This month’s new addition to alisonearlsALOUD was inspired by some of the bravest people I’ve met – the students at the Barrett Adolescent Centre in Queensland. For all of 2013, they were forced to live under the continual threat of the closure of the residential centre where they – teenagers with severe mental health issues – received comprehensive treatment and education. They kept going through the limbo of uncertainty over their future treatment, continual downsizing and staff changes at the centre and more, all ON TOP OF having to deal with the conditions they suffer that meant that the Barrett Centre had become the last hope for many of them. The end of January 2014 unfortunately means the end of the Barrett Centre. But I hope the courage that those young people have already shown will see them through the next year and on into a future where they can move closer to the more balanced lives they all deserve.
When I sat in on a class at Barrett in 2013, we talked about being brave. Although I have nothing to teach those young people on that subject, I was inspired to write something for younger readers/listeners about bravery – particularly as the new school year is beginning in many places. ‘Brave‘ is now listed on the ‘children’s stories’ page and can be found directly here with illustrations. (From the ‘children’s stories’ page, you can play the audio AND, when you click on the story icon, the word and pics page will open in a new window, so you look and listen at the same time.) It’s specifically for the under-8s but perhaps it doesn’t hurt for us all to remember that courage isn’t what you achieve – it’s simply facing your fear … when that really isn’t simple at all. And everyone who does that deserves to be called ‘Brave‘.