Press Release: May 4th 2007

Youth Off the Streets Morning Tea and People and Poetry Exhibition Launch

Eden Gardens and Garden Centre would like to thank all who attended and helped make the annual Youth Off The Streets (YOTS) morning tea, where Father Chris Riley launched the Eden Gardens' People and Poetry exhibition, a great success on Wednesday 2nd May.

The event raised over $2600 for Youth Off the Streets and was attended by over 200 people from the local community, including the City of Ryde Mayor Ivan Petch: Martin Paul, Director of Marketing for the Cancer Council NSW; Professor Elizabeth More, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Macquarie University; Peter Williamson, CEO of Royal Rehabilitation Sydney; George Papallo CEO of Macquarie Community College and Chairman of Ryde Business Forum; Trudy Hopkins Principal of North Ryde Public School; local school children Jacob Choo and Caroline Low and many other people representing the community. Special guests were youth from Chapel School, a Youth Off The Streets school in Merrylands.

People and Poetry is a tribute to the many individuals who together make up our local community. The exhibition features the favourite poems of thirty eight participants including local people, personalities and business professionals, of all ages, who have contributed in a variety of ways to the City of Ryde or have a special significance to Eden Gardens. It aims to provide inspiration, remind us of the wonderful, evocative world of poetry and increase awareness of the people who make up a community.

Father Chris Riley gave a motivational speech to Eden's amphitheatre, which was filled to capacity, mentioning the incredible commitment Eden Gardens has shown to Youth Off The Streets. He outlined how simple steps made by the adults in a community to engage their youth can help combat the negativity that surrounds it in many areas. He spoke of how engaging youth and believing in them can bring about extraordinary change in their behaviour. It takes a whole community to bring up a child and by working together we can improve the negative situations many youth are facing today.

Father Riley's chosen poem for the exhibition, The Road Less Travelled, by Robert Frost was then read by two young people from Chapel School. The YOTS vocal group, also from Chapel School, performed three songs: Lean on me, Time After Time and What About Me, to great applause.

Director and Co-ordinator of Community Development for Eden Gardens, Anna Ainsworth then concluded the formalities and attendees enjoyed their morning tea whilst reading the poems and meeting each other along Eden Gardens' café terrace.

Pam Cameron was the lucky winner of the Yates raffle prize, presented by Judy Horton from Yates and Father Chris Riley. Cheltenham Girls High School Student Caroline Low won a 12 month Better Homes and Gardens Magazine subscription and Jill Baxter won third prize consisting of a pack of Father Chris Riley's books.

Eden Gardens and Garden Centre will be displaying the People and Poetry exhibition throughout the centre during the months of May and June. All are welcome to come and enjoy it free of charge.

Eden Gardens will also be hosting the Biggest Morning Tea on the 24th May in support of Eden's other chosen charity, The Cancer Council NSW. The cost is $10 per person with all profits going to Cancer Council, RSVP by Friday 18th May to Eden Gardens: 9491 9900.