Creating the Future of Education for Australia’s Disadvantaged Youth

Did you know: 1.2 million young Australians are living below the poverty line, affecting not only their life at home, but their education and prospects for future employment. For almost 100 years, The Smith Family has been supporting children and families, with its sights now firmly set on breaking the cycle of poverty by supporting the education of children in need. With the help of corporate partners who share the same passion for changing lives through learning, the organisation is enabling young Australians to attend school, stay engaged and thrive on their education journey.

Millions of young Australians have unequal access to education

The stark reality of ‘free’ public education is that it is rarely free. Uniforms, school shoes, textbooks, tuition, excursions and internet access are just some of the educational essentials that come at an added cost.

Inadequate access to these educational necessities not only alienates young Australians from their peers but prevents them from making the most of their educational experience.

When you consider the fact that one in six young Australians is living in poverty, the magnitude of this disparity becomes clear.

Many of the economic difficulties being experienced by disadvantaged families have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, further affecting the livelihoods and education of children in need.

Intervention is needed now more than ever to help protect the futures of our young Australians and ensure they are all given a chance, regardless of their financial situation.

Learning for Life: bringing educational support to the disadvantaged

Dedicated to tackling this problem, The Smith Family is Australia’s leading children’s education charity. Its flagship program, Learning for Life, provides more than 57,000 young Australians with the support they need to secure a brighter future through education.

The program supports students financially so they can afford school essentials, educationally through the provision of additional learning programs before and after school, and emotionally through dedicated one on one support and guidance.

The Smith Family’s Head of Strategy and Philanthropy, Judy Barraclough, said this proven three-pronged approach is allowing children across Australia to participate fully in their education and set themselves up for continued success after they leave school.

“Thanks to the amazing combined support of individual donors, the contributions of corporate partners, and the valued support of our volunteers we are able to provide a hand up to help more children facing disadvantage, to succeed at school, go on to complete Year 12 and create better futures for themselves,” she said.

Levelling the playing field

The Smith Family’s corporate partners are committed to helping the organisation eradicate poverty through the power of education.

One of the companies supporting The Smith Family’s work is leading water infrastructure company, Interflow. With a longstanding history of supporting the professional development of emerging STEM professionals, Interflow understands the life-changing power of educational support.

Interflow’s liaison for The Smith Family, Debbie Alston, explains the importance of their corporate partnership.

“We believe that education is a fundamental right that no child should be denied,” she stated.

“Our partnership with The Smith Family has enabled us to live true to this belief and support our communities through more than just the restoration of their water networks.”

Hope is on the horizon

Learning not only promotes empowerment on an individual level but has the power to uplift society as a whole. From a micro perspective, this can be seen through heightened self-awareness, improved decision-making and the acquisition of new skills. Through a macro lens, an educated society can minimise poverty, improve health and eliminate inequalities.

Particularly now as students and their families prepare for the new school year, support of organisations like The Smith Family is crucial.

By working together, The Smith Family and their corporate sponsors are changing the lives of thousands of children and young adults annually.

Judy Barraclough shares why this mission is so important.

“Education impacts a child’s life well beyond their school years,” she said.

“One in six Australian children and young people live in poverty today, yet with critical community support, including from our corporate partners, our Learning for Life program is able to run in partnership with over 740 schools across Australia.”

She added, this enables us to provide students with the wrap-around learning and mentoring support they need to stay engaged in their education and realise their full potential.

“It has the power to break the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of Australians for generations to come.”

Echoing Judy’s thoughts, Debbie emphasises the powerful role of business partnerships when working towards change.

“We’re proud to play our part in uplifting young Australians and supporting their educational development through this partnership,” she said.

“Together, we’re creating the future of education.”

Learn more about how you can get involved today.

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