Newsletter June 2023

PTSD Awareness Day 2023 is on 27 June. In the past few years, Australian lives have and will be devastated by traumatic events. Three in four Australians will experience an event (e.g. unprecedented bushfires and flooding, prolonged social isolation during COVID-19 lockdowns to name a few). All of these events can cause psychological trauma in their lifetime, that’s nearly 19 million people living in Australia today. First Nation Stolen Generations, refugees from war-torn countries, sexual abuse survivors all may experience intergeneration trauma. Psychological challenges and distress come in many forms and impact people from all walks of life. CFS is a ‘Trauma-Informed Practice’, our various programs offer a safe space for healing to take place.


Sat 10 June Pop-up Stall outside Little Giant Roaster Cafe from 9:30 am – 12 noon.

Every purchase of the beautiful CFS Rose Bouquet will come with a ‘Petal-it-Forward’ vase. Put a smile on someone’s face and enjoy your roses – this is ‘double happiness’!

Climate Action Art Competition To raise awareness of urgent climate actions needed. Young people (aged 10 – 25 yr ) are welcome. Click here to enter. If you would like Bibi to host a ‘Climate Action Art Workshop’ for your organisation/school, just shoot her an email.

Special Climate Action Mixed-Media Art Workshop for Forestville Scouts on Tues 6 June.

One-On-One & Small Group CFS Youth Mentoring Program At Social Enterprise Community Hub (Level 1, 2 Davy Rd, South Eveleigh) on Thursdays (10 – 6 pm). Available both as Virtual or face-to-face meetings. Booking essential.

Bushwalk of June is to explore ‘Ferndale Park Track‘ on Sun June 18th. Please register to be covered by the Public Liability Insurance. Check out Janet L’s article (in Subscriber’s Corner) about CFS’ Debut Bushwalk in March. You may revisit the series of ferns featured in the past few issues of the e-Newsletter. You will find all of them on this track. We may bring some samples (air-dried first) to draw at the next creative workshop.

Mindfulness Botanical Drawing Workshop will be offered for the first time on Sat 15 July 2023 at Chatswood Youth Centre. Join us to share some tips on practising mindfulness through a creative task. Discover the amazing secrets of NATURE via spreading colours on special paper for watercolour! Registration is now open.

Reflections on past events

Inaugural Social Enterprise Festival on Sat 27 May

by Andrew G.

At around 10am, my family and I walked into the speaker room at the Business Building, UTS, selecting a table to sit at and Bibi joined us soon. The CEO of SECNA, Kylie Flament, introduced herself and thanked all the people involved, the participating social enterprises and sponsors for the event. She explained that it was an honour to have Brendan Kerkin of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council to conduct the ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony’. ‘Uncle Brendan’ (known in the community) talked about the meaning of Indigenous Australian phrases. The word “Eora” means “man”. The origin of the word came from when the English asked what the land was called, and a local woman said “Eora”. He also went on to tell us that “Gaddigal” could be split into two, with “Gaddi” meaning “language” and “gal” meaning “people”. Bringing up the stolen generation, he empathised it as the “kidnapped” generation, and that young girls like his mother at the time would be snatched away at 5 years old from their parents and sold into slavery. National Sorry day (May 26th) was also of little significance to him, as he told us that it felt like every other day. The next speaker was Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney. She began with paying her respects to the traditional owners of the land and told us of the fact there are over 20,000 Social Enterprises in Australia and that 3% of the GDP and over 3 million people in Australia work for social enterprises. The next speaker was Rob Caslick, Founder and CEO of Two Good Co. Caslick presented his achievement in expanding a soup kitchen to a national provider of food to women’s shelters and offering employment to women who survived domestic violence.  A video (featuring one of their clients) was shown before the opening ceremony concluded.

