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A way forward for the Parents & Friends’ Associations
The June P&F meeting was a milestone event for the Helena College community. Not only did it mark the COVID-delayed first meeting of the year, it marked the first step in the journey towards building the next iteration of the College’s vital parent network.
It also allowed the two P&Fs, Darlington and Glen Forrest, who voted last year to amalgamate, to select the projects that are to benefit from the funds remaining in the respective P&F accounts.
The chosen projects towards which the P&Fs will contribute include:
- Glen Forrest: Landscaping and outdoor furniture for the refurbished Caretaker’s Cottage*, as well as additional outdoor furniture for around the campus.
- Darlington: revamp of the amphitheater outdoor space, shade sails, and outdoor furniture.
Richelle Romasz, outgoing P&F President, provided an overview of the proposed new focus of the amalgamated P&Fs, provisionally called the ‘Friends of Helena College’. The Friends’ group will not be an incorporated association but will sit under the umbrella of the Helena College Council.
The focus of the ‘Friends of Helena College’ is to build community links across both campuses, through organizing activities for the community – this could include guest speaker evenings, dances, parent socials and family-friendly events. In addition, the Friends group will still undertake fundraising activities, but on a project-by-project basis, with defined outcomes and benefits.
The current P&F structure requires a significant investment of time by volunteers, and with many families already time-poor, the major commitment required to joining the P&F Committee has proved to be off-putting to many who would otherwise like to get involved. The proposed new ‘Friends’ model will still provide opportunities for parents to actively contribute to the life of the College but without many of the heavy administrative tasks required of an independently incorporated body.
The outgoing P&F committee is seeking expressions of interest for parents and community members who would like to participate in the establishment of the Friends of Helena College. ProvisionaFriends of Helena College Terms of Reference are available for review. If you would like to be involved, please contact the College by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The old caretaker’s cottage is being refurbished to provide a student-centric space that will include ‘chill out zones’ (indoor and outdoor) and offices for the College Psychologist, College Nurse and Learning Support team. P&F funding will focus on the outdoor aspect of the refurbishment. Students will be involved in choosing a new name for the cottage.