General

  • What does The Smith Family do?

    The Smith Family is a national children's charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves.

    Through the Learning for Life education program, disadvantaged children and young people are supported all the way through their education, from pre-school and primary school, to senior school and on to tertiary studies if they choose. Learning for Life support is provided in three main ways:

    • Through Learning for Life Workers, who connect them to learning opportunities in their local community and also encourage them to fully participate in their education;
    • By enabling access to Smith Family literacy programs and mentoring support;
    • And through financial assistance to help families afford the cost of their children's essential education items

    This holistic, long-term support gives young Australians the assistance they need to develop vital life skills, stay engaged in their education and have the best chance to realise their potential.

  • Does disadvantage exist in Australia?

    In Australia today there are more than 662,100 dependent children and young people living in jobless families 2.

    For these children, the effects of their family’s financial disadvantage go beyond the pressures of not having enough money for the basics in life. Their disadvantage holds them back from accessing the same educational and life opportunities as their peers.

     

    Research shows that supporting children’s education and learning is one of the most effective means of breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

     

  • What is the Learning for Life sponsorship program?

    Through Learning for Life, The Smith Family connects students to sponsors whose support helps families by providing students with:

    • financial support for school essentials, and
    • guidance and support from a Learning for Life Coordinator, and
    • greater access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include our learning and mentoring programs.

    Research shows that it is the combination of these three components that deliver the best educational outcomes for disadvantaged children.

  • What does a Learning for Life Coordinators do?
    When families join the Learning for Life program, they are paired with a Learning for Life  Program Coordinator who offers students encouragement and support with their schooling; links children and their families to learning opportunities in their community and helps children and young people to fully participate in their education.
  • Why does The Smith Family no longer provide welfare support?

    Since the end of the 1990s The Smith Family has focused its activities on providing disadvantaged children with a hand up through education support rather than a hand out through emergency relief or traditional welfare activities, including blankets, food parcels and furniture.

     

    Research shows supporting a child’s education and learning is one of the most effective means of breaking the cycle of disadvantage and this is what the modern Smith Family is all about today.

  • When was The Smith Family established?

    The Smith Family was established in 1922. For more information about how we were formed, visit the Our History page.

  • How many students and families do you assist?

    Last year our work reached more than 134,265 children, young people and their families. This included 34,007 primary, secondary and tertiary students on sponsorship. For more information, please see our latest Annual Report.

  • Why doesn't The Smith Family operate in my community?

    Our Learning for Life offices are based in 94 communities around Australia, often out of local schools. This helps us identify and respond to students in need in that area. The communities have been identified as having higher concentrations of families living in economic disadvantage.

     

    We carefully select them so we focus our resources in places where we can make the most difference. We would like to reach more children in need but unfortunately we are constrained by our resource capacity.

  • What support does The Smith Family provide at Christmas?

    The Smith Family has a long and proud association with Christmas. The organisation was founded in 1922 when five businessmen decided to deliver toys to orphans on Christmas Eve. Since then we have changed our focus to provide education support programs for disadvantaged Australian children, but we still deliver toy and book gift packs to families at Christmas.

     

    This gesture of goodwill ensures that all Australian families can come together at Christmas to share gifts and celebrate life. The Smith Family continues to provide opportunities for disadvantaged Australians to participate fully in society and we believe that Christmas is a time when all Australians should feel they belong.

     

    If you would like to donate to our Christmas Toy & Book Appeal, please visit the Get Involved page.

  • Who is eligible to receive a Learning for Life sponsorship?

    To be eligible for Learning for Life sponsorship families must meet the following criteria:

    • live in a community where The Smith Family has a presence;
    • possess a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card;
    • demonstrate a commitment to education (i.e. children must attend school regularly);
    • be referred to us by a community organisation such as a school.

    To remain on the Learning for Life sponsorship program families must:

    • show a commitment to their child’s education by ensuring children attend school;
    • complete a student profile each year;
    • provide a copy of end of year school reports;
    • keep receipts of educational expenses and be able to show these as requested;
    • participate in a partnership renewal every three years.
  • How do I contact The Smith Family?

    A list of all our offices and their contact details can be found on the Contact Us page.

  • Why does The Smith Family offer literacy programs?

