Trekking to better outcomes for kids

Michelle gets some training in. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Danielle Kutchel

A Narre Warren women is getting ready to step out of her comfort zone in the name of charity.

Michelle Watson-Pancari will undertake the Cape to Cape walk this October with AFL legend Matthew ‘Richo’ Richardson and a team of 27 trekkers, to support Windermere Child and Family Services’ Kids on Track program.

The early intervention and preventative program works within local schools and in partnership with Victoria Police.

It targets vulnerable children at year 5 and 6 level and covers topics such as anger management, drugs and alcohol, bullying and cyber safety.

Kids on Track is designed to support children to make safer life decisions, increase their understanding of what they can do if they feel threatened or unsafe and reduce their risk of being involved in antisocial or criminal behaviours.

As a receptionist at Windermere, Ms Watson-Pancari said she knows of the stories of those who contact Windermere looking for assistance.

“You do feel some feeling towards them – that’s why I’ve taken this challenge on,” she said.

“I wanted to do my bit and saw an opportunity to do it.”

To train for the gruelling trek, Ms Watson-Pancari is walking steadily around her neighbourhood, choosing different terrains to prepare herself for what she might experience later in the year.

She has also taken part in a group training trek with her fellow walkers at Half Moon Bay, which she said was “hard”.

“I enjoy walking and thought I could do it, but it’s a challenge!” she said.

“It’s good to get out of my comfort zone.”

Each individual Cape to Cape participant has committed to raise $2,500 towards the cause, and Ms Watson-Pancari is no different.

Her fundraising tally currently sits at just over $1000.

She encouraged anyone interested to dig deep for the community.

“It’s for our own community, for vulnerable children that don’t have the opportunities that a lot of other people have,” she said.

To donate, head to