During my working life as a teacher I was kept busy coaching my kids’ sporting teams (basketball), serving on kindergarten and school committees, and with my own interest, umpiring AFL football.
When I retired in 2006, I soon joined my local conference, as I have some friends who were already involved. At the same time, I was approached to help start an after-school Reading Club in West Heidelberg, an inner suburb with a high number of families living in tough circumstances.
More than 15 years later, we are going strong and I still look forward to the weekly sessions, especially after we had to conduct the sessions online last year during lockdown.
Education remains one of my passions, because I see the difference a good, solid education can make in the lives of children – especially vulnerable children.
We know that the children and young people who don’t have access to these everyday school needs do not do as well at school. The research tells us that they're more likely to leave school early and we know that they have less meaningful employment prospects.
We believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn and thrive.
That’s why our approach is broad, compassionate and holistic – from addressing a student’s academic and social needs, to alleviating the pressure of a family’s education costs, to ensuring young minds don’t go hungry.
Last year, we provided $1.1+ million dollars’ worth to support the education needs of vulnerable children young people.
- We provided support for uniforms and shoes, school fees, technology and extracurricular activities.
- We helped more than 121,000 children and families.
- We provided scholarships for important transition years.
- Our volunteers provided 3,347 hours of student learning and tutoring – much of it online as COVID-19 didn’t stop our services for a minute.
Our education support and tutoring programs also support children to participate more fully in their education and that’s why our dedicated youth team runs a range of camps, days out and roadshows throughout the year. We know that these activities:
- Provide young people with experiences of outdoor activities, games and social interactions.
- Give self-confidence to children and young people from disadvantage backgrounds.
- Provide struggling parents respite.
The Society has always identified education as a key pathway out of poverty. Good quality education can bring stability, opportunity and a sense of achievement – not only for the student, but often for their families, too.