Warm up your waving arm and ready your smile, because tomorrow (Saturday) is Hello Day in the Latrobe Valley.
More than 300 people are set to actively participate in the event by wearing a Hello t-shirt or badge, putting up Hello posters at their workplace or community group, or simply saying ‘hello’ to those around them, with many more expected to interact with the initiative and its ambassadors along the way.
Hello Day is a celebration and promotion of kindness and social connection and forms part of the Hello campaign, a Latrobe Health Innovation Zone initiative led by the Latrobe Health Assembly.
The Hello campaign launched in 2019 as a joint-initiative with Lifeline Gippsland and has engaged hundreds of Latrobe Valley residents.
Latrobe Health Assembly Chair Tanya Rong said the aim of Hello Day was to encourage and empower members of the community to play a leading role in sharing the message that ‘social connection is good for our wellbeing’.
“The Latrobe Valley is already such a friendly and welcoming place and we want to spread that kindness across the region and connect as many people as we can,” Ms Rong said.
“Hello is so effective because it’s a word that prompts a reaction. It’s hard not to say it when you see it.
“It’s a conversation starter, a friendly reminder to connect with those around us, and just a great way to put a smile on someone’s face.”
Among the biggest supporters of the event is Traralgon Lions Club, which has dedicated this month’s Traralgon Farmers’ Market to Hello Day.
Latrobe Valley Flexible Learning Option made a colourful contribution by tie-dyeing Hello t-shirts as part of the school’s art program, while students at Kurnai College created a ‘human hello’ as part of a series of themed activities involving staff and students (photo below).
Kurnai College teacher and LHA community board member Ange Gordon said the message was an easy one to get behind.
“Hello is a great fit for the College as we are a caring and inclusive school and the campaign provides an opportunity to remind ourselves of how simple it is to be kind to one another,” Ms Gordon said.
Morwell Neighbourhood House, Latrobe Valley Enterprises, Gippsland Water, Officeworks Traralgon, Latrobe Valley Bus Lines and Traralgon Centre Plaza are just some of the other organisations throwing their support behind the event at different stages and in various ways.
Hello will also be a common theme at local parkruns and sporting clubs on the day, while Latrobe Valley Hockey Association umpires and volunteers will be leading a Hello Round of matches at its Churchill facility.