I went back to our assigned room and helped Bibi to set up the room. However, for the next 15 minutes, it was very quiet. Perhaps most people were busy checking out the stalls downstairs. Some CFS members trickled in to show their support. They commented that our room was quite hidden and not easy to locate. My siblings joined in over the following 30 minutes. They looked so focused and seemed to enjoy the creative process. At around 11:45 am, a small family appeared, with a young girl coming to make her own flower crown. Fortunately, over the next few hours, we had keen participants coming in more frequently. Ethan, the volunteer for the next shift, eventually arrived. I had a little interview session and instructed him on what to do in most cases, before leaving him to be on his own to run the reception.

We made history by attending the Inaugural Social Enterprise Festival on 27 May 2023!

Download the Return & Earn App onto your phone and nominate ‘Petal-it-Forward’ as the charity campaign for your refund to go. An anonymous sponsor will match the amount donated, so your contribution will be doubled!

The Petal-it-Forward Campaign is proudly sponsored by generous donations from Return & Earn Scheme and supporters. Donations to CFS are tax deductible. Donate – Community Flower Studio

There are many ways to support CFS: become a member or contribute to the columns here. I’m always looking for a great recipe passed down from generation to generation. If you have a story to share, either write a short piece around 250 words or shoot us some photos. If there is a book or a movie you want to write a review, the CFS e-Newsletter will be happy to share with our e-Newsletter subscribers.  Contact Bibi on

If you would like to purchase a DIY Succulent Terrarium Kit for a loved one or a friend as a present, order online here ! This is also a ‘Succulents in Colour-Sand Glass’ DIY Kit which comes with a youth-approved instruction sheet and a QR code to the YouTube clip of previous workshops. Available here. You can also purchase a DIY Flower Kit from our online shop, click Flower Crown

Nearly Five out of Five rating for the Flower Crown Workshop at the Social Enterprise Festival.

The following were quotes of what workshop participants would say to their friends:

That they should check out this place and make a flower crown relaxing and fun. Very relaxing and friendly.

The workshop is an enjoyable and creative session to create a flower crown. Claming and fun.

You can try the workshop, if you like it, you can go with me! This is really fun and organised .

Flower of the Month

Phalaenopsis Orchid

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Phalaenopsis rosenstromii — Native Moth Orchid

Australia is home to the world’s most diverse orchids and about 80% of these are found exclusively in Australia. Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants in the world with more than 30,000 identified species. In this video, you will get a general overview of this ‘Moth Orchid’ from ABC Gardening Australia.

Here are some fun facts:

With thousands of orchids to choose from, orchids from the Phalaenopsis genus remain the most popular ones because they are a particularly good orchid choice for beginners. However, these exotic flowers are almost impossible to grow outdoors anywhere in continental North America.

The flower spikes of these orchids grow from leaf joints, or axils, and often bear multiple flower buds, which can bloom for 2-3 months when properly cared for. A single multi-branching flower spike can have more than 20 flowers.

Phalaenopsis is considered a “warm houseplant” and prefers temperatures between 23 – 30 degrees Celsius. Still, they can adapt to an indoor setting of 18 – 21 degrees Celsius.

The higher the temperature, the greater the plant’s need for humidity, and the higher the humidity and temperature, the greater the need for turbulent airflow to prevent rot, fungus, and disease.

Many orchid growers run a ceiling fan or stationary fan constantly in rooms where they grow orchids. This footage was taken at the Flower Market in Flemington, Sydney. Please note the fast-running ceiling fans.

How to Care for Orchids & Keep them Alive for 10 YEARS!

This video clip is a must see if you have fallen in love with this beautiful orchid and want to establish a long-term relationship. Consider adopting a multi-orchid strategy – purchase a new Orchid plant every 2 months. When the flowers are ‘spent’, put the plant somewhere else to ‘nurse’ it until new blooms are ready. Get a new plant. Repeat the steps until you have a continual display of the beautiful orchids.

