Home' The Southern Cross : June 2015 Contents Page 14 June 2015
World Environment Day June 5
Twice a week in Exeter a group
of women join to hand-make
natural health and beauty
products to help each other and
fellow women facing the unique
challenges of life after prison.
In the process they are breaking
down the community stigma
faced by ex-prisoners and are
regaining their confidence and
sense of belonging.
Former Adelaide Women’s
prisoner Linda Fisk said starting a
new life outside was daunting.
“I found it very isolating and
very lonely,” she said. She was
released in 1994 and was living
in an Adelaide suburb with her
children far from the criminal
associations of her past.
“It was just me and my children
in a new suburb and I didn’t feel
like a member of the community; I
didn’t have the confidence to join
in; I didn’t feel like I belonged.”
Linda’s parole officer Anna Kemp
understood her frustration. “There
were virtually no support services
out in the community for women
released from prison and there
was a need for it,” said Anna.
Anna began a casual weekly
meeting with women involved in
the criminal justice system and
by 2006 the Seeds of Affinity –
Pathways for Women Inc. came
Anna’s love of toiletries led her
to complete a course in soap-
making to help attract women
to the weekly get-togethers and
keep them actively connected
by learning new skills, including
researching, making and
marketing new products.
Today the group produces its own
rage of natural beauty and health
products for men and women
including moisturisers, bath
bombs, soaps, and a pet friendly
soap. The funds raised help keep
the support group running.
The group recently began making
biscuits, including gluten free,
and hosting workshops to raise
community awareness of the
difficulties women face upon re-
entering society after prison.
Anna said all the women involved
in the support group had not
returned to prison.
“Criminalised women have
complex needs prior to
imprisonment and following
release from prison, so Seeds of
Affinity gives them a focal point in
that post-prison blur and a bridge
that helps them move forward
with their lives,” said Anna.
Seeds of Affinity was
incorporated in 2011 and last
month was chosen as the charity
being supported by the Australian
Church Women (ACW) for the
year. A morning tea to kick-off
fundraising by the ACW was held
on May 8 at the Pilgrim Uniting
Church Hall in Adelaide.
The South Australian unit of the
ACW is made up of delegates
from the Anglican, Catholic,
Churches of Christ, Uniting,
Lutheran, Presbyterian churches
and the Salvation Army.
Catholic member Maureen Clark,
president of the ACW in SA,
said Seeds of Affinity was the
charity being supported in 2015
because it was a worthy cause
helping women coming from
prison find their way back into the
community and in turn helping
others along the way.
LIFE AFTER PRISON: (L-R) Correctional Services social worker
Anna Kemp and Linda Fisk with members of the Seeds of Affinity
support group for women released from prison.
Church women support ex-prisoners
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart student
Katerina Grypma is putting her passion for
the environment into action.
The Year 12 student and college captain
is producing a community garden at the
school for her SACE Stage 2 research
She has also created the OLSH School
Environment Management Plan, which
involves setting goals relating to the
school’s sustainability, environmental
awareness and involvement.
Her community garden not only produces
edible vegetables for home economics
classes and the St Vincent de Paul
Society, but also plants for use in art
and science, in line with one of the goals
outlined in the plan.
Katerina has completed and analysed her
research and has created a garden design
kit. The kit features a brief which has been
given to students and encourages them
to contribute their own ideas, in order
to create a sense of involvement and
ownership by the OLSH community.
These ideas will be interpreted into a
final design and soon after, gardening will
OLSH deputy principal Simon Stevens
said environmental awareness had long
been an important part of the culture at
the college and “an expression of our
“Our Year 10 retreat has always been
focused on the awe and wonder of God’s
creation and was an inspiration for the
college’s Eco Club establishing can
and bottle recycling many years ago to
sponsor animals at the Adelaide Zoo,” he
“New environmental co-curricula
initiatives, generating active student
participation in environmental outreach
including Clean Up Australia Day,
conducting bin audits and gardening
are a prominent feature in the life of the
Over the past two years, OLSH has
participated in the Youth Environment
Forum, a joint initiative of the State
Government Natural Resources Board and
KESAB. A grant from the Schools Natural
Resource Management Action Grants
Scheme resulted in the creation of a native
butterfly garden in an under-utilised area
of the college.
St Anthony’s Primary School, in Millicent,
recently opened a sacred space in their
school grounds which is attracting as many
students as it is natural wildlife.
The garden area was created by school
students for prayer and to raise greater
awareness of environmental stewardship.
“From an environmental perspective, there
has already been a noticeable increase in
the insect and birdlife that has visited as
well as a couple of frogs which have made
the pond their home,” said St Anthony’s
environmental sustainability coordinator and
project manager Julian Rebellato.
Almost all of the garden space’s natural
materials have been sourced from local
areas and all plants, except two Lisbon
Lemon trees (Lisbon is the birthplace of St
Anthony), are indigenous to the local area,
or native to Australia.
At the gate of the scared space are the
words of St Anthony: “Let your words teach
and your action speak”, and of St Mary of
the Cross MacKillop: “Never see a need
without doing something about it”.
There is a crucifix-shaped pond and a
circular path – taking inspiration from the
prayer experience of the mandala – which
leads to a mirror where students come
face to face with the image of God in
“With the space only being open for a few
weeks, the students have been eager to use
it as a place of stillness during recess and
lunch breaks,” said Mr Rebellato.
“It is a place to pray, reflect, still the heart,
mind and soul, enjoy nature and a place
just to be,” he said.“This space...celebrates
who we are: the respect that we have for
all of life, whether it be person, plant or
animal,” he said.
REFLECTING WITH NATURE: (L-R) St Anthony’s School students Letitia Izzo,
Winston Figg, teacher Julian Rebellato, Harry Mules and Mia Grant in the new
sacred space created at the Millicent school.
Millicent’s sacred space
GREEN THUMB: Katerina Grypma works in the front garden at OLSH. She is doing
her research project on an environmental management plan for the school.
Green culture at OLSH
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