Smith Family Stories

Welcome to The Smith Family

Sponsorship-students-graduation-ceremony

Welcome to The Smith Family

Hearing firsthand from the disadvantaged children and families we support is the best way to learn how our work, and your contribution, is making a difference.

We ask our students and their families to tell us how we have helped them so we can share their experiences and stories with you.

We also like to share stories from our sponsors, supporters, volunteers, staff and corporate partners, who all make our learning support and mentoring programs possible through their generousity and commitment to our cause.

Shannon and Tyler's story

Moving her family from a remote community, Shannon and Tyler’s mum Kelly, noticed how far behind her 11 year old twins were in reading and writing.  After participating in the student2student program and receiving financial support from their sponsors, they are now ready to start high school.

“They have both picked up a lot at school. We were thinking of keeping them down next year, but the principal told me they can actually go up to high school”, Kelly said.

Shannon and Tyler

Shannon and Tyler's story

Seynab's story

Seynab with books

Seynab's story

Seynab's story

At the age of nine, Seynab moved to Australia after her mum passed away. Her grandmother took care of the family, but the house was crowded and they struggled financially.

At the age of 10, Seynab was paired with a Smith family sponsor who provided financial and emotional support which has seen her through primary, high school and university. She is currently studying to become a paramedic and participates in our Tertiary Mentoring Program, where she receives study and career advice from a supportive adult working in nursing.

“Sponsorship has inspired and motivated me to study hard and do great things”, she said.

Heidi's story

As a single mum with two kids and few family members to turn to for help, Heidi struggled to provide her children with the right school essentials.

Through access to sponsorship and programs, Heidi doesn’t have to worry about her children missing out at school.

Heidi's story

Tahlia's story

Tahlia's story

Tahlia's story

Tahlia, one of five siblings, was struggling to catch up with her school work at home. The bright and bubbly student was on the verge of dropping out of school when she was offered a place in one of The Smith Family’s Learning Clubs.

“I’ve seen my grades improve a lot,” she says “specially in English and Maths… Learning Club has kept me at school, kept me going. I've wanted to drop out so many times but I've kept my head high and Learning Club has helped me through all of it.”

Claire's story

I feel more confident with my reading. If a teacher asks me to read aloud in class I just go, all right then,” says Claire – student2student participant.
When Claire started primary school, she was behind in her reading. Her mum struggled to pay all of the bills of running a home whilst also trying to support her child’s education. It was when Claire began the student2student reading program, that Claire’s mum saw an improvement in her confidence.
Student2student matches young students who need to improve their reading with an older student buddy. The pair reads together over the phone several times a week for 18 weeks. Thanks to the encouragement of her buddy, Claire now enjoys reading and going to school.
Claire shares her story.     

Claire's story

Lily's story

Lily, sponsored student

Lily, sponsored student

Lily's story

"With The Smith Family’s help, we’ve been able to have a normal life like everyone else,” says Lily – sponsored student.

When Lily was paired her with a sponsor to support her education, she stopped feeling different from her classmates.

From a young age, Lily remembers how her mother struggled to pay for all of the school expenses for herself and her younger sisters. She felt embarrassed when she had to miss out on excursions and thought she would drop out of school. Thanks to her sponsor, Lily graduated high school and is now studying a Bachelor of Arts Communications (Journalism) and is on her way to achieve her dream of becoming a TV news reporter.

Kacie's story

"Knowing there was someone there…it felt like a massive burden was lifted off my shoulders" Kacie, Learning for Life graduate

Back in grade three, Kacie hated school. She didn't want to be there, couldn't read, couldn't do basic maths. Thanks to the support of The Smith Family, she has done a full turnaround. When she graduated last year she loved school so much she is now studying to be a teacher, so she can help change the lives of disadvantaged children who are in a similar situation to that in which she once was.

Kacie's story

Freeda's story

Freeda's story

“I’m the first in my family to graduate Year 12,” says Freeda, Indigenous Youth Leadership Program participant.

Freeda took part in our Indigenous Youth Leadership Program, which enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students living in remote areas to attend a high performing secondary school and/or university, often in the city. She also received financial support which enabled her to access learning experiences she otherwise would have missed out on.

Transferring to a new school in the city helped Freeda make friends outside her immediate social circle. Surrounded by people who encouraged her, Freeda felt motivated and her confidence grew. With her mind set on university, Freeda says support from The Smith Family has helped her achieve more than she thought possible. In this video, Freeda tells her amazing story.

Learning Club and sponsorship help John and David thrive at school

I want life to be better for them,” says Dah Moo, mum of John, 10 and David, 8.

Dah Moo came to Australia four years ago after living in a refugee camp. She wanted to give her sons the best chance at a better future. Yet there was barely enough to pay the rent and bills. With sponsorship, John and David are now getting that chance.

 

Dah Moo with sons John and David

Dah Moo with sons John and David

Emma builds confidence to succeed

Emma, Learning for Life student

Learning for Life graduate, Emma

Emma builds confidence to succeed

Emma grew up surrounded by the effects of generational disadvantage. With no one to  seek advice from at school or home, Emma started to lose hope. In Year 10, she joined The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program where she received sponsorship and took part in the iTrack online mentoring program. This combined support empowered Emma to go on to university and become a lawyer.

Jared's reading improves through student2student

“student2student helped Jared to get motivated,” says Janet, mum of 12-year-old Jared.

Living in an area with high youth unemployment, Jared’s parents know the importance of education. Yet living with a speech impairment had left Jared behind at school. Through student2student Jared gained motivation and improved his reading.

Jared. student2student participant

student2student participant, Jared

Juliana's story

Juliana's story

Juliana's story

Juliana’s family was struggling after her father passed away when she was just six years old. A bright and eager student, she was ready to take on the world despite her circumstances. With the support of The Smith Family, she’s now completed high school and had opportunities to explore her passion for theatre and develop her leadership abilities. For Juliana, having a sponsor to support her education was just the boost she needed to pursue her dreams, “I’m so glad that I had someone, who believed in me.” She is now studying at university and is grateful to her two families: her own family, and The Smith Family.



Elizabeth and Deng's story

Elizabeth grew up in Kenya and lived in a refugee camp before relocating to Australia, and she knows just how critical education is for her children so they can overcome their difficult circumstances.  Her son Deng is sponsored through The Smith Family and participates in The Smith Family’s Student2Student program to help him with his reading. Elizabeth has seen real improvements in Deng’s reading and spelling, and as Deng says “It’s a really big help for my future."

Elizabeth and Deng's story

Steven's story

Steven's story

Steven's story

One of the darkest times Steven recalls is when his family was evicted from their home because they couldn’t pay the rent. At this point, Steven couldn’t see himself finishing high school, let alone going on to further study. Things turned around when he was connected with The Smith Family’s sponsorship and mentoring programs. Steven has not only since graduated from school, but he’s now studying a diploma of Commerce. He is looking forward to the future, but what means the world to him more than anything else, is seeing the smile on his mum’s face.



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