    The Smith Family provides education support programs to disadvantaged children to ensure they have the opportunities they need to fully participate in their education. Many children growing up in disadvantaged communities, lack the support and resources they need to develop and learn key skills.

     

    We provide support for children to develop fundamental skills (such as numeracy, literacy as well as mentoring support). For example we run Learning Clubs outside of school hours, where we have trained volunteers who help students with their homework.

     

    In helping disadvantaged children to get the most out of their education, our aim is to help them create better futures for themselves and break the cycle of disadvantage.

  • What ways can I give to The Smith Family?

    One off donation:
    We welcome and appreciate every donation we receive. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Your contribution will be directed to the area of greatest need in our Learning for Life program to support disadvantaged children create better futures for themselves. Make a donation today.

     

    Monthly giving:
    Regular monthly donations provide a steady and reliable income stream which helps us to provide reliable and continuous support to kids in need, and reduces our administration costs. As a valued monthly giver you will receive:

    • An annual report card outlining the impact of your support through our programs
    • Real people, real stories, our annual newsletter featuring stories from students and families
    • Invitations to participate in Smith Family events
    • An annual tax receipt so you can claim tax deductions for all donations $2 and over
    • The security of having all pledge donations covered under our Direct Debit Service Agreement

    It's easy - sign up for a monthly donation here.

     

    Sponsorships:
    Sponsorship through The Smith Family is a unique opportunity to create a better future for a young Australian and their family. Your sponsorship directly benefits your student by assisting with the purchase of essential school items for your student, and contributing to our Learning for Life Workers who provide support and connect disadvantaged students and their families with learning opportunities in their local community. You’ll have the opportunity to build a relationship with your student through written communication, receive updates on their progress and encourage them to stay motivated at school just through the knowledge that someone whom they’ve never met cares enough to invest in their future.

    Find out more about our sponsorship program.

     

    Workplace giving:

    Workplace giving or payroll giving enables you to make regular contributions from your pay to The Smith Family, either in the form of sponsorship or a donation. Pre-tax giving results in an immediate tax deduction, without the need to get receipts and claim with your annual tax return. If you’re an employer or employee you can find out more about The Smith Family’s by contacting us.

     

    Volunteering:
    By donating your time, talent and expertise to The Smith Family you can help ensure disadvantaged children are getting the opportunities they need to fully participate in their education. Each year we rely on the generosity of more than 7,700 volunteers who partner with us to achieve this goal. To find out more about volunteering, please visit the Volunteering page.

     

    Clothing donations:
    Good clean, wearable clothing and accessories, with no rips/stains or tears, either new or used, can be donated in certain locations across New South Wales. To find out more about what we can accept please visit our Clothing donations page. Funds generated from the sale of these goods offset our administration costs, ensuring donations from our supporters continue to be spent as fully as possible on programs assisting disadvantaged children and young people. To find your nearest clothing collection bin please call us on 1300 737 166.


  • How do I obtain a donation receipt?

    All donations and sponsorships over $2 are fully tax deductible. If you make a donation annually, you will receive a tax receipt within 5 business days after we receive your payment. If you pay by regular installments (direct debit or credit card), you will automatically receive a tax receipt covering all your annual donations in late July each year. For more information please contact our Supporter Care team on 1800 024 069.

  • Where does my money go?

    If you are making a general or monthly donation, your support is directed to the area of greatest need, in the most efficient way possible. Last year, your donations enabled us to reach 134,265 children, young people and their families in 94 communities across Australia. Our education and learning programs are informed by research and give children and young people the opportunities they need to make better futures for themselves and break the cycle of disadvantage.


    We are pleased to say that last year, of every $1 raised through fundraising, $0.82 was spent on our community programs to help disadvantaged children create better futures for themselves.


    The surplus from our Recycling Operation offsets our administration costs, ensuring donations from our supporters continue to be spent as fully as possible on programs assisting disadvantaged children and young people.


    To view a copy of our audited Financial Report, please visit the Our Finances section.


  • There are many ways to easily donate to The Smith Family to help create better futures for disadvantaged young Australians.

    Online: Make a quick and easy tax-deductible donation through our secure website. All data is encrypted to ensure your privacy.

    Telephone: Call 1800 024 068 and a team member will be happy to assist you.