Maybe you don’t have the budget to buy 8 orchid plants to stagger the blooms for display throughout the year (as suggested in the above video). You may be able to create multiple ‘offspring’ from your special plant. Here is something for you to experiment with:

This is his tips on Repotting Grocery Store Orchids. He explained the importance of understanding the natural habitat of the plant. I often tell customers the No. 1 caring tip for indoor plants is to ‘mimic’ the natural habitat in a home setting. Check this out for yourself.   

If you want to learn from an orchid expert Dr Randall Bayer, you must check out this YouTube Clip. Dr Bayer, an American, migrated to Canberra Australia in 1997 to take up the position as the Senior Principal Research Scientist with the CSIRO, Division of Plant Industry.  I found something which could be the work of Dr Bayer’s team at CSIRO: the challenge to accurately classifying species. Orchids make up 10% of Australia’s flora, yet many of Australia’s 1,300 native orchid species are threatened by agricultural and urban development. Accurate classification of orchid species is critical to their conservation.

Plant of the Month

Leather fern

by Remi H. (a Yr 11 student currently volunteering for CFS as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award).

indigenous people believe that the fern represents new life and new beginnings. In Japan, ferns exemplify family and hope for the future. From the Victorian era, the fern embodied trustworthiness and humility.

Leather fern is not native to Australia but can be found everywhere.

Native to many places in the Caribbean, South America, southern Africa, Australasia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and islands in the West Indian Ocean, you might come across the leather fern during a hike or any outdoor activities. Cultivated in Florida and Europe, leather leaf, or Rumohra adiantiformis, is one of the most popular foliage crops, and it’s extremely resilient.

The green leather fern complements the red roses.

Distinguished by its long, green glossy stems, and its shiny and dark green leaves with heavy, leathery fronds. This evergreen fern species can grow up to 4 feet tall. With a stem length of 30 – 60cm and grows best in shady areas and a warm climate. Different from most fern species, however, it does not have separate reproductive fronds. Instead, the reproductive clusters are located on the underside of the leaves. Because of that, the fern species reproduces slowly, making it suitable for growing in small spaces such as pots, and hanging baskets as well. They are excellent to grow as they are not particularly high maintenance and has a long vase life. Their beautiful leaves are frequently used in floristry.

Ffresh Leather Fern ready to be delivered to a florist.

They have a drought tolerance, which allows them to survive with less frequent watering once they are fully established, but they do need regular watering. The plant also prefers acidic soil, and temperatures above 24 degrees Celsius. To maintain the plant, cut the old fronds down when new growth appears.

Leather fern leaves in a wedding bouquet.

If you want to propagate the plant, take about 7cm – 12 cm long terminal rhizome cuttings at the beginning of the plant’s growing cycle and plant them in separately in potting filled with well-draining soil. These plants grow best positioned in a cool, draught free brightly lit position indoors, and will grow outdoors in temperate to warm climates so a sheltered spot that receives indirect sunlight would be best.

Healthy green leather fern in Ferndale Park

Growing to 90 cm tall and broad, Rumohra adiantiformis is a bushy, tufted evergreen plant with glossy dark green fronds. They have sori (reproductive clusters) on the underside of the pinnae (leaflets) unlike many other ferns which have separate specialized reproductive fronds.

This YouTuber clip demonstrates how leather fern is used in a floral design.

This is a great tutorial on how to take care of ferns in general.

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Recipe of the Month

Lamb Roast by Helen Borland

A perfect dish for cold winter months!

Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Place lamb in large oiled baking dish; using sharp knife, make 1cm deep incisions across the lamb. Poke in sliced garlic and rosemary leaves

Roast lamb, uncovered, for 30 mins, then 30 mins for each 500g of weight.

Meanwhile, place halved peeled potatos and pumpkin chunks in a single layer, in large shallow baking dish; drizzle with oil. Roast, uncovered, for last 45 minutes of lamb cooking time.

