THE Smith Family have launched their 2018 Winter Appeal and are calling on local residents to help thousands of disadvantaged young people break the cycle of poverty.
Marking 30 years since the organisation shifted focus from emergency assistance to education support, The Smith Family needs to raise more than $4.1 million by the end of the month to deliver life-changing learning and mentoring programs for nearly 10,000 children this year. With one in seven Australian children and young people living below the poverty line, the organisation says this support is now more critical.
Funds raised through The Smith Family's Winter Appeal will help disadvantaged children access a range of literacy and numeracy programs - such as student2student, which helps young students improve their reading skills by pairing them with older "reading buddies" - as well as after school Learning Clubs (includes access to digital resources) and the iTrack online mentoring program.
The Smith Family's Queensland general manager Alan Le May said the organisation was always there to lend a helping hand to Aussies in need.
"It's now 30 years since The Smith Family commenced our first education support program for children in need. At that time, we asked the families we were assisting in highly disadvantaged communities what kind of help they most wanted. Our research revealed the major concern for these families was the education of their children," he said.
"We don't always see the struggles faced by these children because poverty can be hidden. We hear of children pretending to be unwell so they don't have to worry their parents with the cost of an excursion, or they'll start skipping school because they're struggling to keep up in class.
"That's why we are calling on the Australian public to help us reach more children. The out-of-school learning and mentoring programs we provide give young people the skills and motivation to stay in school and see the value of finishing Year 12 to open up more opportunities for themselves.
"That little bit of extra support and encouragement can be life-changing for these children."
Log onto www.smith family.com.au/winter.