Kyogle CWA member develops national water safety program
KYOGLE Country Women's Association member Mikaela Kerwin, 18, has developed a program to help bridge gaps in water safety training across Australia.
Ms Kerwin, a second year social sciences student and swim teacher, realised there weren't programs available for culturally and linguistically diverse members of the community.
"Everyone should have access to that kind of service," she said.
"I went online and saw the culturally and linguistically diverse community doesn't really have a specified program, so I started working that out, and from there stepped it up."
Over the last university break, Ms Kerwin put her proposal and a full report to the Royal Life Saving Australia and New South Wales branches.
"Both branches got back to me quite excitedly," she said.
"I met with the senior director of education and the chief operations officer of Royal Life Saving Australia just last Tuesday in Sydney."
The CWA Kyogle Evening Branch members helped Ms Kerwin pay for the trip to Sydney.
Ms Kerwin successfully negotiated rolling out the pilot program, and plans to do that in January 2017.
She said it wasn't all smooth sailing, however, as there were times she hit roadblocks.
"I approached a branch about starting the pilot program and they helped me out, but it ended up being a dead end," she said.
"For a little bit there I lost the initiative for it; I didn't think it would go anywhere.
"But then I moved back to Kyogle over the university break and mum encouraged me to send it out to RLS Australia and New South Wales.
"That's when I got the good feedback and it really started to hit off again."
Ms Kerwin is currently living in Brisbane where she is studying at the University of Queensland.
She drives to Kyogle weekly to pick up fruits from the family's acreage to sell at Brisbane markets.
She said she joined the CWA Kyogle branch rather than the Brisbane branch because it was where she really associated with; it was her home.