the time there wasn't help out there and
I could see a ot of people suffering in
different ways and I just wanted to get
involved and raise awareness," Val
has only been four years and in that time
Val has indeed raised awareness of the early
warning signs of depression and mental illness.
Val admits that in the last twelve months
alone people are more open and feel free
to talk about it and more people are going
not a bad thing to have a mental illness
- it's no different to any other illness.
Sure there are complications and hard roads
to go down, but I don't think people have
to hide behind doors anymore."
has started some extremely worthwhile projects
for the region, including "Bricks for
Life," a fundraising initiative to
build a 24 hour suicide safe house for low
risk patients and for their families to
be able to find support and advice. Bricks
are just $2 each and can be donated through
all leading retail stores.
Christmas Tree is another project which
is close to Val and her families heart.
For the past two years young people who
are on their own receive a Christmas gift.
Last year through the Christmas Tree Val
helped 128 young people and 7 farming families
with food hampers and gifts.
lot of those kids had no family to share
Christmas with that day or home life at
all - the tears that flowed over a pair
of socks. For a couple of the youths we
did give them hope and now they have jobs.
It's amazing to think that something so
small to us means the world to someone on
credits her strong family unit as her support
network and admits that they all pitch in
to help. It's not always easy working seven
days a week. She said without her family
she wouldn't get half the things she needs
to get done.
think its good that people can ask for help.
The most rewarding thing is to see someone
going through a hard time and to see them
come through it with a smile at the end,"
said Val who gets excited about the progress
of projects and the people involved, "every
single person who we've helped in this town
has come from our community."
that really is what drives Val. Her family
thinks the world of her, her sister Kim
says she literally always puts someone else
first and every night is always doing something
does a lot of great work. She's a very dedicated
person and she's always there to run an
extra mile - she's an angel," said
is certainly good at getting people involved
and recently held the "Walk Away Your
Worries" with over 26 walkers raising
funds to help Val fund the Christmas Tree
appeal and other programs to make people
more aware of Suicide Awareness.
involvement in assisting the Youth Speak
Out Team voice their concerns has allowed
young people to be heard and City leaders
have acknowledged and implemented all of
their requests. Her family is her cornerstone
and every saturday night is a family tradition
in the Rowe household where all the family
gather to enjoy each other's company. Val
says sadly family get togethers are missing
in a lot of families homes, but rain, hail
or shine the Rowe family makes time for