Children First residents and volunteers spread Christmas cheer on a Facebook live event after practising some well-known carols.

By Steph McNicol

DESPITE limitations caused by the pandemic, Children First Foundation volunteers and children were able to spread Christmas cheer to their much-loved supporters and donors.

The Children First team hosted a Facebook Live stream at its Kilmore East Miracle sMiles Retreat, where they were able to sing some Christmas carols they had practised leading up to the event.

Volunteer and host Treaisa Rowe said the Facebook event replaced what would otherwise be a big open day each year, filled with live music, food, visitors, and special guests with stories to tell.

“The reason we’re doing this is because we normally have a lovely open day around this time each year, and obviously because of COVID-19 this year we haven’t been able to do that,” she said.

“Because you can’t come to us, we’re coming to you.

“We know very strongly that we rely on the support of our donors and our volunteers, and we know that 2020 has been really tough for a lot of people, and we’ve certainly had a lot of challenges up here as well.

“Just as a sign of appreciation for you guys for sticking with us, for continuing to support us, and for continuing to donate, the kids have been practicing Christmas carols.”

Children First sMiles Retreat program manager Deb Pickering, second right, celebrates carols behind the scenes.

Program manager Deb Pickering also joined the event and said she was fortunate to be doing her work at the Miracle sMiles Retreat.

“We’re very happy to be here at The Retreat and to do what we do. The children come to us from overseas to receive surgeries that they wouldn’t otherwise get at home,” she said.

“We have a beautiful property up here, and we try to make it as much a home away from home as we can for everyone that’s here.  

“At the present time, we’ve got six children and three carers with the children, we offer physiotherapy post-operatively, we have teachers come in, we have a beautiful built-in pool, which is fantastic for physiotherapy and rehab.

“We’re just very fortunate to be doing what we do, we love it.”

The concert is still available to watch on the Children First Foundation Facebook page for people who are interested.

For more information on the work of Children First, or to donate to support the children, visit