Steam veggies for 8-10 minutes – recommend a combination of broccoli, green beans and carrots

Remove lamb and vegetables from oven; cover to keep warm. Strain pan juices from lamb into medium jug. Return cup of the pan juices to flameproof dish over medium heat, add flour; cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles and browns. Gradually add stock and wine (if desired); cook over high heat, stirring, until gravy boils and thickens.

Strain gravy and serve with sliced lamb, roasted vegetables, steamed vegetables and mint sauce.

Book Review

By Kim Wilkins

Age of Vice

by Deepti Kapoor

This is a 550-page novel set-in modern India by an Indian author.  It can best be described as an Indian version of the Godfather with corruption, crime families, drugs and the high life mixed up with poverty.

There are 3 main characters- Ajay , from a low caste peasant family, Sunny, the son of a wealthy crime boss and Neda, a female journalist from an anticorruption crusading magazine.

This is the author’s second book published only this year and the rights have been sold to FX studio for a major television series.

We start with Ajay growing up in rural Uttar Pradesh in northern India before becoming Sunny’s servant and minder in New Delhi. He is the most likeable character.  Neda, who works at a crusading newspaper, becomes romantically involved with Sunny. The author has a journalist background.

Much of the novel is a critical look at the partying life of the young urban rich in India  There is a great deal of drugs and alcohol, sex, drugs and alcohol, bad language and more drugs and alcohol. It is not a political novel but the author is clearly unimpressed with the corruption and violence of modern India.

 To me the Indian setting made it interesting. Most of it is centered around New Delhi. Bollywood fans will like it as will those interested in gangland style novels. I would not call this book great literature but I found it a good read.

From the Desk of Bibi

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Turning Anger & Fear into HOPE – the message from 2 sexual abuse ‘SURVIVORS’.

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day. Dr Bettina Christl (CFS’ Vice-President) shared her thoughts on ‘Trauma and Mental Health’ in 2021. In this article, I talked about the very courageous stories of Grace Tame and Saxon Mullins and their advocacies resulting in law reform. If you find this topic a bit heavy for you and may trigger emotional distress, please talk to a friend or a mental health professional or call one of the helplines listed in the above-mentioned article.  

2021 Australian of the Year – Grace Tame

I first heard about Grace Tame at the award ceremony of the 2021 Australian of the Year. I was amazed to learn that Grace was merely 26 years old. She was obviously very emotional in her acceptance speech. She raised her right hand to show the audience her tattoo: EAT MY FEAR’! For the first time, I heard Grace’s stories of being a survivor of sexual abuse! After watching her honest disclosure on “survival, resilience and speaking out” to ABC Program ‘One Plus One’ host Kurt Furley, I couldn’t not be moved by her passionate advocacy and determination to turn her traumatic experience into HOPE for others. She said, ‘If I could just help one person…”        

Eat My Fear’: Grace Tame on survival, resilience and speaking out | One Plus One

Grace explained:

People think that it (trauma) can be contained. I liken it to a cold sore, it’s like an emotional or mental cold sore in that it’s with you forever and it can lie dormant within you but at any given time, it can be triggered and that’s not your fault.

No one wakes up and goes. “grow me a cold sore today”, it just happens. You know you can deal with it and you can take active measures to stop it from coming up as frequently. You can manage it but it’s there, and you have to accept that and you could but that doesn’t mean it defines you either. And it doesn’t mean that it’s a negative thing like in my case, I see it as a source of great strength and resilience and ultimately power.

I’m that Girl! Saxon Mullins

Saxon is another young female who advocated for law reform in NSW, Australia. The affirmative consent bill passed in November 2021.

It was the tireless effort and perseverance of Saxon Mullins. She was only 18 when she was raped at the ally lane behind a pub in Kings Cross in 2013. She not only survived the traumatic ordeal that night, but also overcome the challenges of going through the ‘revolving doors’ of the courts of multiple trials and appeal by the perpetrator.