    Mail: If you would prefer to donate via cheque or send your bank/credit card details via the post, please download and print the Donation form and send to: The Smith Family, Reply Paid 10300, Sydney NSW 2001.

    Fax: If you would prefer to donate via fax, please download and print the Donation form and fax to 1800 001 822.


  • In New South Wales we collect good clean, wearable clothing and accessories, with no rips/stains or tears, either new or used, for sale in our retail stores. Funds generated from the sale of these goods offset our administration costs, ensuring donations from our supporters continue to be spent as fully as possible on programs assisting disadvantaged children and young people.

     

    For more information about the location of our clothing bins or about the suitability of other goods, please visit the Clothing Donations page.

  • How do I become a volunteer?

    Volunteers are the backbone of our organisation and without them much of the work we do would not be possible. Each year, Australian community members and our corporate partners, volunteer their time, skills and energy to help us create opportunities for thousands of disadvantaged Australian children and their families.

     

    If you would like to know more about volunteering, please visit the Volunteering page or the Volunteering FAQs section below.

  • How can I fundraise for The Smith Family?

    Fundraising for The Smith Family can be a fun and rewarding way to make a life-changing difference to young Australians in need. To find out more, please visit the fundraising page which outlines all the information you need to get started. You can also contact us at community.fundraising@thesmithfamily.com.au – good luck!

  • How do I get involved with The Smith Family's events?

    Events are a great way to raise much needed funds as well as generate awareness of the work we do to help Australian kids in need. At The Smith Family we try to make it as easy as we can for you to join existing events or organise your own. Visit our fundraising page to find out more.

  • How do I make a bequest?

    When you include The Smith Family in your Will you will be leaving the gift of a better future for disadvantaged Australian children. For more information about bequests to The Smith Family, download our Bequest Fact Sheet or call (02) 9085 7265.

  • What are VIEW Clubs?

    VIEW (Voice, Interests and Education of Women) Clubs of Australia is a nationwide self-governed women’s organisation formed in 1960 by The Smith Family as a service to women and the community. Through strong VIEW networks, women are empowered to achieve new skills and confidence and give voice to issues of national concern.

     

    VIEW’s 17,000 women play a vital role in extending and enhancing The Smith Family’s efforts to help disadvantaged Australian children and their families reach their potential through education and learning. Find out more about VIEW clubs.

  • How do I know that a communication from The Smith Family is genuine and not a scam?

    The Smith Family may telephone, email or approach you from time to time. If we do, we will always introduce and identify ourselves clearly. The Smith Family representative will always ask you questions so that we can be sure we are talking to the correct person.

     

    All phone systems are occasionally subject to attempts by people trying to engage in fraudulent activity. Generally these types of calls, or scams, are very rare in proportion to the total number of genuine calls. The Smith Family will never ask you to:

    • transfer money, or
    • provide passwords or PIN numbers to bank accounts
    It is important to protect yourself against potential fraudulent activity by always verifying the legitimacy of the communication before providing any personal information such as:
    • your address
    • your bank details
    • any special numbers or words such as passwords, codes, pension or card numbers.

    If someone approaches you or comes to your door, always ask to see their identification. You do not have to let them in and they must leave if you ask them to.

     

    You can check on any communication that you aren’t sure about, or report a phone or email scam, by contacting Dylan Rose, National Support Care Manager on 1800 633 622 or via email to SupporterCare@thesmithfamily.com.au.



  • How do I report or verify a scam?

    If you have concerns that a call or email you have received might not be genuine, contact our Supporter Care team on 1800 633 622 and we can investigate if such activity fits a pattern with other possible scam reports.

     

    If you believe you have been a victim of a scam relating to The Smith Family, please contact Dylan Rose, National Support Care Manager on 1800 633 622. You should contact your bank or financial institution immediately if you think you may have provided your account details to a scammer.



Sponsorship

  • Is there another way I can contribute to Learning for Life or The Smith Family without sponsoring a child?

    The sponsorship program is only one of our programs that benefit children through their education. There are also some other ways you could continue supporting disadvantaged children through The Smith Family, by:

    For more information on any of the opportunities above, please call our Supporter Care team on 1800 024 069 or email them at supportercare@thesmithfamily.com.au

  • What is the Learning for Life sponsorship program?

