The Smith Family Winter Appeal and View Clubs support education programs for disadvantaged children

HELPING CHILDREN: Cessnock VIEW Club members Judith Wright (holding a blanket the club raffled to raise funds for the Smith Family) and Kathy Williams (with some of the library bags club members have made to donate to school children). Picture: Krystal Sellars

HELPING CHILDREN: Cessnock VIEW Club members Judith Wright (holding a blanket the club raffled to raise funds for the Smith Family) and Kathy Williams (with some of the library bags club members have made to donate to school children). Picture: Krystal Sellars

Australian children’s charity The Smith Family has launched its 2017 Winter Appeal, and aims to raise $4.1 million by June 30.

Funds raised through Winter Appeal will help nearly 10,000 Australian children access a range of learning support programs, including literacy, numeracy, mentoring, technology, programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the Learning For Life program (which supports children throughout their schooling).

VIEW Clubs around Australia support the Smith Family and its programs.

Cessnock VIEW Club raises money through its monthly raffles, friendship days, bingo days and fashion parades.

The club supports four Learning For Life students in the local area, and members also make and donate library bags to local schools.

“These students are our life, so we hope our small efforts give them the possibilities to succeed in life,” club president Kay Elder said.

“These students come from families who are having difficulties and we hope our fundraising gives them a hand up, not a hand out.

“Just small things like a school uniform so they can fit in, and enabling the student to participate in school excursions – little things most children take for granted.”

The Smith Family says a staggering number of Australian children are growing up in poverty, with research showing these children are more likely to start school behind and stay behind without extra learning support.

“There are now 1.1 million young Australians living below the poverty line, which is simply unacceptable. We know that unless we intervene early to help these kids stay engaged in their education, they are more likely to experience hardship as adults,” The Smith Family CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien said.

“Educational disadvantage begins early in a child’s life and continues through school and beyond. Students from low-income backgrounds are often up to three years behind their more advantaged peers in the crucial areas of reading, maths and science.

“The further behind they fall, the more likely they are to disengage altogether. Our goal is to close that education gap to encourage these children to stay in school and finish school.

“That’s why we are calling on the Australian public to help us reach more children. With your support, we can stop poor children becoming poor adults.”

Anyone wishing to donate to The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal can phone 1800 024 069 or visit thesmithfamily.com.au.

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