December 08, 2019

School volunteers make a big difference

EdConnect volunteers working in schools across the Kwinana, Peel and South West regions have added nearly $750,000 in value to the local community this year.

EdConnect and Alcoa at end of year celebration function.
EdConnect Liaison Officer Karen Barden and EdConnect volunteer, Gavin Jardine, from Alcoa, at the end of year celebration function.

About 150 volunteers provided close to 250 hours of support each week over the 2019 school year helping nearly 1,500 students across 22 primary and high schools.

The support was provided through EdConnect Australia’s Connecting Generations for School Success Program, made possible through funding from the Alcoa Foundation. Alcoa and EdConnect have been working together since 2016 in order to establish and grow volunteer assistance in local schools.

EdConnect volunteers provide one-on-one support that assists students to develop confidence, resilience and self-esteem, which in turn boosts their engagement and enjoyment at school.

Volunteers were thanked for their tireless efforts during an end of year celebration hosted in Mandurah recently.

EdConnect Liaison Officer Karen Barden thanked all involved saying impact assessments proved the program was making a big difference.

“Thanks to the support of Alcoa Foundation, the schools we work with and our amazing volunteers, we have been able to make a real difference for young people across the Kwinana, Peel and South West regions this year,” Karen said. “Just an hour a week can make an impact”

EdConnect volunteer Ruthie Whatley said those giving up their time to help students also benefited from their involvement. “My favourite moment this year was when a four-year-old said I looked like a rainbow and that I was her favourite person in the whole world,” Ruthie said.

Another volunteer, Gavin Jardine, said since being made aware of EdConnect through this employer Alcoa, he had found the opportunity to mentor and support local children extremely rewarding. He encouraged others to also consider getting involved.

For more information about EdConnect volunteering opportunities see or contact


Media contacts:

  • Karen Barden, EdConnect Liaisons Officer,
  •  Jane McGuire, Alcoa Senior Communications Advisor,