    Through Learning for Life, The Smith Family connects students to sponsors whose support helps families by providing students with:

    • financial support for school essentials, and
    • guidance and support from a Learning for Life Coordinator, and
    • greater access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include our learning and mentoring programs.

    Research shows that it is the combination of these three components that deliver the best educational outcomes for disadvantaged children.

  • Who is eligible to receive a Learning for Life sponsorship?

    To be eligible for Learning for Life sponsorship families must meet the following criteria:

    • live in a community where The Smith Family has a presence;
    • possess a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card;
    • demonstrate a commitment to education (i.e. children must attend school regularly);
    • be referred to us by a community organisation such as a school.

    To remain on the Learning for Life sponsorship program families must:

    • show a commitment to their child’s education by ensuring children attend school;
    • complete a student profile each year;
    • provide a copy of end of year school reports;
    • keep receipts of educational expenses and be able to show these as requested;
    • participate in a partnership renewal every three years.
  • What does my sponsorship actually cover?

    Being a sponsor means you provide practical support for a disadvantaged child's education - both financial and emotional. The Learning for Life sponsorship program provides a wrap-around approach which delivers three key components that work together to enable better educational outcomes for children in need.

    Your sponsorship benefits your sponsored student in three main ways:

    • first there's the financial support, helping the family of your sponsored child, to afford the cost of school essentials such as school uniforms and shoes, text books, course materials, and camps and excursions.
    • students are connected to a Learning for Life Coordinator who provides important personal and emotional support for them and their families throughout the school year. They also link the student to local learning opportunities that help them to fully participate in their education.
    • sponsorship provides students with access to a range of opportunities as needed, including a range of community programs and our learning and mentoring programs which take place outside school hours. Our programs give students the boost they need to build their confidence, gain new skills and keep up with their peers at school.

    Then last, but by no means least, there's the support that you provide simply by being their sponsor. You can also (and you may be already) choose to correspond directly with your student which will further encourage and motivate them. We often hear from students who tell us how motivated they are by the knowledge that someone out there (whom they will never meet) cares about them enough to invest in their future. All of this support helps a disadvantaged student to fit in and belong at school.


    Our support is long-term. Once a child is on our program, they can rely on our support throughout their entire education journey. We know this is the most effective way to improve their chance of finishing Year 12 and moving into further education, training or employment; and ultimately help young people break out of poverty.

  • When you become a sponsor, you will receive a new sponsor Welcome Kit - containing all the necessary information about your sponsorship. Then you will receive the following throughout the year:

    • your student's profile - completed by your student to introduce themselves to you. This is updated annually, and sent to you during the second half of the year. In some rare cases, a student profile may not be available. In these circumstances you will get a certificate with information about your student and their interests.

    • an update on the programs you are supporting and how they are helping disadvantaged students.

    • our bi-annual supporter newsletter - Real People Real Stories. As part of The Smith Family you'll hear about the success of the sponsorship program and the impact your support is having on thousands of disadvantaged Australian families.

    • our e-newsletter – Family News. Sharing firsthand stories from some of the children and families we support as well as current Smith Family events, activities, volunteer opportunities and research results. If you have provided an email address, you will also receive our bi-monthly e-newsletter. If you haven’t received this and would like to, you can sign up using our online form.

    • tax deductible receipts – issued annually for the total of your sponsorship payments in that financial year

    You can also write to your student. Many sponsors and their students find this an extremely rewarding part of the program. To find out more about writing to your student, please visit the Existing Supporters page.

  • Yes. We encourage sponsors and children to exchange cards and letters throughout the year. All correspondence is exchanged through The Smith Family to maintain privacy and confidentiality. Many sponsors and their students find this an extremely rewarding part of the program. The My Smith Family Portal also enables you to write electronically, quickly and easily and can be accessed here.


    To find out more about writing to your student, please visit this page.




  • How do I know if my sponsorship is making a difference?

    Research is telling us that the best educational outcomes for disadvantaged children come from a combination of financial and personal support, as well as support through vital learning and mentoring programs that help disadvantaged children keep up at school.

    Your sponsorship provides a disadvantaged child with:

    • financial support for school essentials, and
    • guidance and support from a Learning for Life Coordinator, and
    • greater access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include our learning and mentoring programs.

