When Taleah’s dad had a stroke five years ago, everything changed for the family

Up until then, Taleah’s mum, Michelle, had been working full time as a mental health support worker and case manager. But after her husband’s stroke, Michelle made the difficult decision to leave her full time job and take on casual cleaning work, so she could be at home more and take the pressure off her children. “I said to the kids, I’m happy to do that, because you guys aren’t meant to look after your parents,” says Michelle.

Around this time, Taleah (pictured on the right) was struggling at school, both academically and socially.

But then Taleah was introduced to The Smith Family and things immediately took a turn for the better because generous supporters like you were there to help.



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Taleah benefited from our student2student reading program, which pairs students who are up to 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.

“Taleah fell behind in primary school in the very early years,” says Michelle. “I’m not sure why, because I tried to keep right on top of her schooling.” But by Grade 4 Taleah was really struggling with her reading. “Whatever strategies I was using, they weren’t working. It was really hard and the more frustrated I got, the more upset she got. It really took a toll on her not being as good as the other kids. Her confidence was dropping.

Something had to be done and I didn’t know what at the time. Then The Smith Family came along, and I was like ‘Yay’.” With the help and encouragement of her student2student buddy, Taleah has come to love reading. “Reading used to be really hard,” says Taleah, “I just didn’t like it. I didn’t feel that confident because I wasn’t a good reader. And now, basically, all I want to do in class is read.”

Within eight months at her new school, Taleah’s moved up a whole year in her reading level, and her grades continue to improve. “I tell my kids, ‘I will always do my best for you, but sometimes it’s hard, so we’re lucky The Smith Family is there for us,’” says Michelle. “I’d like to tell [supporters] they are an amazing group of people and I don’t think they know just how much difference they do make in people’s lives!”

I just didn’t like it. I didn’t feel that confident because I wasn’t a good reader.

Taleah, sponsored student