The Smith Family - Sarah's Story
Learning support changed Sarah and her sisters' lives
Sarah* and her two sisters know what it feels like to be left out. "I loved school, but I didn't fit in. Some days it was really hard to go," says Sarah. Single mum, Elissa,* did the best she could, but the money just wasn't there for the education essentials.
Elissa could tell her daughters were struggling: "The girls were missing out on the same learning opportunities as the other kids. We didn't have a computer at home and I couldn't afford the excursions. It made learning difficult and their confidence suffered."
Through no fault of their own, Sarah and her sisters were falling behind at school. "Before The Smith Family's Learning Club we didn't know how to use a computer, but at the club we were taught how to use different programs and we felt a lot more confident at school afterwards," says Sarah.
They also spent time one-on-one with a mentor each week to learn study skills and essay writing. "I didn't go too far with my education," says Elissa. "But I wanted the girls to have opportunities I didn't. They learned so much from the volunteer university students at the club and their grades improved noticeably."
Sarah's sister, Karen,* took part in student2student, which pairs young students with reading difficulties with an older student buddy. "Karen was three years behind in her reading. I could barely get her to pick up a book," says Elissa. "After the program she became an avid reader."
"Seeing Karen get so much out of student2student made me want to help," says Sarah. "I signed on to mentor a younger student and it's been great. We just picked a harder book because she's improved so much."
Elissa is so appreciative of the support people like you help us provide. "If not for The Smith Family helping my family and the girls with their education, we wouldn't be where we are today," says Elissa. "I don't think the girls could have made it through their education."
Encouraged by what her daughters achieved, Elissa set out to better her circumstances and enrolled to study at TAFE. "Now, we are a family that enjoys studying and learning together," says Elissa. "We inspire each other to challenge ourselves. I can't say enough how grateful we are."
* This is the true story of one of our Learning for Life families. Names have been changed to protect their privacy.