September 27, 2018

Cross generational benefits from Alcoa Foundation partnership

EdConnect Australia and Alcoa Foundation partner to help students and volunteers


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EdConnect Pinjarra Primary School volunteers Wilbur Graham, Jacinda Gordon, John Szkraba and Bett Caldwell with EdConnect's Karen Barden (2nd from left), Alcoa's Suellen Jerrard (4th from left) and Pinjarra Primary School's Marcia Kett (2nd from right).

School children in the Rockingham-Kwinana, Peel, and Waroona-Harvey areas will receive additional support to successfully navigate emotional, social and academic issues thanks to a US$180,000 partnership between EdConnect Australia and the Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa has agreed to continue supporting delivery of EdConnect’s ‘Connecting Generations for School Success’ program in these areas for the next three years after first partnering with the organisation in 2016.

The partnership aims to match volunteers with up to 800 students at risk of not achieving their educational potential in at least 15 schools each year.

EdConnect Australia CEO Gerri Clay said the partnership would connect about 100 volunteers with the schools, where they would assist teachers and provide one-on-one student support.

Ms Clay said local students would receive academic and social support while older generations would get an opportunity to stay active and connected with their communities. “We are pleased to be associated with the Alcoa Foundation and are looking forward to providing continued support in these areas,” she said.

Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker said the company was proud to support a program with cross generational benefits. “Supporting our young people to reach their potential is vital but so too is supporting other members of our community,” Mr Parker said. “EdConnect’s programs assist both students and older volunteers, who have so much to offer.”

Wilbur Graham agreed that EdConnect had dual benefits. The 84-year-old has volunteered at Pinjarra Primary School for 14 years and for the last eight years has attended every school day. “I get so much out of it and love going home at the end of the day thinking I’ve been able to remain active and help someone,” Mr Graham said.

Bett Caldwell, one of the newest of the five EdConnect volunteers at Pinjarra Primary School, said she was nervous at first about venturing into the classroom but was thoroughly enjoying her time with the students and encouraged others to follow suit.

EdConnect Australia Rural Liaison Officer for the Peel region Karen Barden urged any community members interested in volunteering, particularly those prepared to mentor a high school student, to contact the not-for-profit organisation.

To find out more about EdConnect's regional opportunities contact or 9444 8646 or visit


Media contact: Jane McGuire at