The long-awaited East Warrnambool Education Program – the first St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria launched in a state school – finally opened in late 2021 after being delayed by COVID. It was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) successfully put together by East Warrnambool conference members.
Today, 27 students, from grade one to six, are benefitting from the free after-school program, which is so well-regarded that the school it’s affiliated with recently promoted it at an open day and had such a positive response that they had to start a waiting list. The current students are supported by seven professionally trained adult volunteers and three secondary school volunteers from King’s College.
The West Warrnambool Education Program at St Pius X Parish Primary has also flourished in 2022 with a 12% increase in participation. Parents and teachers are so happy with both programs that they have recommended them to other parents and written to thank our wonderful volunteers. The program also has two amazing conference members as volunteers – we cannot thank Jan Nolan and Pat Nicholson enough for their commitment.
This year it was also heartening to have one of our wonderful volunteers Chris Pye recognised as runner-up in the Outstanding Volunteer – Regional/Rural award category in the 2022 CMY My Education Awards. Chris devotes four hours a week to helping children improve their literacy and the students adore him, often putting ‘dibs’ on being in his group.
Program coordinator Suzie Maxwell-Wright says: “It has been so lovely to see the Warrnambool community come together to support young people in their learning journey. Some special relationships have been forged and the children have grown in confidence.
“The successes of these programs and the joy they bring students and volunteers alike is testament to the values at the heart of St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria. We couldn’t do it without the generosity of our committed donors and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”