Education equals opportunity

We believe that access to education is the most empowering pathway out of disadvantage. We have witnessed remarkable outcomes for students in our Education Programs. Providing students with extra support makes a world of difference that can truly transform the course of a young person’s life.
Getting the basics right first

Students need some fundamentals in place to access education: good-quality school uniforms and shoes; books; tablets or laptops; food in their bellies before they go out the door in the mornings; travel and excursion costs; administration fees paid. In order to learn, students need to feel that they fit in and are not distracted by the stigma of missing out. 

Beyond the basics, our Education Programs are designed to help students really shine. From vocational training programs and one-on-one literacy and maths support to hundreds of thousands of dollars in university scholarships, Vinnies is passionate about helping young people fulfil their potential.

How Vinnies helps

We serve young people who are from migrant families, refugees, learning EAL (English as an additional language) and people experiencing social and economic disadvantage. We also support students who want to learn more so anyone can attend our programs or seek assistance with education expenses.

Our programs include: 

  • Eight after-school learning programs across Victoria: Last year, 1,400 volunteers gave their time, love of learning and emotional support to more than 2,000 students across Melbourne. Volunteers work one-to-one with young people to improve their homework, reading, literacy and maths skills, and to support them to develop social and emotional confidence, which research shows underpins all other learning.
  • Kids’ Camp and Kids’ Days Out: Young Vinnies members assist children and teens through running holiday camps and day events featuring games, crafts, sports, fun recreational activities and young adult conferences.
  • Financial support: Hundreds of volunteer groups, or conferences, around the state, provide individual case-by-case assistance to families needing support to take care of the basics but also pay for uniforms, books, excursions or to advocate to schools on such issues.
  • No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS): We provide loans for low-income earners to pay for items such as laptops when the family is in a position to repay. 
  • Bushfire scholarship and education programs: With the financial support of the Jewish Community of Victoria, Vinnies has provided education costs for schools and students affected by the Black Summer bushfires, including 38 higher education grants valuing $304,000, the appointment of two trauma counselling social workers at a Mallacoota school, $250,000 new sports facility and two school mini-buses. 
  • Housing and financial counselling assistance: Our housing services provider VincentCare Victoria offers a Client Volunteer Program in which people are offered formal training opportunities such as Food Safety & Manual Handling. CVP is also an opportunity for VincentCare clients to participate positively in our community through volunteering. 
From little things, big things grow

Last year, Vinnies Victoria created thousands of learning opportunities for young people whose unique strengths and contribution might otherwise be lost to our communities. Even during COVID lockdowns the education team provided multiple programs via Zoom to ensure our students got the support they needed when schools were closed. 

We focus on a strength-based approach, which means we meet the young person ‘where they are at’, and help them to learn by building on the skills and interests they already have.  

To see how our programs have impacted two young lives, read the stories below of nine-year-old Hayma – and 25-year-old Nevin. Nevin’s amazing transformation from a young teen who found ‘maths confusing’ to a masters in pharmaceutical medicine truly inspires hope for a brighter future and demonstrates how educational support transforms lives and generations to come.

Help us transform lives

Can you help be a change-maker in a young person’s life by supporting Vinnies Education Programs and donating to our 2022 Vinnies Back to School campaign?

People often ask …

What do children and young people really need today to thrive at school?
Young people need to know they can learn new things and that making mistakes is part of every learning journey. Vinnies education volunteers know that having the right mindset – we say a growth mindset based on Professor Carol Dweck’s famous work – helps students to build the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to achieve academic success. 

Why is developing skills and confidence in social and emotional learning as important as academic success for young people? 
The Foundation for Young Australians recently reported that future job prospects were heightened when young people developed enterprise skills such as problem-solving, communication and teamwork, and most importantly, an optimistic outlook and growth mindset. These are the skills and experiences Vinnies staff and volunteers help young people to develop in our programs. Incorporating learning around social and emotional skills gives young people a greater sense of well-being and more confidence to thrive in school life.

What can I do to help?
You can help by either donating to one of our campaigns if you can afford to, or donating your time as a volunteer to help us create more opportunities for young people to flourish.

  • Meet Hayma

    "I want to become a fashion designer, an artist, a babysitter, and I love gardening." Her determination to succeed is born of more than personal dreams.

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  • Meet Nevin

    Nevin is a remarkable testament to the impact of the Vinnies' after-school learning clubs

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  • Help kids get Back to School

    Every young person should have the opportunity to learn and thrive, but some Victorian children don't have that opportunity. You can help by donating now.

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  • Our Education Programs

    Our Education programs offer support to students and families in need with expenses as well as tutoring programs, reading clubs and sporting programs.

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  • When Michael met Eamon

    Q&A with Michael Whalley, Harry Potter actor and Vinnies education volunteer, with Eamon, aged 8

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  • Meet Ellie

    "I have wanted to be a teacher since I could talk. I couldn't believe it when I found out that I had received the grant. It will make a huge difference..."

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