CIMF 2018 Masthead

Celebrate strength with Kites for Karralika

Beatrice Smith

As the holiday season draws near, we focus in on what we care about most.

Whether this is family, friends or perhaps even just enjoying the comfort of your own home, it’s also the time to think about those who are less fortunate.

A local organisation that cares for those struggling with the impact of alcohol and other drug use not just during the holiday season, but all year around, is Karralika Programs.

Karralika’s drug and alcohol programs allow Canberrans to understand the reasons for their drug use and make changes in their lives in a supportive and caring environment with the help of qualified staff. Charlie’s* story is demonstrative of the power of change.

“I was a worker my whole life. I travelled around Australia for my work and had a pretty strong sense of who I was,” says Charlie.

“[Then] tragedy struck…my adult son was killed in a horrible accident and I was left feeling hopeless and vulnerable. When I moved to a new town, I got caught up with some people that offered me a distraction from my pain. This distraction was the drug Ice and I got caught up in a world that I never knew existed prior to this.”

“Eventually I was caught in a Police Operation and I was sentenced to jail…This is where I hit my ‘rock bottom’. Sitting in my jail cell, and clean for the first time in a long time, I suddenly realised the impacts of the choices that I had been making.”

Charlie entered the Karralika Therapeutic Community and soon began to see the breadth of opportunities that were available to participants who were determined to move forward.

“The program was set up to help people to look at their lives and where things had gone wrong, to do this with other people who were also fair dinkum about having a better life,” explains Charlie.

“I left the program and was offered Outreach via phone and face to face appointments when I could attend. I continued to get support for the issues that came up for me and I continue to work on my recovery.”

Now 39 months clean from alcohol and drugs, Charlie is positive that Karralika helps people to move past dependency and into a new era of self-awareness and reap “the rewards of living a good life.”

To raise awareness and funds for future programs, Canberrans will have the opportunity to support Karralika Programs on Saturday 26 November at Kites for Karralika, a community event at John Dunmore Lang Place, next to the lake.

Kites for Karralika will be an opportunity to involve the community in celebrating recovery, connecting with community and to publicly acknowledge the dedication and support provided by the Karralika team over the years in helping families choose a better life.

Happening from 11am-2pm, the event will have something for little kids and not so little kids with a rock climbing wall, jumping castle and face painting as well as food vans selling everything from Churros to wood fired pizza.

Families are welcome to bring their own food and picnic rug on the day. For a gold coin donation, children will receive a kite that can be flown on the day.

Local musicians will entertain families throughout the event including the recently crowned Australian National Busking Champion Lucy Sugarman and Guyy & The Fox. There will also be a ‘Collaborative Hands’ activity lead by local Aboriginal artists. Adults and children will be invited to place their handprints on a canvas with interconnecting circles representing the importance of community connection. The hand prints and circles will be encircled by dot work creating a mural that reflects our journeys to reconciliation and recovery. This is a great opportunity for families to learn about the importance of storytelling and art and be part of creating something meaningful.

the essentials

What: Kites for Karralika
When: Saturday 26 November from 11am-2pm
Where: John Dunmore Lang Place (the lawns next to Questacon)
Cost: Free. A gold coin donation will get you a kite to fly as part of the celebration
Find out more:

* Not their real name


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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