The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week resonates through us here at PTTR as we remember with gratitude the wise, beautiful and heartfelt Welcomes to Country that we have received from Aboriginal Elders as we travelled on the Paint Australia REaD Book Relay from Perth to the Pacific, these last couple of months. From Auntie Marie in Noongar Country to Aunty Lorraine in Dharawal Country, and the many Elders in between, we have been blessed by your truth and your courage. Thank you so much.
54 days of the Paint Australia REaD Book Relay have passed in a whirl of excitement and invitation, children’s delighted faces as they enjoy reading together and meeting new communities keen to work together to give their children a better start in life .
This week, the Relay team was present for the hatching of two new mascots…two new communities that have chosen to take the Paint the Town REaD pathway to increase the literacy levels amongst their children. Welcome Dhinawan the Emu for Lightning Ridge NSW, and Gracie Guy-a-wan the Shark for Taree NSW. Both mascots have been chosen by local Elders. As totems of Gamileroi and Biripi nations respectively, these mascots will be front and central, in supporting children to be introduced to the love of reading from birth.
Across Australia, PTTR communities celebrated Children’s Week including hatchings of new mascots in Armadale, Gosnells, Rockingham (WA), Gin Gin, Childers and Bundaberg (Qld), birthday parties for mascots (Shoalhaven NSW) and the honouring of Vivi Martin in NSW as Summer Hill’s Granny of the Year, especially for her work with heading up Paint Marrickville REaD. http://www.localnewsplus.com.au/article.php?st_story_ID=141222&ratio=Landscape
Under the support of local Elders including Auntie Maureen Silleri and their Aboriginal Support teacher, Maryanne Wallace a mob of enthusiastic Aboriginal students at North St Marys Public School NSW, drew special pictures about what reading with Rooby Roo (the Paint Penrith REaD mascot) meant to them.
These images were then transferred onto Rooby’s vest with help of Frances Zammit from Community Junction Ins. The students gave Rooby a very big surprise last week when they presented her with the vest. ‘We want you to wear it for NAIDOC Week this year’.
With National Sorry Day 2017, we at Paint the Town REaD want to say sorry. We stand with our wonderful Aboriginal Elders, colleagues and friends and want to work together to close the early literacy gap for our Aboriginal kids, made worse by the intergenerational trauma from the Stolen Generations.
Paint the Town REAd’s Reading Bug has had a busy time in Moree. She brought a magical mascot egg to the children in Moree East’s Playgroup, delivered the first book for the Books for Newborn Bubs in Moree Hospital and received a very generous cheque from the Commonwealth Bank to keep reading with children from birth in Moree.
Paint D’Bay REaD launched in March with the arrival of the magical black egg. Queensland Minister for Science and Innovation, Leeanne Enoch, was the first to read to the egg, followed by the Chris Whiting, MP for Murrumba and then various other dignitaries, including the children!
Paint D’Day REaD is a partnership led by local residents, including the Aboriginal community Elders and families and workers, Queensland’s First Five Forever and Communities for Children workers.
We can’t wait to see what will hatch out of the egg!