Birthdays, bodies and a burgeoning business
In July this year HUSHeducation had their third birthday. YAY! Unlike typical toddlers we decided to forgo the celebrations and plough/plow our time and resources back into growing the business. (We also celebrated by renewing our domain names and paying another year to our wonderful webhosts @Sumerdigital)
So in belated recognition of our birthday, and in acknowledgement of a recent veritable tsunami of Facebook followers, we have resolved to let you know the long (not) history of HUSHeducation, (and also a little bit about Margie, our founder – purely because the histories obviously intertwine along the way).
I (Margie Buttriss) graduated university and started teaching in the very early 1980’s – (think glo-worms, Bon Jovi, cabbage patch kids, reeboks and E.T). Within my first couple of years as a very young, unmarried graduate teacher at St Kevin’s College, Toorak, in Melbourne I found myself facilitating father/son puberty and reproduction evenings each year, as well as writing the sex-ed curriculum for an independent, catholic boy’s school. Yup. Picture this – a now married and very pregnant Margie, still only in her 20s, explaining conception to an entire room full of boys and men – Not. Even. Kidding! I remember thinking that every person there knew exactly what I’d been up to.
Fast forward (Back to the Future style) to 2005 (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince [the book], The London bombings, Brokeback Mountain), I’m now the mother of four teenagers, and sadly, a ‘burnt-out’ teacher searching for a new challenge – preferably one that doesn’t involve the same faces all day every day. I’m thrilled to be offered a place as a sessional sexuality educator with Family Life Victoria. It was my dream job, and every day I jumped out of bed excited by the possibilities. After 8 very happy years with FLV, an ‘incident’ in 2011, involving a jet ski, a badly damaged ankle, orthopaedic surgery and numerous plates and screws; not to mention many further surgeries; (the initial one in a tiny hospital in Hoi An, Vietnam), saw me unable to work for close to a year (and unable to walk for a part of that time). The second half of 2011 was pretty much spent visiting surgeons and physiotherapists and – quite literally – getting back on my feet.
Then, in 2012, I was requested – out of the blue – by a couple of Youth agencies (Thanks Youth Xpress and Moira) to facilitate a safer sex program for girls at risk. Running these sessions reminded me of my passion for young people and teaching and sexuality education. By July 2012 I had established HUSHeducation (Hooking Up with Sexual Health, for anyone who was wondering; our motto Shhh, It’s Not A Secret). I started out teaching puberty and sexual/adolescent health sessions at primary and secondary schools around Melbourne, building my ‘client base’ purely by word-of-mouth. Then one day I was approached by @Beyond the School Gates about teaching a class at a specialist school for young people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities; soon after, another specialist school approached me, and another – and HUSHeducation embarked on a new adventure.
In 2014 HUSHeducation evolved again when one of our regular primary school clients asked if we could incorporate some protective behaviours/body safety awareness into our annual adolescent health programs. Of course we could! Since then this school, and others, have invited HUSHeducation to develop and deliver whole school Body Safety Education programs for children from 3 year olds up to the grade 6 students as well as workshops for parents/carers, staff and the broader community. This new ‘arm’ of HUSHeducation has rapidly expanded, in part due to the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
I’ve always loved teaching and I’ve always been intrigued and excited by the miracle that is the human body – my early childhood involved a mixture of teaching my dolls and teddy bears and cutting them open and sewing them back together (sometimes with modifications – just for fun – I was a weird kid) . At university I studied arts and education, but included study of human physiology.
HUSHeducation is a culmination of all my passions across all of these spheres – teaching, child development, sexuality and relationships education, protective behaviours education, adult education, diversity within families and the community and the rights of children regardless of ability, faith, race, and sexuality. With current VIT registration, graduate qualifications in education, qualifications in training and assessment and adult education and pending acceptance to start a Graduate certificate in sexual health at the University of Melbourne (working towards a Master of Public Health/Sexuality) while simultaneously studying a single unit at Deakin university –I hope you agree that my expertise, experience, and passion reflect HUSHeducation’s mission of providing Sexuality and relationships education (SRE), and support, to all young people.
#HUSHeducation #SexualityEducation #AdolescentHealth #SexEd #Puberty #Disability #BodySafetyEducation #SRE