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 fundamentals in place to access education: good-quality school uniforms and shoes, books and learning materials, laptops, food in their bellies, and excursion and administration fees paid. Students need to feel that they fit in and are not distracted by the stigma of disadvantage.  

Beyond the basics, our Education Programs are designed to help students really shine. From 1:1 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 from families experiencing social and economic disadvantage, families who speak English as an additional language and refugees. We also support students who want to learn more so anyone can attend one of our education programs. 

Our programs include:  

  • Eight after-school learning programs across Victoria: We’ve seen a 51% increase in participation in our reading programs in the last financial year. The programs delivered 4,951 hours of supported learning and 1:1 sessions with volunteers to 3,241 students. Volunteers work with young people to improve their literacy and maths skills, and to support them to develop social and emotional confidence, which research shows underpins all other learning. 
  • 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 funds for schools and students affected by the 2020 bushfires, including higher education grants worth more than $350,000, the appointment of two trauma counselling social workers at a Mallacoota school, a $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 young people are offered training opportunities in Food Safety & Manual Handling and volunteering. 
Good education = Good opportunities

Last year, Vinnies Victoria created thousands of learning opportunities for young people whose unique strengths and contribution might otherwise be lost to our communities.  

We focus on a strength-based approach, which means we build on the skills students already have, and on developing a growth mindset. 

To see how our programs have impacted one young life, read the story below of 11-year-old Jamal, who went from too shy to speak in class to star of the show after supercharging his confidence through attending one of our after-school programs. 

Help us transform lives

Be a change-maker in a young person’s life by supporting Vinnies’ Education Programs and donating to our 2023 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 has 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. 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, donating your time as a program volunteer to help us create more opportunities for young people to flourish, or by sharing our education stories on social media and joining the conversation online by following us on @VinniesVictoria using the hashtag #goodopportunities
  • What’s the criteria for volunteering? 
    Apart from compliance checks, all that we ask is that reading program volunteers are kind, can read and spare two hours a week. If that’s you, please visit our volunteering page. 


  • Meet Jamal

    Jamal's story of growing confidence: From a shy boy to a confident one taking centre stage now.

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  • Warrnambool: From Strength to Strength

    East Warrnambool Education Program opened in late 2021 and has 27 students, from grade one to six benefitting from the free after-school program.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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