It is important for us to hear what the teachers say about the Foundation Days. They are the people who know the children and can see the impact the day has on individuals. Please read on for a few of the comments we have received.
Di Scott – Tea Tree Gully Primary School, Adelaide
You changed lives here… just by bringing hope. I’m eternally grateful.
Tea Tree Gully Primary School didn’t know how lucky they were when Sue and Mark Harris visited Adelaide Australia from the UK. Due to a connection with Mark’s cousin, I was approached by Mark with an opportunity to be a part of the RNJ Gift of Golf Charity Foundation. Despite the narrow time frame Mark and Sue were able to replicate the experiences they provided in the UK for a very special group of young children at my school. Eight vulnerable students were carefully selected with strong parental approval for their children to be involved in this innovative opportunity.
The day began with some fabulous golf coaching at our local Tea Tree Gully Golf Club. Students really immersed themselves in all the skill building activities and in particular the driving range experience. Observing the coach, the students and supporting adults it was clear that a high level of respect and appreciation was in place. Regardless of the issues and vulnerabilities these children face in their everyday lives, they came together through this experience, and created a collaborative and cohesive team. Their behaviour was exemplary and we send our sincere appreciation to Mark and Sue and the staff of TTG Golf Course for the opportunity to be part of such a magical and rewarding experience. It is one these children are going to remember all their lives. It was clear for all of us to see that a couple of the students demonstrated some real talent and interest in golf. This has resulted in us exploring golf as a PE activity on a regular basis at the school level.
Following the golf experience we travelled to a local shopping mall, where the eight students had the opportunity to participate in a fabulous cooking experience with their own personal chief as part of his “Home Fresh” business. This included the children planning and shopping for all ingredients under Steve’s expert guidance. They created a delicious crumbed chicken and mediterranean main course followed by a decadent chocolate, cream and strawberry desert. Seeing the absolute joy and pride the children experienced was heart warming and brought a tear to the adult’s eyes. Many of these students had never attempted to cook a meal, in fact they probably never have believed they were capable of it. Fussy eaters tried foods they had previously dismissed and they celebrated with each other as they devoured their delicious creations. What a fabulous opportunity Mark and Sue were able to provide – an experience these children are unlikely to forget.
Following lunch the students were transported to an indoor fun park where they enthusiastically worked in teams to beat their opponents in several games of laser attack and even some of the adults joined in. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Some mini golf and free play on the massive climbing equipment finished of a truly memorable day.
Sincere thanks to Mark and Sue for this opportunity and for providing such an amazing experience for our students. They haven’t stopped talking about it and as a result new friendships and connections have been forged within this special group of young people.
I urge others to consider donating generously this extremely worthy charity and in doing so know that you will continue to honour Ricki’s life by providing opportunities for young people to experience the joy of being a child and creating special memories.
Thank you Mark and Sue.
Matt Barron – Head Teacher – St Johns Comprehensive School, Gravesend
Ricky Neil-Jones was a past student of St John’s Comprehensive and we were extremely fortunate to be invited by his parents to nominate a group of our own pupils to participate in the RNJ Foundation’s first golfing event.
After discussion with a number of senior and pastoral staff, it was decided to invite 12 children from a variety of year groups to participate in this opportunity, and we chose students who had been encountering challenges or vulnerabilities in their day-to-day life, either as a result of extreme ill-health, social or emotional difficulties. We have a real diversity of pupil backgrounds of St John’s and there were many other ‘underprivileged’ pupils that we could have chosen to be a part of this programme therefore, in my humble opinion, there is clearly a genuine need for such a charitable foundation to be in existence.
For the majority of the students involved, the day out gave them the opportunity to experience activities which they were unlikely to have been fortunate enough to try before and it was an absolute delight to see how much pleasure and enjoyment they gained. The lesson they received from a professional golf coach gave them confidence, a much needed boost to their self-esteem and aspirations to improve their skills in the future. Students were then generously treated to a meal out, in addition to sessions at a trampoline park, a climbing wall and outdoor crazy golf.
As well as the practical skills they gained, the students made valuable new friendships, worked closely in teams and bonded as a group. We are tremendously grateful to the Foundation for enabling a few of our students to enjoy such a wonderful day and we are happy to fully support their charitable registration.
Paula Cooneyhan – Deputy Head Teacher – St Johns Primary School, Gravesend
Thank you again for selecting our school to participate in a Foundation Day, the children who accompanied us for the day had an absolutely fantastic day.
Following a meeting with Sue and Mark about the work they currently do and the future aspirations they have for the impact of the RNJ Foundation, SLT selected children from year 5 and 6 who we felt would benefit from this amazing experience for a multitude of challenging reasons including the bereavement of one or both of their parents, children who experience difficulties on a day to day basis due to a specific learning need, children who have a difficult home life and miss out on days out due to the needs of siblings. The Foundation day was an amazing opportunity for these children to experience activities they have not been able to do so before.
As a school we feel that there is a need for this organisation to help and support these children. The children had so much fun throughout the day, they also built new friendships, confidence began to shine through and these children felt special and valued.
The children were extremely grateful at the end of their day – they received personal certificates highlighting their personal achievement from the day – again reinforcing that they are special and valued. For many children it was their first opportunity to learn golfing skills and even visiting a trampoline park was a new experience for some.
The RNJ Foundation is an amazing organisation and we are happy to fully support their charitable registration.