Successful book launch

Successful book launch

Gavin Grace has helped Grovelands Primary School students write their own books about confronting challenges in life. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

An Armadale organisation helping children at-risk of depression has launched its own books based on those children’s stories.

Gavin Grace is the head of Armadale-based start-up Art Vs Depression, which runs programs designed to help residents of all ages confront personal struggles.

As a part of his latest program Resilient Friends Club he travelled to Grovelands Primary School in Camillo to help students open up about issues like domestic violence and losing a loved one.

Mr Grace said the program had given the children a chance to discuss their own problems.

“We went into their stories, we worked with the children, expanded the stories and then turned them into adventures,” he said.

“The benefit is not having these things hidden anymore.

“They belong out in the open with your family where mums and dads can work with you.

“We’ve given them the simple tools, a piece of paper and some crayons, and that strategy alone is enough to bring everybody who needs to come into your life, into your life.”

The books were made for 11 students, were about 20 pages each and featured images and texts by the children.

Once the children had completed their stories they were enhanced with the help of volunteer professional artists.

The books were unveiled at the school on June 29 with Member for Armadale Tony Buti, Member for Burt Matt Keogh and City of Armadale mayor Henry Zelones attending.

Dr Buti gave a book reading at the launch and said he was impressed with the program.

“I loved the message it was sending including the fact that being different does not mean one cannot make a contribution in society,” he said.

“Being positive to people who are different or do not fit into what we expect can make a real difference.”

The Resilient Friends Club has taken off in recent months and the organisation has a representative currently running its program in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa.

Mr Grace has also been contacted by education and mental health experts in the United Kingdom who he said had asked for more information on the program.