The Australian Kookaburra Kids (Kookaburra) supports kids living in families affected by mental illness. They offer recreational, educational camps and other activities, giving kids a break in a fun and supportive environment. Kookaburra camps give kids the opportunity to learn about mental illness and how it can affect families and relationships; share their experiences with kids in similar situations and develop their coping strategies and resilience.
In addition to the provision of funds for operating expenses and capacity building, PAYCE Foundation works closely with the Kookaburra team to identify additional partnership opportunities. In 2017 Kookaburra launched Taking Flight with PAYCE Foundation as a founding member. Taking Flight is a mentoring program for graduating children of the core program who are in need of guidance and support as they approach the end of school and have to make decisions about their future. The program, co-designed with the beneficiary group, aims to build employable, resilient and confident young people who are not disadvantaged by their family’s experience of mental illness.
PAYCE Foundation has also supported Kookaburra Kids through volunteering. Kookaburra camps and activity days can only happen with the assistance of volunteers. PAYCE has sent staff along to a number of activity days to provide supervision and support. PAYCE staff members have relished the opportunity to engage directly with the kids at Kookaburra, finding the experience both challenging and rewarding.