When Luca was born, I was broken and remade, something like a phoenix rising from the ashes of who I used to be. In most ways, I was stronger than before. But my heart was infinitely softer and far more vulnerable to hurt.
I worried about my tiny, helpless baby and I worried about being the one left in charge of his wellbeing. My confidence grew quickly, but I was aware that I was deeply human and capable of all the missteps and mistakes that go with that.
Holding Luca to my strong, healthy, sober and well supported self, my mind would wander to the millions of women around the world who were also holding their newborn children at this moment but who did not enjoy the comfort and stability of my life. Before long, I was consumed with anxiety thinking about families slipping through the cracks of poverty, mental illness and drug addiction.
Eventually, I would have to shake myself free of this train of thought because it just made me too sad.
Those first teary weeks of life with a newborn soon passed but even now, I still need to stop myself from dwelling in that place where the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that face so many kids leaves me paralysed with sadness.
Instead, I have learnt to be motivated by that sadness and to make a difference where I can.
To that end, I want to share with you one of a series of short animated films that The Smith Family are releasing throughout this year as part of their campaign, Tales of the One in Ten.
Oh, little Alice. I wish I could fill that hole for you. And Alice's story is not simply an animated tale but based on a true story. There really is an Alice. There are many Alices.
By sharing this film with you, I want to help The Smith Family in their mission to raise awareness about disadvantaged children in Australia. Here in this lucky country of ours, more than 638,000 children live in a family where no-one is employed. By the time they turn 15, most of these children will be an average of 2-3 years behind their peers in reading and maths and are less likely to go on to finish Year 12.
This is how cycles are perpetuated.
Every child deserves a chance. The Smith Family work to make this possible for some of our most disadvantaged families. A good education is paramount in setting the foundations for a productive life.
I want to help.
In February, I worked with a couple of brands and was paid to do so. I decided to donate a percentage of that money to The Smith Family. And though it was a humble amount, I understand that if we all give what we can, collectively we are so powerful. If you can, I hope you will join me in making a donation. 86 cents in every dollar goes directly to community programs.
Click here to make a one-off donation or consider sponsoring a child to ensure they have everything they need throughout the school year. Or you can buy the song in the film here. We can help fill that giant emptiness for every little Alice.
I was Alice. Lucky for me I filled my emptiness with books, which in turn helped me scrape through grade 12 by the skin of my teeth.
I failed 2 subjects because what money we had went towards my parents addictions, so I had to go through grade 11 & 12 without the textbooks I needed.
Thank you for helping raise awareness for such an important issue.
Thank you for sharing that, Amethyst. I am so glad that you were able to break the cycle for yourself but my understanding of it is that you are an exception to the rule. It is no simple thing to break free from the bonds of poverty and addiction, to be the opposite of everything you were shown as a child. That’s why The Smith Family are so important.
Out of 11 children, I am the only one who broke free of the black-hole. My siblings have all kept to the path we were raised on.
Having such a tangible example of the statistics instigated my choice to support The Smith Family.
That video made me a bit teary. For those of us who can relate to childhood neglect and the big hole inside it leaves even when successfully launched into our adult lives…
Every child deserves to be loved and properly cared for.
I hope the smith family and all the others trying to make difference have every success. Even if we have no money to donate we can donate time, we can be kind to each other, we can notice the quiet person needing to be seen, we can be patient and compassionate with stressed out mums, we can stop to listen, offer support, try to see beyond. We can help.