On Friday 1 August, three sailors from HMAS Cairns volunteered their time to help out at the Village Kids Children’s Centre, Centre A in Bentley Park.
Able Seamen Glen Murray, John Beecher and Christopher Cali put their skills to good use, assisting with a great community cause. The boys sanded, scrubbed and sweated through the day to refurbish a four-metre dinghy that the centre had bought as part of their latest project for the grounds.
The Village Kids Children’s Centre works toward teaching the children about what interests them most.
Director Lydia Nuttal said with many of Centre's attendees from Service families, a lot of them expressed an interest in learning more about ships, the ocean and the maritime environment.
"It’s all about expanding individual interests," she said.
Through fundraising and donations from parents, the dingy was purchased and Australian vegetation was planted within tyres donated by Tuff Tyres in Gordonvale, which were placed around the dinghy.
Lydia Nuttall talked about the overwhelming support from parents and the community in putting the project together.
"Parents donated tools and shells, plants were provided by Cairns Hardware, and the kids will be putting their own personal touches to the task by making some fish to decorate the outside," she said.
Teaching about the environment through gardening and sustainability, the dingy is just one of many of the Centre’s endeavours. Recycling and reusing old items, such as the tyres, are everyday habits that the kids are developing. Emphasis is particularly placed on learning where food comes from, and they children help look after the facility’s fruit and vegetable garden.
"Day care is supposed to be fun. It’s not a classroom. We aim to provide a facility that is warm and caring," said Kylie Bugler, Group Leader.
It was a particularly bittersweet day for Brenda Ive, who was working her last day before retirement. Brenda has been with the Centre for six and a half years, and the dingy development has been a pet project of her and Kylie’s for the past six months.
The robust Navy boys were put to good use, cleaning out the boat and applying fresh coats of paint. The reused tyres, craypots and netting reinforce the philosophy of reusing and recycling.
The lovely ladies were graciously appreciative of the hard-working dedication the sailors put toward doing the job well. The kids were thrilled with the finished product and can’t wait to learn more about the sea.