'Survival' workshops for Wudinna youth

Brock Wilkins, a high school student from the tiny town of Yaninee on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, shared his poignant story that saw him become a winner of the 2013/14 Heywire competition. He worked with other Heywirers to develop the ‘Tools of Survival’ idea, which was adopted and implemented by Mid West Health and Aged Care Inc in Wudinna, SA.

The goals of the program were for participants to have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to be independent, have the coping skills for everyday ‘survival’, the knowledge to make good choices throughout their lives, and the ability and confidence to adapt during their transition into adulthood.

This was delivered in a series of workshops for youth (target age 15-19 years) looking at: Peer Pressure & Bullying; Senior First Aid; Employment Skills / Career Pathway; Money Smart; Teen Life Coaching; Positive Mental Wellbeing; and Party Wise. The workshops were delivered by in-kind support from local agencies such as Centacare and TAFE SA, as well as externally contracted organisations.

The Heywire Youth Innovation grant of $8,200 enabled the youth of Wudinna and District the opportunity to participate in the program, and covered the costs of training resources and materials. One of the most popular workshops was DrumBeat, where students were taught skills in drumming to address issues of peer pressure and bullying. Some of the key messages students took away from that workshop were to listen to everyone’s beat, how peer pressure changes everyone’s rhythms, and that it’s OK to be different.

Guiding Circles was another popular workshop, aimed at guiding students towards career paths through a series of exercises and activities. The role playing exercises were particularly helpful, arming the participants with interview skills and tips.

Pre and post workshop evaluations showed that the program had a significant impact on participants. Many commented that they felt they had increased levels of confidence and resilience, increased life skills and knowledge, better understanding and awareness of good mental health and how to access help if necessary, as well as improved financial literacy skills.


In 2016, FRRR and our donor partners are again offering $100,000 in seed funding to assist not-for-profit community-based organisations in rural, regional and remote Australia adopt and act on one of the eight innovative Heywire project ideas. Find out more here.

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