A Heritage of Hope

Magic Carpet Ride Mural – by Hazel Cope PHD

a big dream becomes a reality…

In 1993, Deirdre and Ian call a meeting with 30 friends to form a not-for-profit organisation called Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. Deirdre is appointed founding president; Ian is appointed secretary and their supportive friends become Hopewell’s Committee Members.

In 1994, Glory Farm in Sickle Avenue, on Hope Island opens! It is the Gold Coast’s only Palliative Care Hospice. It is also the realisation of Deirdre and Ian’s dream of a hospice … a place providing hospitality and compassionate loving care during the end stage of life’s journey.

In 1995, Deirdre receives a Churchill Fellowship to study the Spiritual Care of Cancer Patients. While overseas she envisages a hospice outreach program for grieving and ill children. Upon her return, Deirdre and Ian work on the development of Hopewell College of Transformative Education, drawing upon the work of philosopher Ken Wilber to provide an Integral approach to education. They begin holding seminars on children and grief for the local community.

In 1996, the first Paradise Kids group starts with 6 children in a friend’s home at Burleigh. It then moved to Tallebudgera Valley, then to Lifeline before moving into its own premises in 2009. At 88 Allied Drive, Arundel on the Gold Coast of Queensland.

becoming a community of hope…

In 2005, on the 11th of August, an 8-bed purpose built hospice was opened at 88 Allied Drive in Arundel, Glory Farm had officially turned into Hopewell Hospice. Thanks to generous sponsors and the local community, the years that followed saw Hopewell prosper and expand. Two more buildings were added … a Counselling Centre for children and their families [Paradise Kids] and a lovely refurbished Holiday House providing respite for those living with a life-limiting illness.

In 2009, Paradise Kids Illness Support Holidays are offered to families from rural or remote areas and other parts of Australia, who have a child with a terminal or life-limiting illness. This provided the family an opportunity to enjoy a Gold Coast holiday from 5 to 7 days without the financial burden. During their stay in the Living Well Holiday House, the child and family are offered counselling and support to help them understand their feelings about the illness and to see possibilities in spite of their limitations.

Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. was evolving into a community of hope; offering a weekly Women’s Group, a monthly Exploring Spirituality meeting, Courses and Workshops in Palliative Care, Suicide Intervention and Grief Counselling. The Paradise Kids programs grew too and now included … a parents group, child-centred play therapy, boys’ and girls’ groups and child-parent relationship training.

“Education has always been a passion for Ian and his life revolved around books. He has a Doctorate in Education, is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and is renowned for curriculum development.”

 – Paradise Kids Australia

Rainbow House story banner

here for more than ourselves…

In 2011, a Lockyer Valley Mobile Response Team is formed to help children after the Lockyer Valley floods in January of that year. From gifts from generous donors, a grief and loss program was offered free for families. This was Hopewell’s gift towards Queensland’s Flood Recovery Program. During that time, Deirdre pens a children’s storybook titled ‘Missing Patrick’. The story is about the grief of a child after the loss of his beloved teddy during the floods.

In 2013, Elisa James and Deirdre Hanna start the Paradise Kids Angel Choir. The choir invited children aged between 7 and 17 to participate, receiving free training and the opportunity to perform at various locations and events during the Christmas period. The PK Angels ‘pay it forward’ to other children by actively raising vital funds and greater community awareness of Paradise Kids. Each year the choir would raise several thousand dollars to help the children who would attend Paradise Kids in the coming year.

In 2014, Deirdre, Ian and Elisa travel to Samoa to visit the Samoa Victim Support Group [SVSG] with the Paradise Kids Mobile Response Program. During this time, Elisa helped SVSG form a choir and perform for their own local community.

In 2015, following Ian’s death. Deirdre establishes the Rev. Dr Ian Mavor Foundation in honour of her late husband. The foundation is striving to continue Ian’s good work in the world … relieving the suffering and distress of the poor, the sick, the dying, the bereaved and the children. Since its conception, IMF has offered educational scholarships for children in developing countries along with musical scholarships for children attending the Paradise Kids Angel Choir. IMF’s support of community initiatives included … Living Well Monthly Carers Morning Teas, Exploring Spirituality, a Stroke Support Group and Compassionate Listeners.

In 2016, a 12 year old Luke Harrison and his younger sister, Sophia would lend their impressive talents as part of the Paradise Kids Angel Choir. Over the following years, the choir would become quite popular with a recurring opening performance at the Mayor’s Christmas Carols and ongoing gigs at some of the Gold Coast’s prominent shopping destinations.

In that same year, Hopewell starts providing Living Well Day Respite for over 65’s. It gave carers and their loved one the chance to have a break, relax and take time to refresh and regather. Volunteering Services Australia awarded the free respite service ‘Gold Coast Community Project of 2016.’

In 2017, Luke Harrison is appointed Paradise Kids Young Ambassador and in August 2018 Luke becomes the youngest recipient of the Westfield Local Heroes Award due to his philanthropic efforts for Paradise Kids.

Rainbow House memories

“I am thankful for all these gifts of abundant love and the banquet of hospitality provided for and by Hopewell. I am thankful for Rev. Dr Ian Mavor (OAM) whose social justice mission, passion for education, compassion, and ministry to those who Jesus loved … the poor, the sick, the dying and the children, left a lasting legacy.”

 – Deirdre Hanna

a time and season for everything…

In 2018, Hopewell Hospice Services Inc. merged with Wesley Mission Queensland. Gifted by Deirdre in the hope that the merger will open up the potential for future growth and expansion. In the same year, Deirdre Hanna receives the Westfield Local Heroes Award, winning $10,000 and enabling IMF to produce stories and resources for grieving children, helping IMF in delivering core life skills and education for children.

In 2019, Hopewell celebrates 25 years of service, compassion and care. While Deirdre receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from Palliative Care Queensland for her outstanding contribution to the palliative care sector.

In 2020, The 2020 season of the Paradise Kids Angel Choir is directed by Nikita Porter, who has participated each year since the choir’s beginning in 2013.

In 2022, We launch new tools for a new generation needing support, offering a two fresh new programs. @Home with The Rainbow House and the Teens Grief and Loss Support Program both lovingly crafted on those same foundational grief principles that have successfully transformed countless hurting hearts.

In 2023, the name Paradise Kids Australia is added to our brand. The Rainbow House ‘@Home’ Online Program for children 6-11yrs goes live allowing families to access the content of our Grief Explorers program from the comfort of their own home.

Growth and Development
Over the years, Paradise Kids has expanded its reach and services to better serve the community. The organisation has built partnerships with schools, hospitals, and other community groups to extend its support network. Volunteers play a crucial role in the delivery of services, and extensive training is provided to ensure they are well-equipped to support the children and families they work with.

Where are we now?
Paradise Kids continues to uphold its mission of providing compassionate care to children and families in need. The organisation remains committed to evolving and adapting its services to meet the changing needs of the community. Through continued fundraising efforts, community partnerships, and volunteer support, Paradise Kids strives to ensure that no child or family faces their journey alone.

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