This week we are supporting the launch of the Wollondilly Youth Voices video. The project was designed for young people to begin the healing journey after the impacts of the 2019/2020 bushfires. We are privileged to share the voices of these amazing, brave, young people as they share their experiences. 

About the Project

Youth Voices was a bushfire recovery project for children and young people impacted by the Green Wattle Creek bushfire in 2019/ 2020. The project was a partnership between Wollondilly Shire Council and the Rotary Club of Wollondilly North. Several families across Wollondilly talked with council staff about the impact the fires had on their children and the need for support to help them move forward. Several families also mentioned that their children felt unheard after the fires. 

The Youth Voices project was developed to provide a fun and easy way for young people to access support whilst also giving them a voice to share their experiences, feelings and learnings. Creating a fun day of outdoor, resilience building activities where children could have fun, connect with peers and meet psychologists from bushfire recovery mental health services.

The decision was made to make a short film for the children to share their stories. Vincent McManus from Short Black Films was the perfect fit to produce the Youth Voices Film due to his film making expertise as well as experience with young people and people living with mental illness. Psychologists from At Full Potential and the Community Links Re-Frame team worked with Vinnie to conduct the interviews in a supported and trauma informed way. The result is a raw and amazing story of resilience, strength and positivity after a disaster.

From Vincent McManus of Short Black Films

I recently filmed and edited the Youth Voices project with Wollondilly Council.

Working with the many courageous young people on this short film was an absolute privilege.

Many of the participants involved in this resilience focused weekend hadn’t actually talked very much about how much impact and stress the bushfires had on their lives. For many, it brought up how terribly frightening and surreal the experience was at the time and how they and their families managed and coped with such loss. The young people were brave and insightful as they considered some deeper questions around coping strategies, self care and how the following year had been for them and their families. I believe the project was also extremely beneficial for these young people to get to know each other and each other’s stories through their shared experiences.

I am particularly proud of this powerful and heartfelt short film.

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