    Children from poor backgrounds often don’t have access to the tools and support they need to keep up in school and get the most from their education. And that’s why sponsorship is so important. The combination of these three components provide wrap-around support for children in need so they can:

    • attend school regularly,
    • complete Year 12, and
    • move onto further education and employment post school.

    We measure a child’s school attendance, advancement and engagement after school. We can proudly report that we are continuing to improve in these areas year on year – as featured in our annual report. (link to annual report)

     

    You can also follow your child’s progression through school by corresponding with them. Find out how here

     

    Thank you for sponsoring a child. Together we are breaking the cycle of disadvantage for so many Australian children in need.

  • Does The Smith Family ever increase the cost of sponsorships and/or financial support given to students?
    The Smith Family regularly reviews the sponsorship payment provided to the students we support. We review this against the rising costs of living faced by all Australian families, and especially by families already struggling with financial hardship. Our last review was completed in January 2015.

    Everyday school costs are expensive and no more so for our disadvantaged families. To ensure the best outcome for these students at school, it’s important that their family does not fall behind in their ability to afford the school essentials which enable their children to make the most of their school years.
  • What are the sponsorship amounts?

    For our shared sponsorship model, where two sponsors contributions are combined to sponsor one child: 

     

      Level

    ANNUAL PAYMENT STRUCTURE

     

    Sponsorship
    contribution

    Payment to students
    for education essentials

    Support of Learning for Life Coordinator,
    Learning and Mentoring programs

     School student

     Sponsor A

    $576

    $420

    $732

     Sponsor B $576

     Senior School student

     Sponsor A

    $828

    $679

    $977

     Sponsor B $828

     Tertiary student

     Sponsor A

    $1,128

    $2,574

    $726

     Corporate Sponsor

    $2,172


     

    Or when one sponsor takes up the full sponsorship rate for one sponsored child:

     

     Level

    ANNUAL PAYMENT STRUCTURE

    Sponsorship
    contribution

    Payment to students
    for education essentials

    Support of Learning for Life Coordinator,
    Learning and Mentoring programs

     School student

    $1,152

    $420

    $732

     Senior School student

    $1,656

    $679

    $977

     Tertiary student

    $3,300

    $2,574

    $726


  • How did The Smith Family arrive at those figures for the cost of sponsorship?
    Everyday school costs are increasing and expensive and this reality can impact our disadvantaged families the hardest.  The 5.5%* rise in the cost of living over the last two years has placed further pressure on disadvantaged families already living with limited budgets and restricted their ability to afford essential schools items for their children. 
     

    In fact a recent audit conducted by The Smith Family estimated ‘the real costs’ of attending public school – from uniforms, shoes and stationery through to the charges that are part of daily attendance and study –are upwards of $2000 for one child (at primary school) over a year. It is vital that our families do not fall behind in their ability to afford these essentials for their children, which enable them to make the most of their education.

    So, taking all of this into account (rising costs of living and the cost of essential educational items) we arrived at these sponsorship figures to further assist our families to meet these costs, whilst being at a level that we hope will enable our valued sponsors to continue to support their students. We know that this financial contribution is going to be hugely appreciated by the families.

    1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Consumer Price Index June 2013 and Consumer Price Index June 2014. 


  • How does The Smith Family know that the financial support is used appropriately by the family?

    The Smith Family forms a partnership agreement with every family that comes onto the Learning for Life program. This is a rigorous process to ensure that your money is used as set out in the agreement. Our students are referred by our partner schools, and their families must possess a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card to be eligible for support. To remain on the sponsorship program supported families must keep receipts of educational expenses and be able to show these as requested, as well as return partnership paperwork (e.g. student profiles and student attendance reports).

  • What do the Learning for Life Coordinators do exactly that makes such a contribution to each student?

    The Learning for Life Coordinator is fundamental in getting to know your sponsored child, their family and their circumstances, as well as making sure that your student stays at school and gets the most out of their time there. They work closely with our students and their parents and guardians so they are aware of any challenges they are facing in their education, and can provide help at the right time to make sure they don’t fall behind their peers, start to feel isolated or bullied, and not reach their full potential. They also work closely with your sponsored child’s school to ensure, together, they are providing the right support for your student. Our Learning for Life Coordinators also help connect families to other services they might need within their community. The emotional support and encouragement they offer families, as well as the practical support to ensure your student is getting the support they need, are essential to ensuring the best outcomes for your student.

