Kids as Catalyst wins VicHealth Award for Improving Mental Wellbeing

Dr Andrea Lemon, Joanne Taylor, Amanda Tattam, Lisa Gibbs (University of Melbourne), and
Victorian Health Minister Hon Jill Hennessy MP.

Kids as Catalyst – our innovative primary school program using creative tools to build children’s resilience through leading community change – has won the 2017 VicHealth award for improving mental wellbeing.

VicHealth (The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation) honours the best Victorian health promotion initiatives. Kids as Catalyst was one of six finalists in the mental wellbeing category and one of 48 shortlisted projects.

Dr Andrea Lemon, CEO and Creative Director said it was an honour to be acknowledged for the innovative work Kids Thrive is doing with children and communities across Victoria.

“We were thrilled to receive this award – and to be shortlisted amongst the incredible company of the other finalists – Beyond Blue, Ambulance Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, Jewish Care Victoria and Victorian Aboriginal Health Service – which are all doing such amazing work. To be recognised in this way is very exciting for Kids Thrive.

“We tell the children we work with ‘You don’t have to be big to make a change, or to have an impact in the world.’ Well, Kids Thrive is only seven years old and we are kicking big goals that might be considered beyond the reach of a small organisation.”

Creative Directors Dr Lemon and Andrea Rieniets have developed Kids as Catalyst over the past seven years, partnering with artists, children, schools, education specialists, researchers, community agencies and foundations, to develop an innovative approach to building children’s wellbeing.

‘Kids as Catalyst’ builds children’s personal resilience, educational engagement, and community connections, whilst engaging literacy, numeracy and teamwork skills.

It is delivered in upper primary schools, through creative training and self-directed, action-based learning over two school terms.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter says Kids Thrive and the other VicHealth Award winners demonstrated the huge range, value and influence of health promotion in Victoria.

“These community organisations, arts or research bodies, health services, local councils and major sporting codes are tackling some of Victoria’s biggest health issues and have made a huge difference to the lives of many Victorians.

“Kids as Catalyst strengthens the connections between children and community groups and empowers children to become change-makers in their communities,” Ms Rechter said.

Further details about Kids as Catalyst

Visit the 2017 VicHealth Awards for a full list of winners and more information.