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The Smith Family launches new plan to help boost learning outcomes

2 min read
the Smith Family

The Smith Family has launched an ambitious new five-year strategy with a goal to make a bigger difference to the lives of the children and families it supports. It also aims to expand its evidence-based programs to reach more children experiencing poverty, helping them to make the most of their learning today, so they can change their futures.

With a proven link between poverty and its effect on educational outcomes, the national children’s education charity is sharpening its focus on education as the most powerful agent for change and encouraging Australians to back its work.

Research by The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the University of NSW (UNSW) has established that 1 in 6 Australian children grow up experiencing poverty, so the need to act is urgent.

“Economic and social pressures and COVID have all exacerbated the challenges facing Australians in need, and as a result, many students have fallen behind in their learning and continue to need support to catch up and keep up in their education,” said The Smith Family CEO Doug Taylor.

To meet these challenges and continue its effectiveness, The Smith Family has set an ambitious goal to almost double the reach of its Learning for Life sponsorship program over the next five years – from 58,000 students to 100,000 students nationally.

“With 1.2 million Australian children still living in poverty, growing our reach and delivering impact has never been more important,” said Taylor.

“The families we support can experience multi-faceted and compounding impacts of poverty. Our new plan sees us enhancing how we deliver our programs and use data to better assess and refine our impact. More support to families will help them to better support and sustain their child’s learning needs for the duration of their education.”

Learning for Life is the cornerstone of The Smith Family’s educational support programs.

It provides help in three ways: financial assistance for school essentials, like uniforms and books; access to out-of-school learning and mentoring programs tailored to each child’s individual needs; and dedicated personal support from a Smith Family team member to help children stay motivated at school, complete their education, and go on to further training or work.

The charity has also focused on developing new strategies to improve how it engages and connects with its many stakeholder groups, including sponsors and donors, corporate partners and volunteers.

To help communicate this urgent need and meet the increased demand, over the last nine months, The Smith Family has consulted extensively with all key stakeholders, including families, supporters, team members and the general public on the evolution of its brand.

“Our brand needs to reflect who we are and what we do today. Our new motto, Learn today, change tomorrow, is the story that connects our purpose and our organisational strategy with our goal to have 100,000 Australian children and young people living in poverty on our sponsorship program, Learning for Life.”

The Smith Family has also committed to ensuring all Learning for Life students are equipped with digital tools and skills and have access to reliable internet by 2027, a necessity for a 21st-century education. Currently, 1 in 6 students it supports, do not have access to digital resources or the internet at home

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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