  • Why did The Smith Family recently make changes to sponsorship?

    Education is the key to a better future. Research shows that the best educational outcomes for disadvantaged children come from a combination of financial and personal support, as well as support through vital learning and mentoring programs that help disadvantaged children keep up at school. Throughout their educational journey, this wrap-around approach will help sponsored children to keep up at school and make the most of their school years.

     

    Currently, existing sponsorship payments covers the financial assistance provided to help families afford the cost of their child’s school essentials. The payment also partly funds the Learning for Life Coordinator who provides important personal and emotional support to students.

     

    In February 2016, sponsorship is changing to fully fund this “wrap-around” approach for sponsored students, so that it will now cover:

    • financial support for school essentials, and
    • targeted support from the Learning for Life Coordinator, and
    • greater access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include our learning and mentoring programs.
  • Were sponsors consulted before making this change to sponsorship?

    We would never take any major step without proper consultation with our supporters and we are mindful of the impact this will have on our sponsors. In October 2015 we conducted a large online survey, sent to all sponsors with valid email addresses on our database, to establish their views on the proposed changes so that we could take them into consideration through this process.

     

    During this consultation process, we received a strong message of support from our sponsors that they would be happy to see this change and that they would support it to help improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children.

     

    This change will have a tangible, long-term impact on helping students keep up and stay in school, and providing them with the learning opportunities they need to create better futures for themselves.

  • If two sponsors share a child, won’t it reduce the number of children The Smith Family helps?

    No. In fact it will help us grow the number of disadvantaged children we support. Shared sponsorship ensures that wrap-around support for each sponsorship is now fully funded. That allows funding previously allocated to be re-directed to increase the number of sponsorships available for children in need and to increase the number of children participating in our learning and mentoring programs.

  • Will it be overwhelming for my student if two sponsors communicate with them?

    Our students tell us that knowing someone cares about whether they succeed and finish school helps them to hang in there during the hard times. Having two generous sponsors who care about them and their future will be an extra well of support to draw from.

  • Each year I give my student a birthday card. What about the other sponsor of my student?

    Each sponsor will be able to send a birthday card to their student. What a wonderful opportunity for your student to hear from both sponsors on their birthday.

  • No. When a disadvantaged child becomes a part of The Smith Family, we pledge to continue our commitment to making sure they have every chance to succeed throughout their education. As such we continue to support the student by funding their sponsorship from other sources until we find another sponsor to support them.

  • Yes. If you would like to fully fund the complete wrap-around sponsorship yourself, which will double your regular shared payment, please contact our Supporter Care Team on 1800 633 622 8am – 5pm AEDT or email us on sponsorship@thesmithfamily.com.au. Thank you for your generosity in considering this option.

  • What are these learning and mentoring programs you talk about?

    Children from poor backgrounds have access to fewer books and learning materials and resources at home. And in many cases, their parents don’t have the necessary time or skills to support their education. Without extra help, disadvantaged children start school already behind their peers and stay behind as each year goes by. To help close the gap The Smith Family runs a number of after-school learning and mentoring programs as part of our Learning for Life offering. These programs significantly improve school attendance rates and engagement levels for disadvantaged children, helping them build their confidence and skills.

     

    Programs such as student2student pair students who are at least two years behind in their reading with trained buddies who work with them to improve their reading skills. The mentoring is provided over the phone, with the pair reading from the same book two to three times a week. Ninety-five per cent of children in this reading program improved their reading age.

     

    Or our after school Learning Clubs which provide a safe and supportive out-of-school learning environment for children in need. Trained local volunteers provide disadvantaged students with access to resources and expertise to help them with their homework, reading, writing and learning. Eighty-nine per cent of students attending Learning Club said it helped them try harder at school. Ninety-three per cent said it taught them to ask for help when they don’t understand.

     

    These programs are crucial to help disadvantage children to succeed in school and in life.

  • Will my student be guaranteed a place on a program?

    The opportunities for children growing up in financial disadvantage are not equal to those living in different circumstances. Research shows that those children are more likely to experience financial hardship as adults. It is a cycle; as a child’s life unfolds, their circumstances determine their future.

     

    Family hardship can affect a child’s educational outcomes, so our learning and mentoring programs are offered throughout the different stages of a child’s education to help them to keep up and stay at school. Naturally students have a range of skills and abilities and not every disadvantaged student requires additional program support.

