Founded 15 years ago, KidzWish is a local charity with a clear mission – to shine light on the lives of children from the Illawarra and South Coast who are sick, disadvantaged or have a disability, while ensuring children and their families are supported and loved. “Our message is ‘never stop dreaming’, and we want as many people in the Illawarra to hear it,” says Karouna Micheal from the foundation. “KidzWish has become a symbol of support, love and laughter to both young and old.” Over the years, the charity has helped more than 50,000 children and carers, something that KidzWish is rightfully proud of. By providing support programs, families don’t have to seek help outside of the region. “We are a small team making a big impact, and all funds raised in the Illawarra stay in the Illawarra,” says Karouna.
The KidzWish programs provide essential early intervention services to children in their everyday environments – they include speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and music/dance/sports experiences. There are also love programs, which are all about helping children shine through granting wishes, and laughter programs that give children and their families the opportunity to come together and share joy. Child ambassadors also play a vital role within KidzWish – representing thousands of children who KidzWish support from year to year.
To address the growing demand for KidzWish services and ensure more children and families have increased access to programs, the charity plan on opening a new KidzWish Place in Flinders. The new space includes six therapy rooms, a music and dance studio, a multipurpose sports hall, rooms, covered play area and even a magic cupboard full of toys. “Our first KidzWish Place in Shell Cove only had one room to cater for all our programs and consequently couldn’t meet the growing demand, which is why a new KidzWish Place is an essential community resource to the families that receive the many programs we provide,” says Karouna. “With a new and improved KidzWish Place we can assist over 10,000 children annually.” Throughout the year, KidzWish hosts many events to raise funds and awareness, such as The Bridge