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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5946


Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (22:25): I rise tonight to highlight the great work done by Neil Davis and Nat Cook, who head up the Sammy D Foundation. This foundation was established in 2008 out of quite devastating circumstances. Their 17-year-old son Sam was tragically killed after being assaulted at a house party in Brighton. Sam was a promising young footballer and an extremely popular local teenager but his life was suddenly cut short when he became the victim of a fatal assault. It was really a case of being in the right place at the wrong time. However, through this tragedy there has been some light. Through the establishment of the Sammy D Foundation, Neil and Nat have used this personal tragedy to reach out to vulnerable young people in the community. Since the foundation was set up, Neil and Nat have given over 100 presentations to local young people and community groups, delivering positive messages about harm prevention, safe partying, the importance of mateship and the importance of making positive life choices.

Most recently, the Sammy D Foundation organised the Own It art gallery launch at the Reynella Youth Centre. The launch presented an opportunity for young people in guardianship care at Noarlunga Downs residential unit to express themselves and to showcase their skills. The aim of the art gallery launch was twofold. It allowed young people to gain confidence in their own skills and it also allowed the local community to see and to celebrate what these young people have achieved.

There are currently around 12 people at the Noarlunga Downs residential unit aged between eight and 15 years. The unit is for young people who are not currently able to live with their families and for many of them life has been extremely tough. Throughout their time at the unit, Families SA works with these young people to transition them into more mainstream accommodation, to place them with families if they are ready for it or to support them to live independently when they reach an appropriate age. The Sammy D Foundation works with these young people at the unit to guide them to reach their full potential and to mentor them through challenges they may face.

As part of the PEER Connect program, volunteers from the Sammy D Foundation regularly visit young people at the Noarlunga Downs residential unit to connect them with other groups in the community and to provide them with opportunities to experience new things, maybe to just have a chat and gain some confidence. Some of the activities include sports, cooking workshops, visits to surf-lifesaving clubs and art classes. The Own It exhibition showed some wonderful paintings on canvas. The Unchain My Art workshops had been conducted, as well as cooking workshops. It was an absolute pleasure to attend the launch of this artwork because the artwork was truly impressive. I was touched by the brightness and hopefulness in each piece. I am not able to mention all of the pieces but just a few, including a painting entitled 'Rainbow and Birds' by a nine-year-old boy who said he wanted to paint rainbows because they are colourful and birds because they are free. An 11-year-old produced a lovely painting of birds flying in the sun which he called 'From the Heart'. One particular ecologically aware nine-year-old painted a bush on a beautiful blue and red background to make the statement that plants are good for the environment. These wonderful artworks will hang in the Reynella Youth Centre until these young people are transitioned out of guardianship care, at which point they will be able to take the canvas with them into the next stage of their lives. This idea was thought up by Nat and Neil at the Sammy D Foundation. I congratulate everyone invo-lved—the volunteers, the young people—in this fantastic event. I wish the Sammy D Foundation all the luck in the future. I know they will do a great job.

The SPEAKER: Order! It being 10.30 pm, the debate is interrupted.

House adjourned at 22:30