     

    Where programs, opportunities and out-of-school help are available, our aim will be to link students to this extra support as needed.

  • If only some children need programs can’t The Smith Family just ask those sponsors for further help?

    We understand that not all sponsors may be in the financial position to provide their student with this extra support; but we don’t want that student to miss out. Your student may not need a program today, but they might need one in the future. By changing the way sponsorship works, we want to be able to make sure no child is left behind, and they all have access to the programs they need to achieve their goals in life.

  • Why does The Smith Family offer literacy programs? I thought schools did that?

    Not all schools have the resources or capacity to best address the needs of all children from disadvantaged homes.

     

    We provide our support specifically to disadvantaged children. These are children growing up in disadvantaged communities, with fewer resources around them. Our programs, which take place outside of school hours, help them develop and learn key life skills, such as reading and maths, and increase their digital and financial literacy abilities.

     

    Our core programs are based on research and practice; each is tested and evaluated regularly. We work with hundreds of Australian schools to implement our Learning for Life program that supports children in need to make the most of their education.

  • We are very proud of our students when they successfully progress to the next level of their education and would like to thank you for your support which has helped them to reach this milestone.

     

    When sponsored students move up to Senior School or Tertiary education, the sponsorship amount they receive is increased. This helps disadvantaged students meet the greater needs of higher education, such as textbooks, equipment, uniforms or transportation costs. 

     

    Sponsorship is based on three levels, which are outlined below:

     

     

    School Level

    Annual Sponsorship Payment

    School Student

    Shared sponsorship

     $   576

       Full sponsorship
     $1,152

    Senior School student

    Shared sponsorship

     $   828

    Full sponsorship

    $1,656

    Tertiary student

    Shared sponsorship

    $1,128

       Full sponsorship
     $3,300

     

    School level sponsorship covers all Primary School and Junior Secondary years in most states (Kindergarten/Prep to Year 9 or 10, depending on their State system). In other words the school sponsorship extends from a child’s first year of schooling right through to the end of Year 9 or 10. What this means for you is that during this entire time your sponsorship cost remains at the School level, across these years of schooling.

     

    Senior Secondary level sponsorship covers Year 11 and 12 students, whilst Tertiary level sponsorship covers students attending an eligible TAFE or university course.

     

    The increases in sponsorship costs of the Senior Secondary and Tertiary levels  reflects the increase in the costs of books, fees, excursions and other educational needs at these crucial stages of a student’s education journey.

     

    There will be sponsors whose student/s is/are changing levels this year (e.g. going up from School to Senior and Senior Secondary to Tertiary). Sponsors of these students are contacted directly with the details of these new rates prior to their sponsorship being due, and the option to stay with their student or take on a new student at the same rate they are currently paying, and the sponsorship cost will be charged at the new rate/s if the sponsor wants to go up with the student/s.

  • Why do students leave Learning for Life?

    Students may voluntarily leave our sponsorship program because they complete their studies, decide to pursue other opportunities such as entering the workforce, or decide that they no longer require our support. Occasionally, a family does not honour the agreed terms of their partnership with us. In these cases, we work with the family to get the partnership back on track, but at times this may result in a family leaving the sponsorship program.

     

    If your sponsored student leaves the program, we will notify you as soon as possible. We will transfer your support to another student in need of help and provide you with your new student’s profile so you know all about them and can contact them if you wish. When we notify you of this change, you will of course have the choice whether you would like to continue with your new student, change the level of your sponsorship or cancel your sponsorship.

  • If I can't afford to keep sponsoring my child, what happens to my student?

    Once a child is on Learning for Life and being supported by The Smith Family, they will be supported throughout their education. Our aim is always for a student to be supported to get the most out of their education, so they can make the best of their lives.

     

    In the event that you can no longer afford to sponsor your child, we will continue to support your student by funding their sponsorship from other sources until we find another sponsor to support them.

  • Is there another way I can contribute to Learning for Life or The Smith Family without sponsoring a child?

    The sponsorship program is only one of our programs that benefit children through their education. There are also some other ways you could continue supporting disadvantaged children through The Smith Family, by:

    For more information on any of the opportunities above, please call our Supporter Care team on 1800 024 069 or email them at supportercare@thesmithfamily.com.au

  • Is my sponsorship tax deductible

    Yes, all donations and sponsorships over $2 to The Smith Family are fully tax deductible.

