Connections 2×2 Resilience Workshops

Many participants fostered new relationships with students they would not have naturally connected with…..The topics covered were relevant and necessary. Such a valuable program – thank you!

Jess Fares

Assistant Principal, Tuggerawong Public School

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and community organisations have reported widespread anxiety and disengagement. People have found themselves in need of additional support, many for the first time in their lives.

To help address these additional needs, Iris Foundation developed Connections 2×2 Resilience Workshops.

Program format is as follows:

  • 2 sessions of 2 hours duration, held over consecutive weeks
  • 18-20 participants in each group
  • Led by 3 trained and experienced facilitators
  • Includes an engaging mix of creative projects and group discussion
  • Week 1 session focuses on personal identity, skills, strengths and values
  • Week 2 session focuses on coping strategies, problem solving and gratitude

Workshops have been delivered in selected Central Coast primary schools and high schools. Workshop format can be readily adapted to the specific needs of any group.


[The workshops] explore and teach students a range of strategies that can be applied in moments of hardship and normalise emotions that can be difficult at a young age. This is a truly special program and worth its weight in gold.

Anika O'Brien

Teacher, Wyee Public School

Desired impact

The Cool Connections 2×2 Workshop aims to increase each participant’s resilience by:

Boosting self-esteem and confidence: Young people engage in creative projects that encourage them to explore their own identity, values, unique gifts and positive personal qualities.

Connecting isolated young people: Participants meet in a relaxed environment, supported by facilitators who are trained to manage strong emotions and personality conflicts.

Identifying strategies: Participants explore their feelings, thoughts and emotions that are linked to anxiety and stressful times and are guided through problem solving strategies.

Opening support pathways: The atmosphere of trust and safety created in each session promotes self-expression and allows participants to feel accepted without judgement. This facilitates appropriate follow-up care such as counselling referrals, discussions with parents and caregivers, additional classroom resources or referral to future Cool Connections in School programs.

Creating a positive ‘ripple effect’: Increases in confidence, connectedness and problem-solving abilities for participants often indirectly benefits their family, friends, teachers and the community.

I have worked alongside the facilitators in two workshops and I’m so impressed with how they engage the students! They were able to challenge the participants to believe and to think about themselves in a more positive manner.

Lorraine Watson

Teacher, Lisarow Publix School

[My daughter] really enjoyed being part of the workshops and took away some great positives from it. We are seeing her trying to implement these strategies at home. Thank you for including her in the program.

Parent feedback

Narara Valley High School

Thank you to our major workshop supporter:

Wyong Community Bank Branch Bendigo Bank supports Iris Foundation

To find out more about workshops, please contact:
Sue Liptrott

We would like to thank our major supporters: