On March 8 this year Mary Campbell’s mail contained a pleasant and well-deserved surprise.
Alerted by the former Pro Vice-Chancellor Ted Excell to the possibility of qualifying for a grant, partners in ACU’s Homework Support Program (HSP) in Fitzroy applied to the Rotary Club of Melbourne to help to fund HSP and the “Read to Learn” program at Atherton Gardens Estate, neighbouring ACU’s St Patrick’s Campus.
They hoped to receive between $2,000 and $5,000 if they were successful. To the delight of Ms Campbell, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement’s (IACE) Relations Co-ordinator, the envelope contained a cheque for $14,210 and a letter commending “this very worthwhile program.”
The cheque opens up new possibilities for HSP and Read to Learn. It will be used for much-needed educational resources for children from refugee backgrounds, raising their literacy levels and fostering their aspirations and love of learning.
Third Year Education students from ACU — 189 of them — are involved as tutors in the program. The ACU students engaged with the Atherton Gardens community through their involvement in homework support are committed to teaching and contributing to their young neighbours’ futures.
“Community engagement has opened my eyes,” says one of them. “It’s made me realize how contributing to the community can help you feel more fulfilled as a person. I’ve also learnt that a simple smile or ‘How are you?’ can really light up someone’s day. I have learnt so much from the children at Homework Club.”
With the help of resources provided from the Rotary grant, it is possible to teach and to learn even more.