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.RIAHN SMITH October 14, 2012 6:12am
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.”
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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