Peyton Heart Project – raising awareness for suicide, bullying and other mental health issues

Emily. Julia and Jill Kubin

With World Suicide Prevention Day September 10, 2015 Sharyn Smart talks with the Kubin family about their efforts to save vulnerable lives.

The Kubin household in Morristown, New Jersey, USA is bursting full of generosity, caring for others and a huge hive of industry.

Three years ago Emily created Emily’s Hats for Hope Initiative.  At 17 years old she wanted to help the homeless and started making hats, scarves and afghans.  Her first donation was a total of eight hats.  After only three and a half years she has now donated over 18,000 hats around the world and also has over 40 global spinoffs of her original initiative.

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Care Clowning with CJ the Clown

CJ the Clown busy at work entertaining on the Children's Ward at Taranaki Base Hospital.
CJ the Clown busy at work entertaining on the Children’s Ward at Taranaki Base Hospital.

For many the word “clown” conjures up spooky images from a Stephen King movie.

Not so for staff, patients and family members at Taranaki Base Hospital who share the wards with a very different type of clown – a Care Clown.

Wayne Annand aka CJ the Clown is a volunteer at the Hospital spending many hours with patients and staff offering a kind, caring listening ear along with crafting hundreds of balloon creations.

“Finding out about Care Clowning drastically changed my life.  It is the perfect fit for me.  You can paint a clown smile on but the clown still has to come from within.”

Over the past eight years it has allowed Wayne’s quiet demeanour and mischievous personality to shine.  Added to this is his huge compassion to comfort, distract and relax children and adults alike developing into an amazing resource.

“It took me a long time to become a clown.  The clown is in you, it has to be, otherwise you can’t do it, but it took me a long time to bring that character out.

“Care clowning changed me from being an entertainer at parties to just wanting to be a care clown.”

“I donate my time and skills because if you really enjoy something and it means a lot to you as a person why wouldn’t you do it for free.

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A night shift with the Community Patrollers

The New Plymouth Community patrol police liaison officer Senior Constable Graeme Jones advises how to protect you and your property:-

“Reality is if you want to reduce the crime and prevent yourself from becoming a victim just take these simple steps:-

  • lock things up when you are not using them including your car in the driveway
  • put your vehicles in the garage if you have one available
  • take valuables inside, do not leave valuables in plain sight – even placing them in the boot out of sight is a better option.
  • take photos, record serial numbers and any distinguishing features
  • make a list of your make, model and serial numbers of your valuable items remembering to keep it somewhere safe.
  • Invisible DNA markers are a great invention for coding your valuables.

Our plan is to make the community part of the solution as opposed to the problem   by being aware of situations around them and looking after yourself and your neighbours.

 There is a misconception of what the community patrol does so freelance writer Sharyn Smart spent a “night shift” with New Plymouth volunteers Jonathan Weatherall (left) and Ray Shute (right).

Patrol landscapeMeeting at the police station at 10:15pm on a Saturday night was an experience in itself. Getting out of my car a drunk male offered me $20 to drive him to the other end of town. “I’m meant to be at the police station and I’m running late” seemed enough of a deterrent as he turned and stumbled away.

Every community patrol shift starts with a meeting.  The community patrol police liaison officer Snr Constable Graeme Jones discusses the plan for the night.  Only fully trained patrollers are allowed because of confidentiality so I patiently wait in the reception area of the recently opened New Plymouth police station.

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How to feed a family of six for under $20

Jaz and LanceJas and Vance McPhee are cooking up new projects to add to their successful facebook recipe page and cookbook.

With over 70,000 likes on How to Feed a Family of 6 for under $20 and the cookbook sales escalating Jas and Vance are focusing on how they can best help their community.

“Food and cooking have always been an important part of my life. My grandfather Basil used to watch me while my parents were at work and most days we’d cook together, me sitting up on the bench watching while he prepared food for our household.  I remember his home-made smoker, his vegetable garden and his love for making things from scratch.  So my love affair with food and cooking began,” says Jas.

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Inspiring Real Life Stories

In 2013 I completed a National Diploma in Journalism (multi-Media) Level 5 to further my writing career.

The next goal is to turn my dream of being self-employed into reality.

Anybody who knows of any real life stories that need to be shared in order to help others please send me a short summary to

Go to my webpage to read the stories I have already discovered.