 22, 2024 4:58 PM

Alex spreads the Where There’s a Will Message

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Alex Bates has this week started his HSC exams at St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen and has a whole new outlook on what lays ahead thanks to being a part of Where There’s A Will.

Last year Alex Bates was one of four students from his school selected to attend a National Leadership Summit in Adelaide along with other local students from Merriwa Central, Muswellbrook High, Scone High and Scone Grammar schools.

“At that summit we got to learn the importance of our mental health and wellbeing,” he said.

“As well as how each person is individually unique and displays a range of different character strengths that we can use in everyday life to bring about positive change, in and out of school.”

Local students stayed connected with their peers and became responsible for putting in place activities or programs in their own school to keep spreading the message of wellbeing.

At St Josephs they ran a fundraising auction selling the teachers to students for a day, in an effort to improve the relationships between students and staff.

All proceeds from the event were put towards the annual All Starts program to help cover catering and supplies.

Alex credits his success in being appointed a school captain and getting a Bengalla Scholarship to skills he gained with Where there’s A Will.

“Where There’s A Will has helped me develop those communication skills that I wouldn’t have necessarily developed,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have had that outgoing compassion towards other people to an extent that I do now.”

Alex has already received offers for university and is deciding between studying nursing or journalism.

“When I go off to university I hope to talk about Where There’s A Will and bring that to Uni and have that support network continue through,” he said.

“Where There’s A Will has helped me want to be a positive role model in the community in and out of school.”

Helping Little Kids Too

There are 16 early education centres in the Upper Hunter that have taken part in training offered by Where There’s A Will, one of which is Little Kindy in Muswellbrook.

In May last year educators from the centre attended training in Scone where they learned how to identify and then embrace the character strengths of students at the centre.

“Every child is born with 24 strengths, we just have to identify their top strengths and identify some they don’t use as much and you can work together to balance them out,” educator Steph Hallett said.

“You can use it in everyday language and then ask the children what they think that strength means so you know it is embedding in the children as well.”

When they heard about the training there was nothing to consider about taking part for the team at Little Kindy.

“As soon as I saw it, I felt like it would help the next generation be brought up in a more positive way, it offers a way to be able to self-regulate emotion and have a sense of belonging,” Ms Hallett said.

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