  • Who do I contact for more information?

    If you have any questions about your sponsorship or would like more information about The Smith Family, please contact us on 1800 633 622 or email sponsorship@thesmithfamily.com.au.

Volunteering

  • Why volunteer?

    As a volunteer, not only are you giving to the community but you can also gain personal satisfaction, develop social networks, learn new skills, gain work experience and maintain existing skills. Read testimonials from some of our volunteers to find out what they find rewarding about the experience.

  • Who can volunteer?

    The Smith Family welcomes all people who want to make a difference, regardless of education, background or skill set. We would love to hear from anyone who is able to give some time or talent to help us support young people create better futures for themselves.

     

    Due to the nature of our work with children we require volunteers in certain roles to pass a Police check and/or Working with Children Check.

  • What kind of work can volunteers do?

    Volunteers are an important part of our Learning for Life program that assists children who come from disadvantaged families to succeed in school. Volunteers are needed at different times of the year for a variety of roles including:

    • Mentoring the with student2student, iTrack and Tertiary Mentoring Program

    • Tutoring with Learning Clubs

    Other areas where volunteer roles may exist include:

    • Administration support

    • Events

    • Retail Stores (NSW only)

    • Christmas activities

    • Special projects

    • Marketing and relationship building

    • Customer service


  • What current opportunities are available?

    A list of current volunteering opportunities around Australia can be found on our volunteer opportunities page. If you are interested in sharing skills but can’t see a relevant position at the moment, or you would like more information about what volunteering with The Smith Family entails, you can register your interest with us.

  • What is the time commitment?

    The time and commitment required to be a volunteer varies from role to role and will depend on the volunteer position you choose. For more information on time commitments please consult the individual volunteer position descriptions on our list of current opportunities.

  • Are there short-term volunteer opportunities?

    If you are not able to participate in an ongoing volunteer role, there are occasional short-term opportunities available. Short-term volunteering roles usually take place for specific projects as the need arises. Full details on the time commitment required by roles is included with each volunteer position description on our list of current opportunities.

  • Will I need to be interviewed?

    The Smith Family conducts a face-to-face interview with most volunteer candidates. Some volunteer opportunities may also involve a preliminary phone interview. This gives us the opportunity to get to know you better and for you to find out more about the volunteer role and expectations. It gives us the opportunity to ensure we have the best match for the volunteer role and that your volunteer experience is a positive one.

  • Do I need to pass a test or other requirements?

    The Smith Family adheres to our legal commitments in relation to child protection and privacy and confidentiality. Volunteers are required to undergo a police check and/or Working with Children Check to ensure that you haven't been convicted of an offence prohibiting you from working with children or accessing information about children.

     

    If there are any other legal requirements for the volunteer role you are interested in, you will be informed of this at the interview stage. Depending on the particular volunteer opportunity you may be asked to undergo reference checks or complete additional forms.

  • Do I need training?

    Some positions require volunteers to attend a formal training session while other roles may provide on-the-job training as the position progresses. Training is generally provided by The Smith Family. For more information on training commitments please consult the volunteer position description on our list of current opportunities.

  • What kind of support will I get?

    Each volunteer has a staff member as an ongoing contact for advice, support and training in their role. The Smith Family also has a team dedicated to supporting staff and volunteers to ensure that your experience is positive and worthwhile.

  • Do you have opportunities for work experience and internships?

    Due to the large volumes of inquiries we receive each year, The Smith Family only has limited internship and work experience placements on offer. We do not accept applications directly from students but rather work with various educational institutions to organise these placements. Please speak with your student coordinator or placement officer to discuss your options.

  • Do you have corporate or group volunteering opportunities?

    We appreciate that organisations and companies wish to involve their staff in community-based projects and volunteering. Throughout the year we make corporate engagement opportunities available through our existing corporate partnerships to enable staff to get involved. To ensure that volunteers have a meaningful experience we aren't able to develop corporate volunteer days outside our scheduled activities.

Clothing and other donations

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Consumer Price Index June 2011 and Consumer Price Index June 2012.
2 Source: ABS Labour Force Australia: Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics of Families, June 2015 Data, Released August 2016.