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Dannielle Miller: Walk The Talk: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Teaching our children to challenge domestic violence

Passionate. Determined. Innovative

Parenting author and educator Dannielle Miller is fighting domestic violence from the ground up by teaching high school students about respectful relationships and gender equity.

In her role as Education Officer for Women’s Community Shelters, she has designed and launched a two-phase program called Walk the Talk to encourage boys and girls to become change-makers in their schools and neighbourhoods.

In phase one, her team spend a day with year-nine and ten students, helping them understand that domestic violence is a reality in every neighbourhood of Australia and empowering them to speak up about it.

In phase two, the students are encouraged to work with a local shelter for a year.

The ultimate aim is to bring about generational change and remove the need for shelters, says Dannielle, who lives in the Hornsby Shire and is a long-term supporter of the local shelter.

She finds being voted a Westfield Local Hero both humbling and thrilling.

“To know that you do have the community’s support is incredibly invigorating and inspiring. It gives you new energy for your work.”

So far, students at Barker College, Asquith Boys and Pennant Hills High have participated in the program.

“They have done some amazing things, such as fundraisers, volunteering at shelter events and running awareness campaigns at their schools.

“By teaming up with a local shelter, they learn that domestic violence is a reality in their neighbourhood,” says Dannielle.

This knowledge encourages the students to speak out and become a force for change.

Everyone benefits: the students, the shelter residents and the wider community, says Dannielle, who in 2018 was one of four finalists for the NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year and has received a Suicide Prevention Australia Life Award for excellence in media reporting.

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. Walk the Talk will use its grant to extend the program to 400 additional students.

“The impact will be quite significant,” says Dannielle.

__For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here. __

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