The Smith Family has supported young people with their schooling and has helped more than 700 families during the past ten years, but says more funding is needed.By Riahn Smith
The Smith Family has a proud history of helping those in need and to celebrate its 90th birthday it says it wants to do more.
The organisation’s Learning for Life program has been running in Shepparton for more than a decade and currently offers financial sponsorship for about 700 families.
Students are referred to the program by their school and are eligible for funding from Prep through to any tertiary studies.
The money comes from anonymous sponsors, so there is no direct contact between parties, although sponsors do receive a yearly update on how the student is faring.
In addition to financial help, students are offered a range of school-based activities such as learning clubs and reading programs.
Janet Green is a Learning for Life worker who has been with the program for five and a half years and has seen the positive effect on local students firsthand.
“I just love the job, it’s a really rewarding job, it feels like you help to make a difference,” Ms Green said.
“I think it brings a whole range of opportunities to people that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
One opportunity in particular is the mentoring program which pairs Year 11 students with mentors in the corporate world.
“They chat with the students online once a week for 20 weeks about their aims, goals, hopes and aspirations and help them figure out where they want to go and how to get there,” Ms Green said.
“Its a great opportunity for them and were always really keen for people to help out in any way they can.”
For Ms Green, the most satisfying part of her job is receiving feedback from the students and families.
“We have students that have gone through the whole scholarship and are now talking about becoming sponsors or helping the Smith Family in some other way,’’ she said.
“They’re trying to work out what they can do to give back.”
Smith Family chief executive Dr Lisa O’Brien said improving the educational performance of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds was at the heart of the organisation’s work and called for more support for their efforts.
“We need to harness the time, talent and dollars of individual supporters, businesses, key philanthropists and governments to support our work with children, their families and the communities in which they live,” Dr OBrien said.
“In five years’ time we will be able to look back and know that, together, we have made a far greater impact on kids in need in Australia.”
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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