We are excited to share the news about Social Change 101, a new initiative that provides an opportunity for local change-makers to develop their social enterprise ideas. The program is funded by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and designed to assist regional Australians to develop an idea or to grow a social venture to drive change in their community.

One of those people with an idea is Mitchell Shire resident Michelle Fusco.

Michelle wants to set up a service for children that will encourage reading as a fun activity and which will also ultimately contribute to literature-based organisations, making an even bigger difference to literacy in Australia.

In her own words: “Our personal service provides an opportunity, not yet available to children and families in our area and I sincerely believe ChataBook will increase interest in literature and creativity through the social experience.”

Michelle works with special needs children at a local primary school. She has a passion for inspiring children to have fun, especially while they learn and this is where her idea for ChataBook was born. ChataBook is a friendly mobile enterprise that provides in-home professional storytelling and craft activities for children’s parties. Michelle’s aim is to promote and encourage a love of books, as she assists little authors and illustrators read and make their own.

Michelle has seen first-hand how imagination and improved literacy can broaden the lives and experiences of the Shire’s children. Her work brings her into close contact with children who have learning difficulties, autism, anxiety, dyslexia and who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. She wants to reach out to them, especially, in a fun and engaging way:

“Currently there are limited services within our Shire for these families,” says Michelle. “It is my hope that ChataBook will provide children with special needs an opportunity to celebrate their special occasions with their families in a way that accommodates their specific needs. I sincerely believe ChataBook will increase interest in literature and creativity through the social experience in a party environment.”

Michelle’s creativity and enthusiasm for engaging children is infectious, and with this spirit – and the support of the Social Change 101 program, Michelle is excited to launch ChataBook later this year.

She has put a lot of the thinking into ChataBook, but she freely acknowledges that she lacked the business skills to really plan it out. That is why she asked Social Change 101 for assistance.

“I really need assistance with formulating a business plan and finding out what is required to set up a business.” she stated in her application.

Over the next few months, Michelle will work with the Social Change 101 program to test her thinking with business and marketing specialists, financial and grant writing experts, lawyers and social impact researchers. By the end of the year, ChataBook will have an ambitious, yet achievable enterprise business plan to hit the ground running.

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