To the Editor,
I am writing to express my appreciation to everyone who supported The Smith Family’s 2020 Winter Appeal.
At a time when Australians have been challenged like never before, we have been humbled and inspired by tremendous generosity. Our charity supports the educational achievement of children in need as a practical pathway out of poverty. The donations we received for our Winter Appeal will mean our vital out-of-school learning and mentoring programs can now be delivered to thousands more students living in disadvantage.
The public’s help could not have come at a better time. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, there was strong evidence that disadvantaged students were falling behind at school through not having the same learning opportunities as their more advantaged classmates. At age 15, the gap is equivalent to around three years of schooling.
In recent weeks, the Grattan Institute has confirmed that disadvantaged children who were already falling behind before the crisis, will have slipped further back. It’s hard to stay on top of your learning when you don’t have essential resources for home schooling such as a computer, internet access, textbooks and stationery. These children will need extra support to catch up.
With the donations received, The Smith Family will provide additional educational support for over 16,000 children and young people during terms 3 and 4. These include our home-based programs boosting the reading skills of children, mentoring support, and our after-school Learning Clubs, helping children to increase their literacy and numeracy skills.
The Smith Family exists to change children’s lives through supporting their education. To do this, we rely on the generous support of thousands of Australians. To everyone who offered a hand up to support a child in need through our Appeal, please accept my grateful thanks.
Dr Lisa O’Brien
Chief Executive Officer
The Smith Family