The Smith Family Launches 2015 Winter Appeal
This week national children’s charity The Smith Family launched its annual Winter Appeal, aiming to raise $3.5 million to support Australian kids in need with their education.
We like to think we’re the lucky country, but unbelievably, there are one in 10 Australian children are living in disadvantage1. For these children, the prospect of a better future is overshadowed by the ordeal of making it through another week.
Imagine not having the very basics necessary for school – books, shoes, a bag. Then returning home from school, where you’ve been left out and bullied for being different, to find little food on the table. For some kids this is their reality and to ensure their schooling doesn’t suffer – and that they don’t fall further and further behind due to circumstances out of their control – they need financial help to afford the kinds of things that their peers may take for granted.
Financial assistance alone isn’t enough though. They also need support with their learning beyond that available in the classroom. Research shows that disadvantaged children are much more likely to struggle at school than their classmates for a range of reasons. It’s a sad fact that around one in three children living in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities is developmentally vulnerable in one or more key areas when they start school. This means they’re on the back-foot from the start and need ongoing support and extra tools to help them not only catch up with their peers, but thrive through school.
Throughout the year The Smith Family offers more than 34,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds sponsorships through its Learning for Life program. The support via this program is three-pronged and includes financial assistance from a sponsor; access to a Learning for Life Program Coordinator within their community to connect the child and their family to local learning opportunities and other supports; and access to Smith Family educational programs, including tutoring and mentoring.
During this year’s Winter Appeal, which runs through until 30 June, The Smith Family is hoping to raise vital funds for before and after school learning programs. These programs will assist disadvantaged children to be school-ready, as well as encourage them once they’re old enough to attend school regularly, advance successfully through the school system, and remain engaged in work or further study once they leave school.
All of The Smith Family’s programs are focused on helping children to do well in their journey through school – from early childhood right through to tertiary study – delivering long-term benefits to them, their families and, potentially, future generations.
1Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013). Labour force, Australia: Labour force status and other characteristics of families, June 2012