Puddle Jumpers aims to bring joyful experiences to vulnerable children, writes founder and CEO Melanie Tate.
Puddle Jumpers Incorporated is a new not-for-profit, non-government organisation in Adelaide, focusing on children who don't live with their birth parents. It aims to support the social-development needs of vulnerable children and young people, including those who live with their grandparents or other relatives, in foster care or residential units, or who have been adopted. It intends to do this by giving them access to camps and other recreational activities designed to help them build resilience, develop self-confidence and self-esteem and overcome obstacles in their lives, while engaging in happy, fun experiences.
Puddle Jumpers is first and foremost about children. Other charities offer services to children in need, but these organisations may have religious or social-action affiliations. Puddle Jumpers is different because it starts and ends with children as its priority.
Puddle Jumpers is still in its establishment phase, and its potential services are endless. These services will respond to the needs of the community and as well as camps, might include homework clubs, babysitting services, mentoring and more. The goal is to provide these services to hundreds of children throughout South Australia.
As a volunteer-based charity, Puddle Jumpers plans to engage its helpers in a new way. It welcomes couples and families, and anyone aged 16 and over can apply to become a volunteer. The main criterion for volunteering at Puddle Jumpers is a genuine desire to help kids. Some children don't have people in their lives who want to spend time with them; this charity will engage volunteers to work with kids and help them realise they are valuable and important.
My family has benefited from being involved in working with kids in need. My sons, Max, five, and Oscar, three, are a part of Puddle Jumpers, and their involvement in a variety of charity work has helped shape their thinking about caring for others.
There has been significant support from the community, including those accessing Puddle Jumpers' Facebook page. The organisation has already benefited from several fundraising events and there are plans for charity auctions, market stalls and other fundraisers in the near future.
Puddle Jumpers has secured donated office space and is expected to be fully operational by Christmas 2012, after which the charity will be officially launched.
For more information, visit www.jumpinallthepuddles.org.
This article first appeared in the November 2012 edition of Adelaide's Child.