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Within the project we help first aid children

Vaseline 2 months ago

The daughter of a retired police officer has launched a project in Townsville that gives the children of first responders a safe space to talk openly about the challenges they face. Find out what inspired her mission.

Poppyllac Gough grew up in the world of first responders and knows all too well the silent struggles and fears that can plague the minds of their children.

She remembers her father’s battle with “terrible PTSD” after his dedicated 36-year career in the Queensland Police Service.

“We lived in a police house, right across from a station, so sometimes incidents would take place outside our driveway,” she said.

“It was especially difficult to deal with as a child.”

Poppy and her father before he retired. Image: supplied

The constant exposure to night calls and the burden of her father’s demanding job took a toll on her own life and well-being.

But instead of giving in, she found inspiration in her own experiences to launch The Poppy Project, a school-based initiative to support children of first responders, recognizing the trauma and mental health issues they face.

She aims to create safe spaces within schools, starting in Townsville, where children can receive support from school counselors and foster connections with peers.

“I had no one to talk to when my father was still working. No one to discuss and unpack the stories I heard. No one to help me through the hard times. No one to give me advice,” Ms Gough said.

The project made its debut at Calvary Christian College. She is now in discussions with other local schools about possible expansion.

“I want to work with and within schools to help create community and safe spaces for children of first responders,” Ms Gough said

“With the right funding and awareness, we believe we can achieve our goals and help all of our first responder children.”

Ms Gough said she felt there wasn’t enough support available for first responder families, and she wants to help bridge that gap and ensure no child feels alone in their struggle.

In her experience, she said children often don’t want to burden their first responder parents with certain feelings or concerns they have about the work they do.

That’s why she wanted to help children find safe places where they could talk openly about the challenges they face.

With the goal of becoming a nationwide initiative, The Poppy Project is seeking funding and inviting others to join their mission to create a better future for first responder children.

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