December 12, 2022

Intergenerational school volunteer program benefits almost 1000 students in 2022

EdConnect Liaisons

Funded by the Alcoa Foundation, the life-changing impact of EdConnect Australia volunteers on schools and students in the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West areas in Western Australia has been celebrated.

The Connecting Generations for School Success Program allowed 110 volunteers to assist nearly 1000 students across 24 schools during a challenging year.

The year began with a vaccine mandate for volunteers and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions, preventing volunteers from entering schools until Term 3. This led to a disrupted volunteer program with fewer community members available for volunteering.

EdConnect Liaison officer Karen Barden said against the odds, EdConnect volunteers still made a difference this year.

“Although our volunteers couldn’t be at school for as many weeks this year, their impact has been so positive and appreciated by the schools we work with,” Karen said.  

“EdConnect volunteers support students at primary and high schools and make such a difference. These schools have told me how much they appreciate volunteer support.”

Approximately 40 representatives from various organisations, schools and the community attended a celebration event in Mandurah recently to acknowledge the time and effort volunteers spent providing support to students.

Among the volunteers present was Ruthie Whatley who spoke positively about her experience of volunteering with pre-primary-aged students at Meadow Springs Primary School.

“The students I work with call me many names: art teacher, the tooth fairy and crown lady. We work together to make crowns designed to assist with their literacy and fine motor skills. The students love making them with me and often ask me to stay longer,” Ruth shared with the audience.

Alcoa Foundation’s support has assisted EdConnect Australia in providing essential community connections for volunteers and much-needed learning support or mentoring to students at risk of not achieving their educational potential.

The Alcoa Foundation has partnered with EdConnect since 2016, providing around $600,000 in funding to support the program in communities close to where the Alcoa mines bauxite and refines alumina in Western Australia.

Alcoa Senior Partnership Advisor Sally Fairnie told the celebration event that the Alcoa Foundation, which is the company’s global charity, was celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

“The foundation is proud to partner with organisations like EdConnect that are doing amazing work making a difference in our local communities and for future generations,” Sally said.