Community helps raise $4.5M for Smith Family’s Winter appeal

I would like to thank the New South Wales community for their generous contributions to The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal. We are very pleased to have raised over $4.5 million nationally to help thousands of disadvantaged children across Australia with vital support for their education.

For the one in seven young Australians living below the poverty line, keeping up at school can be extremely challenging. Family struggles at home can have a flow-on effect to a child’s learning. In our daily work, we hear heartbreaking stories of children missing school because they’re embarrassed about not being able to read or pretending to lose their homework because they hadn’t understood what was happening in class.

The donations we’ve received will help us reach almost 11,000 children in need through The Smith Family’s out-of-school learning programs – such as student2student, which helps younger children improve their reading skills by pairing them with older ‘reading buddies’, as well as our after-school Learning Clubs and the iTrack online mentoring program.

We are seeing great outcomes for the young people participating in our programs. For example, in 2017, 96 per cent of primary school students improved their reading ability through the student2student program, while 86 per cent of students agreed that going to a Learning Club helped them do better in class. Another 85 per cent of high school students said their iTrack mentor helped them feel more confident about their future job, career or study options. All of these key programs rely not only on generous donations from the public but also volunteering support from the communities in which we operate. To everyone who has given their valuable time and dollars to support our work, we extend a huge thank you.

It is heart-warming to see people responding with great care to this large-scale issue of  poverty in Australia, which is affecting so many of our young people. With this support, we can help more children in need break the cycle of disadvantage and create better futures for themselves.

Anyone wishing to find out more about The Smith Family and our work can phone 1800 024 069 or visit thesmithfamily.com.au

Steve Macready

General Manager NSW and ACT