Australian Childhood Foundation: VRC’s 16th Pin & Win charity partner

29 May 2023 Written by VRC

The popular Pin & Win program is synonymous with the Melbourne Cup Carnival. It is just one of the ways that the Victoria Racing Club plays an active role in assisting community organisations. Australian Childhood Foundation is an organisation dedicated to healing children and young people from trauma and is the 2022-23 Pin & Win charity partner.

In 1986, Australian Childhood Foundation was started by a small but passionate group of professionals and community advocates who wanted to fix major problems in child protection.

Australian Childhood Foundation became the body to give children, whose pain was unacknowledged, a voice to ensure their safety and care became a priority within the community. They exist to restore the true meaning of childhood and work with children, young people, families, carers and professionals who share their passion and hope for these children. Today, the Foundation’s focus has not wavered.

Australian Childhood Foundation is the Victoria Racing Club’s 16th Pin & Win charity partner.

The iconic pin seen on so many lapels and outfits across Flemington throughout spring may be only a few centimetres in size, but it makes a huge contribution to the VRC’s charitable efforts. Since 1995, through the sale of the pins, charities have been provided the platform to raise more than $7.4 million, helping to change lives and support the community.

As well as offering luxury prizes to be won by Pin & Win purchasers, the success of the concept has been incremental, with ongoing innovations providing greater traction.

With Australian Childhood Foundation as VRC’s charity partner, the funds raised through Pin & Win will continue to help change lives of children hurt from trauma through their National Trauma Recovery Program. The program supports children and young people through specialist care and extends support to the important people that form circles of care around them throughout Australia, including remote and regional areas.

This year, Australian Childhood Foundation shared the story of Sophie*. Sophie* is the victim of intergenerational trauma due to family violence. Her mum didn’t get the help she needed to deal with her own childhood trauma, so when Sophie was born, there was no one to protect her. Sophie witnessed family violence and substance abuse. By age nine, she had lived in 20 different care placements. If children do not receive specialist care to address their trauma, the world can seem very scary and unpredictable, making it hard to develop into stable, healthy adults. Through Sophie, her carer, and mum all working with the Foundation, Sophie has slowly begun to trust again.

The Foundation’s team of specialist therapists are doing such important work to help children and parents heal their pain, breaking that intergenerational cycle of abuse and helping families reunite. Children and young people should never be responsible for protecting themselves. They need loving, informed and empowered adults to nurture them. Foster parents need specialist training to know how to build bonds with children who demonstrate challenging behaviours after experiencing trauma. And parents, who were themselves victims of abuse, need resources and support to resolve their own pain.

While they were able to help Sophie, unfortunately there are over 480,000 reports of child abuse in Australia each year. More children and young people who are living with trauma than we, as a nation, can manage.

The 2022-23 Pin & Win campaign is supported by Australian Childhood Foundation ambassadors, Stefan Dennis and Olivia Molly Rogers, who are both proud to be on board for the charity. 

Stefan Dennis, who played Paul Robinson in Neighbours, works tirelessly to bring the issue of child abuse to the community’s attention as an ambassador for Australian Childhood Foundation.

“This doesn’t just happen in books and movies – this is happening in our own backyards,” Dennis said.

“One of my dearest wishes is that all kids grow up being loved and nurtured and shown the right way through life, but above all, to be loved. To be loved unconditionally, the same as they do with us.

“And it is every child’s right to go to school and gain an education without carrying the burden of abuse or neglect. Often, their suffering is secret. They are unnoticed and unprotected. I am proud and delighted to contribute in any way I can, to help protect our children.”

Olivia Molly Rogers, author, artist, mental health advocate and key voice of the 2022-23 Pin & Win Campaign for Australian Childhood Foundation, uses her platform to facilitate discussions about mental health and encourage young Australians to reach their full potential.

“I am very passionate about helping vulnerable children live the best lives they can and reach their full potential,” she said.

“The work Australian Childhood Foundation does is so incredibly important. I look forward to helping the Foundation support more children to recover from the trauma of abuse and family violence through their National Trauma Recovery Program.”

Children and young people do not heal on their own. They need a network of adults and organisations focused on creating an environment dedicated to their recovery and healing from the trauma caused by abuse, neglect and family violence.

This partnership between the VRC and Australian Childhood Foundation will make a huge difference in enabling Australian Childhood Foundation to provide specialist support to more children and families who need it the most.

*The name ‘Sophie’ and stock image has been used to protect the identities of children and young people Australian Childhood Foundation work with.