When the beauticians at Siva Beauty & Hair, Mittagong, learnt that there would be no parental involvement in the graduation ceremonies at Chevalier College, Bowral, this year, they decided to send the students a special treat: 110 handmade biscuits from Abbeyvale Cookies for R U OK? Day, the national suicide prevention event last Thursday.
"We thought it would be a nice little gesture to remind them that they're not doing it alone, that everybody is thinking of them," receptionist Missy Newton said.
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"We thought that for the Year 12s, R U OK? Day this year is probably more important than ever," Missy said.
"They're going through so much stress anyway with the HSC, and then COVID put a stop to all the end of year celebrations and all those fun parts of the year that would normally happen for them."
Missy's daughter Zoe is in Year 12 at the school, while salon owner Kate Mell's children also attended the college.
The students were thrilled to receive the cookies. "The kid's faces were just like: 'Oh my God! We got cookies!'" baker Abbey Pearce recalled. "They were so excited."
The school thanked the the Newton Family, Siva Beauty and Hair, Body and Soul, and Abbey for the delicious treats.
"We are very blessed to be part of an extremely supportive Chev community."
Every year, Abbey runs an R U OK? fundraiser in Bowral. Two years ago, she raised almost $500; this year, she estimates she has raised $800 to $1000.
That money will go to the charity to spread awareness of where people struggling with mental issues or thoughts of suicide can find help.
"I've lost some very close family and friends," Abbey explained. "I think this year given everything that's going on in the community and worldwide, it's really important to make sure that everyone is checking in, and we're spreading the message."
The Siva salon and Café Rocco both bought the cookies for their customers.
Several businesses also contributed to a fund-raising raffle Abbey organised:
- Breakaway Tuition
- Beam Me Up Laser Clinic
- Ardens Garden
- Café Rocco donated some coffee beans
- Eloise Hughes from Exercise Plus Extra Fries
- Invigorate Health and Performance donated five dollars from all their treatments for the day
- Mrs. Pete's Shed donated five percent of all of her daily profits
"The community has been fantastic around this cause," Abbey said. "Lots of businesses were able to get on board and help out, which was lovely. I was lucky to help spread the awareness, and with the community's help we could make quite a large donation to the charity."
- For more information about R U OK?, visit www.ruok.org.au
- If you or someone you know are contemplating suicide, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14; or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Abbeyvale is a finalist in the Local Business Awards; the winners will be announced at the presentation night on November 23.
Siva Beauty and Hair is also providing facials with a take home mask and free shower cap to students - stress relief and personalised care before the big exams.