Art teacher Rebecca Mennen has overseen the creation of a new book called A Place of Stillness which demonstrates the therapeutic power of creativity.

A Place of Stillness features artwork, poetry and prose from students from a unique Brisbane school that provides opportunities to young women facing barriers to education. The 88-page full-colour coffee table book compiles around 180 drawings, paintings, prints, photography, sculptural artworks and poetry pieces created by Carinity Education Southside students over the past four years.

Rebecca says creating artwork and poetry for the book was a cathartic experience for many contributing students. “Many of our young people suffer from anxiety, depression, and trauma-related concerns. Using their creativity to express their feelings, emotions and concerns have helped some to address and resolve these issues,” she explains.

A Place of Stillness also features personal reflections from past students whose lives were positively impacted by attending Carinity Education Southside, which includes an on-site children’s Early Learning Centre for students who are young mothers. “Southside wasn’t just a school; it was a safe haven for so many of us, in so many more ways than one,” says past student Emily, who fell pregnant at 15 and now has a young daughter and a nursing career.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today without the lessons, love, and support I was given from every single teacher and youth worker that walked with me, along my path, steering me in the right direction.” She says Southside, one of four special assistance schools in Queensland run by not-for-profit Carinity, is “a safe-haven, a place of healing, a place of encouragement and a place of growth”. “Every day these young women rise and strive for a better life, a better existence for themselves … and we are here for them, in this place of
emotional stillness.”

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