On the beautiful Autumn afternoon of Sunday, 19 May 2019, we were treated to a spectacular high tea event, “An Afternoon with Jo Stanley”, at the Karralyka Centre in Ringwood East.

Jo Stanley was MC for the day, and, for someone who professes not to do stand up comedy anymore, it took her only a few minutes to have the audience in stitches about “how she got noticed”. Jo was absolutely fantastic in the way that she entertained and interviewed our other guests with genuine warmth, humour and sensitivity.

Netball legend, Bianca Chatfield was also terrific, giving us a mix of the highs and lows of her life as an international sportswoman and as a contestant on The Block. The interplay between Bianca and Jo was fun to watch.

Our designated charity for a grant from raffle proceeds was Spectrum Journeys whose mission is “Equipping and empowering Carers and Educators as they support children on the Autism Spectrum to flourish”. CEO and Founder, Kate Johnson, told a compelling story about her journey with her child on the autism spectrum, how that led to her establishing Spectrum Journeys and how they are helping people to support children on the spectrum by helping the people that need to help them – parents, carers and teachers.

Councillor Marijke Graham and Edwina Ricci, Head of Positive Education (HOPE) at Heathmont College, filled us in on a wonderful educational revolution that is happening in schools across Maroondah – the Maroondah Positive Education Network. Using a positive psychology approach, our children are getting an enriched education experience focused on their individual strengths.

The panel session with Jo, Bianca, Kate and Edwina was also really informative and enjoyable.

One special mention to Bendigo Bank Mooroolbark. As our major sponsor, they had paid for a table for the event but couldn’t make it. Instead they donated the table to Spectrum Journeys allowing Kate to bring her team along and enjoy the day. They also separately sponsor Spectrum Journeys directly – what fantastic community citizens they are.

And we have had a bit of feedback on the event like:

“Thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s Foothills event. Loved hearing from all of the speakers about the inspiring ways they are supporting people in challenging circumstances in our community. It really is the little things that go such a long way to make a difference. Very worthwhile.”  Megan, Croydon.

“I had an amazing afternoon.Inspirational speakers, fantastic food and extremely tempting prizes. Let me know when the next event is on and I’ll be there.”  Fiona, Ringwood East.

“The whole afternoon was great. I especially thought the insight on the challenges faced of a carer with an autistic child was very informative. Having the high tea and the raffle was a good way of keeping the afternoon informal but still getting the messages across to the community.” Karen, Mooroolbark.

“That was a fantastic afternoon.” Alicia, Croydon

Thank you, everyone who contributed to a great fund raising event to help those in need in our community of Maroondah, Yarra Ranges and surrounds.