Megan Stray: Heal.ed tribe : Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Teacher works tirelessly to help troubled teens
Selfless. Compassionate. Devoted
Former primary school teacher Megan Stray founded the enterprise Heal.ed Tribe to help young people with mental illness stay engaged with family, friends, school and their life.
She takes every opportunity to run empowerment programs for children and teens and to give presentations at schools and awareness-raising events.
But Heal.ed is getting its best results from its free day retreats for girls.
Within these retreats, the girls are shown different coping skills by practitioners who donate their time. Megan ensures a full day of love, pampering and healing with activities including yoga, kinesiology, facials, journaling and reiki.
The retreats have a novel funding mechanism. For each fee-paying woman, a teen in need is gifted a day of nurture, understanding and care.
“Women are nurtured and empowered through their own retreat day and, through participating, they give to a beautiful yet dangerously vulnerable group of teens,” says Megan.
She feels “totally honoured” that her community voted her a Westfield Local Hero.
“It was quite a buzz to know many people were being really supportive. The recognition is amazing from the perspective of bringing awareness to teenage mental health.”
Heal.ed participants are referred by community organisations such as Gold Coast Youth Centre, Kalwun, Arcadia College, Homeless Youth and local high schools as well as through private referral.
“Towards the end of my teaching, I retrained as a kinesiologist and began my kinesiology journey,” says Megan. “It was within my kinesiology practice that I saw more and more young people struggling.
“What I learned is that they all wanted to be heard, to be understood, to be cared for. But there is not enough support.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
Heal.ed will use its grant to fund website development and marketing. It will also be able to put on extra retreat days for teens and tweens.
“The grant will allow me to put the structures in place to begin the expansion of Heal.ed,” says Megan.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.