Paradise Kids

Paradise Kids is a children’s charity founded by Deirdre Hanna and Rev. Dr Ian Mavor OAM, who both believed in the need to to help children dealing with grief and loss through illness, separation and trauma. The first Paradise Kids group was held in 1996, since then, various programs have been developed and implemented to successfully help countless children and their families. Paradise Kids is located at 88 Allied Drive in Arundel on the Gold Coast and provides a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for both children and their parents. Over the years Paradise Kids has formed many partnerships, working closely with schools, community groups, police and other not for profits to ensure vulnerable children get the help they need and deserve.

What We Do

Paradise Kids aims to help heal the heartache. This emphasis on ‘heart-work’ indicates that we take a ‘holistic’ approach to address all aspects of the child: body, mind and spirit. We believe that this offers valuable life skills and allows children to move forward in life and face the future with healthy living that includes love, body awareness, understanding of feelings, happiness, confidence, and inner peace that can be maintained in times of change.

In the words of noted educator Paulo Freire, “We learn not by experience but by reflecting on experience.” Children and parents participating in the Paradise Kids programs have all experienced some form of loss, such as their own terminal illness, a death of a parent or sibling, or family break up through divorce or separation. Our structured programs provide peer support in groups of ten children, each of whom has the individual support of their own Pk Buddy. A separate group provides support for the parents and caregivers. The children and their parents learn to accept the reality of the loss, feel the feelings in a safe way, commemorate the loss and move to a higher sense of esteem and resilience. This approach normalises the grief process, gives insights into the tasks of mourning, and teaches life skills and resilience that help prevent ongoing physical and emotional health problems from unresolved grief.

Paradise Kids deals with serious issues, yet each of our programs also includes fun activities. These range from storytelling, breath work, stress reduction exercises, meditation, guided visualisations, movement, music and laughter. In an atmosphere of peer support, and with leadership from professional counsellors, each child is supported individually by a volunteer ‘buddy’ trained to provide grief support. Research has shown that for both children and adults the natural healing process of grief can take place more effectively if there is a safe, supportive environment and encouragement.

Our specialised programs are run four times a year, during the four school terms. Individual Play Therapy sessions are run throughout the year by appointment.

Our People

Paradise Kids have highly trained professional staff who deliver personal counselling and children’s groups that deal with serious existential issues in a fun and caring environment to ensure each child receives individualised support and care. Our dedicated volunteers work as a “PK Buddy” to form a connection with their child whilst applying these interventions and empowering them to move on in life. They provide their child support and encouragement, reminding them they are strong and powerful with wise and creative inner resources that can be applied when needed. Paradise Kids ensures the skills and character of our people through training, checking and up­-skilling of staff.

Paradise Kids volunteers are specially trained and thoroughly checked before being allowed to work with children. Our programs are conducted in a group environment and supervision is constant. All our volunteers receive comprehensive training with a focus on children and grief provided by Paradise Kids.

Our Mission

Paradise Kids “helps heal the heartache” of children and families dealing with grief, loss or illness by providing support groups, counselling, educational programs & resources that focus on learning from the painful experience so that those involved gain life skills and new confidence to meet future challenges.