Watch the full episode on ABC Four Corners – I’m that Girl 

I heard about this law reform on ABC News around the time I was preparing for 13 episodes of ‘Mental Health Talks’ in Cantonese for Chinese Radio 2 ac. I watched the Four Corners report to grasp the obstacles this young woman had leaped through to achieve this. I dedicated one episode to ‘Educating Young People about the Importance of Giving and Requesting Verbal Consents’. This is definitely a taboo subject among the Asian communities. My approach is in line with Grace Tame’s call for more preventative measures to stop sexual abuse to happen rather than adopting a ‘band-aid’ as a remedial therapeutic process to support rape victims. This approach faces many challenges in securing fundings for conducting research or operating programs. Why? My over simplified answer is – it is hard to provide the statistics on something you are working hard to prevent from happening.      

However, never say never. Saxon Mullins is now the Director of Advocacy at Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, University of Sydney.  Saxon was the recipient of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2018 Young Persons’ Human Rights Medal

Since Grace Tame came to the limelight after being awarded the 2021 Australian of the Year, she generated much controversy. Especially her ‘side-eye’ to express anger (some interpreted as rudeness) towards the former PM Hon. Scott Morison at the 2022 Australian of the Year Morning Tea Reception. I reached out to Grace to offer my support by sending her a copy of Dr Kristin Neff’s book entitled ‘Fierce Self-Compassion. Read my book review here.  

I have been quite puzzled by a question I came across: 

How could Grace let the teacher rape her for 2 years?

I recently found the answer in Grace’s memoir ‘The Nine Lives of a Diamond Miner’. Grace also explained eloquently the 6 stages of Grooming in a TED talk:

I applaud Grace’s passion to ‘stop abuse’ and make her job obsolete! I hope by sharing these two stories, we will all have more compassion for sexual abuse survivors. The trauma inflicted on the victims will take a long time to heal. One has to be mindful of the emotional and physical toll on them. Think twice before shooting out something along the line of ‘Why CAN’T they just ….” 

Subscriber’s Corner

A Different Bushwalk

by Janet L.

On 19 March 2023, my husband and I participated in the first CFS Bushwalk of the Month in 2023 – the Harold Reid Foreshore Track.

It was the first time we participated in a bushwalk organised by the CFS. We found that the bushwalk was different from other bushwalks in that it is value-added. The day before the walk, our enthusiastic and friendly bushwalk guide Dr. Bibi sent us photographs of the beautiful and special florals along the track. She challenged us to spot hem during the walk.

After a brief introduction of participants, we started the walk at the Sugarloaf Crescent entrance in Castlecrag.

It was a very hot day – the highest temperature reached 36 degrees Celsius. Luckily, the track was well sheltered from the sun by many tall and leafy trees.

It is a beautiful and interesting track. We admired the spectacular sea of ferns along the track. Perching on a tall tree, Cockatoos warned us to stay away from them with the squawking sounds. Delightful little white flowers dotted the track.

Helped by the friendly and enthusiastic Bibi, we found all the florals in the photographs sent by her the day before, including:

• the amazing flower stalks of grass tree, which are used as spears by Indigenous Australians.

• the white flannel flowers native to Australia, which symbolise resilience.

• the amazing frond of a tree fern; and

• the easily spotted red gum trees, distinguished by their twisted branches and smooth, bright red bark and leaking amber in summer.

We finished the walk in about two hours, followed by a lovely lunch in a restaurant in Chatswood with some of the bushwalk participants. My husband and I would love to participate in more CFS bushwalks.

Bibi’s note: The good news is there will be a walk on every 3rd Sun of each month.

Community Flower Studio Logo Explained

Community: CFS is a community to support young people facing mental health challenges.

Creative: CFS hosts events to unleash young people s creative talents.

Resource: CFS provides members with resources to enhance their wellbeing.  

Support: CFS  offers support to members to develop their potential.

Growth: CFS fosters a growth mindset which is helpful in dealing with challenges.

Recovery: CFS sees recovery as achievable and a journey to cherish.



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Address: 10-12 Clanwilliam St., Willoughby, 2068, NSW, Australia.