GALLERY: Max Potential young entrepreneurs on show

The Max Potential 2014 showcase gave people the opportunity to observe the hard work of the 16 year 11 student participants of the 22-week leadership development program at Castle Hill RSL on Monday.

Students got creative with their displays with photographs, films and colourful displays of their community projects. From performance opportunity awareness, a newly built secret garden, drives to help the homeless and social justice conference, all focused on meeting a need.

Here three students tell the News about their projects and the legacy they hope to leave.

■ Geoff Bracken, of Kellyville High School, visited Castle Hill’s Flintwood Disability Services for two carer release days.

He enlisted the help of two volunteer students while taking part in food preparation for the homeless, a shopping trip, wood work and Sailability, a program that gives people with disabilities the chance to sail.

‘‘My sister’s friend at school had a brother who was confined to a wheelchair and was completely dependent on his family,’’ he said.

‘‘I saw the grief the family went through and  wondered if there was something in the community that could help these parents have a day off and retreat while their children are still cared for and enjoying themselves.

‘‘With this particular project I am hoping to build a bridge between my school and Flintwood in order to help the IEF unit [for students with disabilities] at our school.

‘‘I also want to encourage more students who are doing Max Potential to look towards disability because they’re  some of the best people they will meet.’’

■  Georgia Bennetts, of Model Farms High School, Baulkham Hills, made activity packs with books and toys for children who stay at Wesley Apartments while their siblings go through treatment at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

‘‘It’s something for them to have as their own when they’ve come away from where they’re comfortable,’’ se said.

‘‘They’re not forgotten, but the attention is on the child in hospital so this is something to make them feel valued and keep them occupied while they spend a lot of time hanging around at the hospital and apartments.’’

 Georgia received enough donations from Target, Dymocks and individuals to make about 50 packs and hopes to expand the project to make similar for refugee children.

‘‘It was inspiring, because it has shown just how generous people can be.

‘‘I’ve been told the children’s faces light up when they get them. That made me a bit teary when I first heard. It’s really nice.

‘‘I hope this is something we can keep going.’’

■ Dalia Al Haj Qasem, of Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School, donated 300 language dictionaries and children’s books to Villawood Detention Centre.

She also made a documentary film about four Afghani refugees’ experiences of detention.

Her research found the average stay in detention is now 253 days.

‘‘It’s really enriching and an eye-opener to see what they’ve experienced and hear all their stories,’’ she said.

‘‘All of them said in the video that thet feel like it’s a prison,’’ she said.

‘‘The fact that they all want an education and their positive outlook on life stood out. Even though they’ve been through so much they still have this will to continue and they think they’ve got a bright future.

‘‘It was nice to see so many people were willing to help, they just didn’t know how to go about it.’’

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