Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide (UCWPA) is a non-profit community service supporting more than 25,000 people each year, and is part of Australia’s national Uniting Care network. More than 800 staff and volunteers deliver a diverse range of programs including aged care, community welfare and employment services. All working towards empowering people in need, building communities and strengthening families.

Most of us take for granted the fact we can have a conversation with our neighbour or our child’s teacher or doctor, but if you are a new Australian and English isn’t your first language, even a simple exchange of greetings can be a challenge.

In new Australian households, English is rarely, if ever, spoken at home. Instructions are given, songs are sung and books are read in their native language. UCWPA, in conjunction with Paint the Town REaD, are assisting new Australian and disadvantaged families in an effort to get more books into homes through their early literacy community scheme Paint the Town REaD.

The scheme encourages the whole community to read, talk, sing and rhyme with children from youth, so they will be ready for reading and writing at school. They also aim to teach early literacy skills including attention, listening, language, awareness of sounds, symbols and alphabet, book-handling skills, drawing and shape-copying.

Paint the Town REaD holds an Annual Read Day. In South Australia this revolves around their mascot Parker the Pelican. When RRT attended the event last year, Parker hatched from his shell. This year, Parker celebrated his first birthday in style! Hundreds of new Australian and disadvantaged families attended the event, which included music, action songs, group readings, take home bi-lingual books, and of course – birthday cup-cakes!

A team of 9 RRT volunteers were asked to provide an evening meal. This included nearly 20kgs of halal sausages and approximately 300 vegetarian patties with onion, bread and sauce for the primary and pre-schoolers and their families, the UCW and Paint the Town REaD volunteers. Even Parker himself was spotted scoffing a sausage! RRT are grateful for the opportunity to be able to give back to communities in need and be part of this worthy cause.

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