Message to the Commissioner ‘Tell Helen’ Postcard Project

What is it?

 

As the South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, I am concerned that the voices of children between the ages of 8 and 12 years are not being heard.  I want to hear what ideas and opinions this age group has as well as what is most important to children in this age group.  I want to raise awareness of their concerns and where possible advocate for their participation and input into decision making and design of services that impact on them.  

Background

My work as Commissioner for Children and Young People is directly informed by listening to the views and opinions of children and young people living in South Australia. I have heard that the voices of 8 – 12 year olds are often not heard and in guiding the work of my office I devised a project that would enable this group of South Australians to tell me what is most important to them. 

I launched my inaugural Message to the Commissioner (‘Tell Helen’) Postcard project in 2019 and received 8,429 postcard responses from all over the state. The responses came from South Australian children aged 8-12 years attending Catholic, Independent, Government, Special, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Behavioural Schools and represented 239 schools. The success of the inaugural ‘Tell Helen’ postcards project cemented it as a sentinel activity that I have decided to continue year on year, providing tens of thousands of 8-12 year olds in South Australia with an opportunity to participate, at scale, in a project designed to have their opinions gathered and reported upon over a longitudinal timeframe. 

 

Project Overview

The aims of the ‘Tell Helen’ Post Card project are:

  • To significantly bolster student agency and civic participation for 8 – 12 year old children.
  • To encourage children aged 8 – 12 years to identify and share what aspects of their lives are most important to them.
  • To provide children aged 8 – 12 years with greater awareness of the Commissioner and her work.
  • To provide children aged 8 – 12 years with an opportunity to have their voices heard by sending a message to the Commissioner who will advocate on their behalf policy and decision makers on matters impacting on them on their behalf.

Find out more about the Commissioner's Tell Helen Post Card Project