A TRARALGON children’s mental health program set in the “fun environment” of a fast food restaurant is hoping to expand across the Latrobe Valley.
The Life Skills Program, run by psychotherapist Vicky Omifolaji, is seeking volunteers to increase its program to Gippsland areas including Warragul, Churchill, Morwell and Moe.
The program was created for children struggling with behavioural and mental heath problems.
“I developed a program to help them feel listened to,” Ms Omifolaji said.
“I wanted to run the program in a fun way, not in a classroom setting, so I run it in (a fast food restaurant).”
Through the program, children from ages five to their early 20s meet at the fast food restaurant where they take part in fun activities while receiving support from trained volunteers.
With most children utilising the service from single parent households, the program allows local businesses to sponsor a child to attend, assisting with the costs.
Ms Omifolaji said the program helped children manage their emotions and cope with life’s stresses.
“Each week (through the service) we focus on a practical life skill such as anger management and problem solving,” she said.
“We work with the participants, providing strategies to deal with the challenges of life.”
Ms Omifolaji said she wanted to get as many volunteers as possible on board to make the program available throughout the broader community.
“This project, it’s my baby,” she said.
“I want to run it in all towns in the Latrobe Valley and I am about to start in Morwell.
“But we also have clients in Churchill who would prefer it (to be held) in Churchill and I have interest from Warragul.
“I would love to, but I need more volunteers.”
Volunteers are provided with full training and no experience is necessary.
To find out more or to volunteer, phone 1300 850 839.