Sydney Guardian centres on a mission to use recycling to help children in need

by Freya Lucas

July 12

For the month of July, eight Guardian Early Learning centres in Sydney, New South Wales, are joining forces to collect 10,000 plastic bottle caps, which will be turned into prosthetic hands for children in developing countries.  

 

The project began with Caringbah Centre Manager, Peta Kiellor, reaching out to the cluster of centres to see if they wanted to work together to collect a mammoth amount of plastic bottle caps. 

 

Operations Manager, Sonja Baker, supported the idea, with Guardian Garden Street Centre Manager, Kate Hatziz, saying “Sonja thought it would be a great idea for us to get out into the community and collect things that we use all the time. Not only is the project great for sustainability, but it’s something that the families really want to get involved in”

 

“Our families love getting involved in community projects and helping out at the centre, so this project was the perfect way to teach the children valuable lessons and make a difference, without necessarily donating money,” Ms Hatziz shared.

 

For the team at Garden Street, launching their ‘Lids for Kids’ initiative has been a huge success with families and children in the centre having collected 485 lids only a week and a half into the project.

 

Ms Hatziz said the initial response was a great incentive for the team to kickstart some other initiatives once Lids for Kids has finished. 

 

The bottle lids will be sent to Envision, who melt down the lids, put them through a 3D printer and create prosthetic hands for children in third-world countries.

 

Each of the eight centres involved in collecting bottle lids has engaged their families a little differently, with Ms Hatzis saying the Garden Street display, featuring “Sid the Lid Monster” was a big hit with children and families. 

 

The sign on Sid’s belly reads ‘feed me your lids so I don’t eat your kids’.

 

“Parents often pretend that Sid is going to eat the children, and playfully close the lid on their hands.” Ms Hatzis said, adding that “Sid makes the whole experience really playful and fun. Everyone who comes into the centre has a laugh at him” 

 

The children are very involved in the project, she outlined, purposefully collecting lids from their homes and bringing them in each morning, monitoring Sid’s process throughout the day, then counting the lids before they go home.

 

Lids for Kids has started some fascinating conversations amongst the rooms, including the preschool room exploring the effects of plastic and recycling, and discussing what would be happening to the lids if they weren’t collecting them, showing the broader applications of the project.

 

The project has also created space for discussions on diversity and inclusion, with Ms Hatzis saying; 

 

“We have to start off slow, explaining that some children don’t have the same things we have, or that some children have had accidents or have been born differently and need some extra help – that they need magic hands.”

 

She said the children had been responding “really well to the information – we definitely don’t give children enough credit for how understanding they can be.”

 

If you would like more information on Envision and their project, head to their website or their Facebook page – and be sure to check out the Guardian Facebook page to find out the total tally of lids collected. 

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