The commissioner for children and young people listened to the hopes and dreams of Mid Murray students last week

ENGAGING: Helen Connolly (centre), caught up with students from Mannum Community College for the 'Hopes and Dreams' tour. Photo: Emma Zirkel.
ENGAGING: Helen Connolly (centre), caught up with students from Mannum Community College for the 'Hopes and Dreams' tour. Photo: Emma Zirkel.

In an effort to engage with regional youth, and to ensure their voices are heard, the commissioner for children and young people, Helen Connolly, brought her ‘Hopes and Dream’s tour to the Mid Murray.

Ms Connolly visited three schools in the region – Swan Reach Area school, Cambrai Primary and Mannum Community College – to host consultation sessions with students.

Ms Connolly said the sessions allowed her to listen to the dreams and aspirations of children in the region before writing up a report.

The ‘Hopes and Dreams’ tour follows Ms Connolly’s ‘Listening Tour’, which she embarked on last year.  “As the inaugural commissioner for children and young people, when I started my role I went out and asked kids across South Australia a number of things,” she said.

“Of the things that came out of that was a sense that kids in regional communities said there were many great things about living in the country, but weighed it up with some of the things that were different from metropolitan areas.”

Ms Connolly said this acted as inspiration to go back out in regional communities and further engage with children there.

“I wanted to talk with them about what their hopes and dreams are for the future and what their communities could do to support them to achieve that,” she said.

Ms Connolly explained that a report would be put together once all visits to the 10 regional communities on the tour had been completed.

“The idea then is to take that report back out to the communities and take it to the people who make decisions in their communities, whether it is local, state or federal government leaders to give them a bit of a snapshot of what children have discussed,” Ms Connolly said.

Ms Connolly said during consultation sessions she encouraged students to discuss what their hopes and dreams were for their future.

“It can be anything from what kind of work they want to do, what kind of house they want to live in, just anything that they would like to discuss or share,” she said.