23 August 2021

EdConnect and Alcoa Foundation Renew Three Year Partnership


Eric Bezwerchy - Warnbro College-6
EdConnect Liaison Officer Karen Barden, Alcoa Foundation Communications and Community Relations Ashley Wright, EdConnect volunteer Eric Bezwerchny and EdConnect CEO Gerri Clay.

The difference dedicated volunteers like Eric Bezwerchny make in helping students navigate the challenges of school life is set to continue in the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West regions thanks to a renewed partnership between EdConnect Australia and the Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation will provide more than $245,000 to keep EdConnect’s ‘Connecting Generations for School Success Program’ operating in these areas over the next three years. That brings its total contribution to the successful school volunteer program to about $590,000 since 2016.  

Eric has been volunteering with the program since May, assisting students who visit the Warnbro Community High School Education Support Centre’s bike club. The aim of the bike club is to build confidence and provide a sense of achievement for students living with disabilities.

A hands-on man with experience as a fitter and turner, renovator and beekeeper, Eric said he enjoyed working in the shed and helping students fix or maintain donated bikes.

“I didn’t have previous experience in working with children or disabilities but, I have learnt a lot about the students and about bikes,” he said."

“The role is rewarding and fun and made for a hands-on volunteer like myself. We would like to expand the bike club, so please express your interest to EdConnect today.”

The renewed Alcoa Foundation-EdConnect partnership aims to match volunteers with up to 800 students needing social, emotional and academic support at least 15 schools each year. Last year, around 160 EdConnect volunteers from the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West regions provided close to 250 hours of support each week, helping more than 880 students with mentoring or learning support.

EdConnect CEO Gerri Clay thanked the Alcoa Foundation for its ongoing support.

“EdConnect can’t express what this amazing funding partnership means to the organisation. Without the support from the Alcoa Foundation, EdConnect would be unable to reach the numbers of students we do in the region,” she said.

“We are excited to celebrate the renewed partnership and I think Eric really showcases the variety and quality of volunteers we are proud to represent here at EdConnect Australia.”

Alcoa Foundation Australian Lead Suellen Jerrard said the EdConnect school volunteer program was a great example of how communities rally together to help one another and Alcoa was proud to be able to continue its support.

For more information about the EdConnect volunteering opportunities see www.edconnectaustralia.org.au, contact edconnect@edconnect.org.au or call 1800 668 550. 

Media contacts:

  • Karen Barden, EdConnect Australia Rural Liaison Officer, karen.barden@edconnect.org.au, 0438 028 646

  • Jane McGuire, Alcoa Senior Communications Advisor, jane.mcguire@alcoa.com