Bundaberg North State School wins 2014 Resilient Australia Award

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Bundaberg North State School is a joint winner of the 2014 Resilient Australia Awards for its BEAR Plan, which has successfully assisted students to overcome trauma associated with the 2013 floods.

Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said the Resilient Australia Awards recognise the outstanding contributions communities were making to disaster management including risk assessment and mitigation, education, training and research, community awareness and engagement, as well as response and recovery.

“Many of this year’s awarded projects are effectively addressing local needs and building a greater understanding about potential risks through education and increased community participation,” Mr Keenan said.

“The work of these organisations, groups and individuals are helping to prepare our nation for future adverse events.”

A total of 24 projects have been recognised from 160 entries.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said a significant number of Bundaberg North State School students experienced trauma, losing possessions, homes and pets.

“The school became the hub for physical and emotional support and developed the BEAR Plan to provide ongoing support for students and their families. Students were taught calming strategies based on the letters B.E.A.R: Breathe, Exit, Ask, Relax,” Mr Pitt said.

“By teaching deep breathing, along with other strategies such as moving to a safe location, checking their negative self-talk and some relaxing activities, the students became better able to cope in the classroom.

“Students were also given teddy bears to help calm them when they became emotionally overwhelmed. Having a school teddy bear for comfort also provided a secure safe connection.”

The Bundaberg Regional Council Flood Recovery program provided funding to assist the school to purchase of a range of products to help the students remember the BEAR Plan, including wristbands, rulers, water bottles and fridge magnets.

The Queensland Country Women’s Association members donated more than 300 teddy bears to the school.

Bundaberg North State School was one of 17 winners at the state and territory level, who automatically became finalists in the national competition.

Bundaberg North was devastated by floods in 2013. Nearly every home was inundated and sustained significant damage.

Media contacts:
Emily Broadbent 0400 390 008 (Minister Keenan’s office) and Larine Statham 0427 653 814 (Mr Pitt’s office)

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