Damascus College Year 9 student Sophie Busuttil is striving to make a difference in this time of extreme hardship, through the Western Bulldogs Leadership program, where she builds skills in leadership, teamwork, communication and resilience.

As a part of the program, Sophie was encouraged to create a ‘social impact project’ – a self-guided project that combines a passion with helping to make a difference in the community. Sophie recognised the impact of COVID-19 on youth mental health, and she decided to aim her project at supporting the non-profit youth mental health organisation, Headspace.

Sophie said that she wanted to combine her love of art and helping others, so she decided on selling handmade, painted clay pins for $12 on social media, donating $2 from every sale to Headspace.

“I originally started making clay pins for fun.  I thought they were like cute little friends that you could wear, and that they might bring a smile to other’s faces, so I decided to try selling them while donating to Headspace,” she said.

”During these challenging times, looking after one’s mental health, especially for young people, has become more important than ever.  I hope that this raises awareness for Headspace as they do such fantastic work to help support young people’s mental health every day.” know that

The Western Bulldogs Leadership program has helped Sophie build her skills such as teamwork, communication and resilience. It has also taught her a lot about empathy, and why people set goals and start organisations to help the community.

“These things really stood out to me, as I could see the process of how someone went from wanting to help create a change, to putting in the hard work to accomplish that,” she said.

Sophie’s favourite subjects at Damascus College are Visual Communications and Art, as she aspires to work in the art industry as a character designer or storyboard artist.

“During times of isolation and remote learning, some of the best things you can do to take care of your own mental health are simple things that make you happy, like going outside, doing some exercise and taking moments to breathe or meditate.”

“For me, I love to take time to draw, play my guitar, and talk with my friends and family.”

Damascus College continues to promote positive mental health and well-being throughout remote learning, remaining committed to supporting our students to be their best, through providing access to staff, technology, counselling and support services, as needed.