Students who have endured their own battles have come to the aid of women and children in their darkest hour with an art project.
The Alesco School students helped put some finishing touches on the crisis accommodation unit in Raymond Terrace.
Families fleeing dometic violence will be greeted by a soothing mural with an underwater theme.
Raymond Terrace campus coordinator and teacher Justin Henderson said his students had struggled in mainstream education, particularly with anxiety.
Pushed to the fringe of the community, Mr Henderson said this project fostered the very inclusive ideals the school strives for.
“We try to get our children involved as much as we can in the community,” he said.
“It’s important that the students can feel part of the community and important they are seen in these projects.”
The unit has been a joint project between Port Stephens Council, Port Stephens police and Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.
“We’ve been liaising with the Port Stephens local area command for a couple of years,” Mr Henderson said.
“We were looking for the right project for the right mix of students. When the police said they wanted a mural, we found it.”
WEA executive director and Alesco co-founder Rowan Cox said the school, which began in Newcastle, has experienced growth across the region – rising from 65 to 245 in three years.
“We’re a community-based independent school for at-risk children,” Ms Cox said.
“We’ll be opening a school at Tomaree soon and it’s recognition that we’re working really well with students in the community.”
Delivered through WEA the school blends academic studies and case management within a community-based adult learning environment.
It is an example of formal education within a non formal or non institutional environment where the school aims to promote education as a priority for young people, as well as helping to create better future citizens through the development of the values of respect and responsibility for themselves and others around them.