Bushfire Kids Connect Teams Up with Growing with Gratitude and Makers Empire for Naturally Brave

Following two years of partnering together to deliver the Bushfire Brave program, which helps students learn about bushfires and bushfire management and develop solutions to help bushfire-affected families, Bushfire Kids Connect, and Makers Empire are expanding their partnership to deliver the Naturally Brave program with Growing With Gratitude. Growing with Gratitude specialises in delivering mental wellbeing programs to schools.   
The Naturally Brave program for grade 3-6 students aims to:
  • Help students understanding their highest potential disaster risk in their local community context and creating a ‘disaster reduction risk action plan’ responsive to their location. 
  • Help students to be well-informed and understand why natural disasters happen, how they are controlled, their impact on the environment, and approaches to disaster management that promote sustainability. Indigenous land management will help us understand the importance of the why, where and how of natural disasters.
  • Support students’ emotional wellbeing by teaching skills including ownership and a focus on service to others (volunteering), self-awareness, gratitude, empathy and kindness, as well as coping strategies in an evacuation.
  • Empower students as problem solvers and creative designers who can make a difference in their families’ lives. Students will use the design thinking problem-solving methodology and 3D design to create solutions to help during an evacuation such as packing a bag, helping mum and dad, protecting animals etc.

Naturally Brave Pilot in SA

A Naturally Brave pilot is currently being run in the Riverland area of South Australia with nine schools: Berri Primary School; Kingston on Murray Primary School; Cobdogla Primary School; Monash Primary School; Glossop Primary School; Loxton Primary School; Barmera Primary School; Renmark North Primary School; Our Lady of the River, and St Albert’s School, Loxton.

The pilot program is supported by the South Australian Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Joe Szakacs, and the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) via its Disaster Risk Reduction Grants program.

Teachers from participating schools recently came together for professional development and teacher training with Growing with Gratitude and Makers Empire staff, and guest speaker Jo Rea from Scotch College.

“The idea for our education program was created by my young son Sebastian and I after our experience in the 2019 (Adelaide Hills) Bushfires. Using 3D technology in schools we teach children to create innovative solutions and empathy towards those impacted by natural disasters in our communities through connection,” said Bushfire Kids Connect co-founder, Carly Ascott.  

“The Naturally Brave project is the ultimate disaster-ready initiative for young people, combining 3D technology, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and a focus on empowering and assisting those affected by natural disasters. It aims to equip young individuals with disaster-ready skills while nurturing empathy in those who haven’t experienced such calamities,” said Ash Manuel, founder of Growing with Gratitude.

Naturally Brave in SA and NSW in 2024

Bushfire Kids Connect, Growing With Gratitude and Makers Empire have received further funding from the federal government to extend the project for a further three years in South Australia and NSW with groups of 20 schools per state each year. 

More information will be available in due course. 

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