To whom it may concern

I have known Fran Dobbie since 2003 and have been a combination of friend and mentor. Fran and I share the same passion of helping young people find their own sense of value and worth, and to hopefully guide, especially adolescents on the journey to realise their full potential.

Fran is a passionate woman and wise teacher who easily engages with students in a highly engaging way. She is especially gifted at connecting with Indigenous students and reminding them of their identity and connection to country with respect and enthusiasm.

I have no hesitation recommending Fran in working in your school with your staff and students.

Maggie Dent

Hi Everyone

Fran Dobbie is an old friend who is very professional and very good at what she does. She operates Cultural awareness and resilience workshops.

If you are looking for someone to assist you with workshops in these areas I would recommend Fran highly.

Take care

Frank Pearce
Catholic Education Commission

Life is full of challenges and it is a fact that some groups in our society face greater difficulties than others. Programs that present life skills enabling participants to overcome these difficulties, understand their origins and prevent their reoccurrence are enormously valuable.

Qualities such as tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, and non-judgement are vital to the formation of healthy relationships with the self, family, friends, workmates and the broader community.

It is rare to find such programs and Essere (To Be) is one of these rare gems. Fran Dobbie epitomizes all that is vital in assisting the disenfranchised in our communities to regain their self-worth and help re-establish a strong link with a group that so closely reflects the aims and objectives of the Peter Brock Foundation.

Peter Brock 
Bev Brock 
Peter Brock Foundation

On the Charity’s Advisory Broad – a true gentleman.

Dear Fran,

ESSERE is clearly a program that is changing lives.

When you watch a mind bloom the possibilities are profound.

Who really knows how many lives you are influencing, because who knows how to count the priceless value of each life inspired ?

When a boy comes out of his shell and a girl dares raise her voice to sing her own song you can see that Essere has helped them find their own strengths.

This is your gift, to make children believe in themselves and to help parents see that all of our children are capable of so much more.

Health and happiness go together. You are making Australia’s children stronger and smarter.

The little ones who experience Essere are a reminder that playfulness is truly a special creativity. As a teacher you have made it fun as so many discover the joy of learning.

Use every breath, because the Essere team will make a great difference.

Best wishes,

Jeff McMullen
Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for youth

Hi Fran,

It’s a great series so well done and thanks for your perseverance too. I know my team worked hard to bring it air and that they know it is a great series, we all look forward to seeing how the audience likes it. (TV Series ‘On the Edge’)

Kind regards,
Patricia Turner
Former Chief Executive Officer

Good afternoon to you all.

May I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, including their traditional wisdom, enduring history and culture.

Marlena and I are pleased to welcome you to Admiralty House.

It’s a great pleasure to have so many people here from all walks of life to raise awareness and celebrate the wonderful work of Essere.

Marlena and I had the privilege two years ago of observing one of the ‘Essere’ workshops with students from Year 10 of Bede Polding High School at Windsor.

What a wonderful experience that was to see children being encouraged to develop skills to deal with stressful living situations, to be more self-aware and aware of others, and to think more carefully about their own decisions and choices.

Since then, I have been a strong supporter of the Essere approach and programs, with the untiring Fran Dobbie leading a talented team who are making a real difference to youth in this country.

Fran’s experiences and insights as a primary school teacher led her to realise how important it is to support children at vulnerable times in their development, and even more importantly to try to prevent adverse situations in life before they occur.

She has also brought her teaching skills to bear in this unique set of programs which challenge people of all ages and backgrounds to further their personal development.

The importance of the need for this support is well-recognised, with for example, Professor Fiona Stanley, former Australian of the Year having said:

‘Children who have good early childhood experiences in the first years of life in stimulating, nurturing environments have better outcomes throughout their lives.

They have better school performance, better self-esteem, fewer social and behavioural problems, fewer health problems and are less likely to be teenage parents, use drugs or be involved in crime.’

Indeed, I have been advocating during my term that as a community, we should be nurturing our children at every stage from birth to young adulthood.

Babies and young children need the loving support of a preferably cohesive family to meet their needs for nutritious food, intellectual stimulation and to provide safe boundaries for their exploration.

During the school years, I believe we need parents and schools to partner one another so that the support and direction each provides is complemented and reinforced by the other.

Then the teenage years and years of early adulthood are a further critical time in the formation of character, and in learning to meet the challenges of adulthood with courage, character and resilience.

To support children and young adults at these sometimes vulnerable passages of life, I have been a strong supporter of the National School Chaplaincy Program and the School Volunteer Program. Both of these began in Western Australia and are now expanding Australia wide.

As of late last year, more than 2,630 schools, or 27 per cent of schools around Australia have received funding approvals under the National School Chaplaincy Program.

In Western Australia more than 93 per cent of high school principals indicated their chaplain’s work was simply indispensable to a good school environment.

In the School Volunteer Program some 2000 ‘grandparent equivalents’, on invitation from Western Australian schools, mentor one on one, some 4500 children annually who are lacking in literacy, numeracy and social skills.

The work of Essere fills a vital need in offering support during the critical years of childhood and young adulthood.

What is so special about these programs is the lively and creative approach which as Marlena and I have seen at first hand, engages participants so that they learn important life lessons whilst having fun.

I am particularly impressed how Fran Dobbie and her team offer a comprehensive range of programs with limited resources, including:

• The Play Program for 4 to 6 year olds, which helps children deal with negative feelings, bullying and teasing;
• The Growing Years and the Indigenous Cultural Living Skills Programs for older children and youth; and
• The Parent/Carers Program, the Leadership/Mentoring Program and other adult programs.

And recognising that even school children have limitations on their time there is the SHAKE IT Program which delivers three quick skills comprising anger management, an anti bullying technique and a calming strategy, all in one hour.

We need more people in our community with the imagination, determination and compassion of Fran Dobbie.

Ladies and gentlemen

In my final Australia Day message, I pursued the theme of caring by encouraging all Australians to care for ourselves (health), for our families (cohesion), for one another (volunteerism), and for the land in which we are so lucky to live (environment).

This is why I am pleased to support Essere in its mission of problem prevention and assisting individuals of any age to make positive choices in their lives. It does really care.

I urge all of you here to do what you can to raise awareness about Essere and consider how you might further support this magnificent team of people in their caring role.

Thank you.