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Writing to your sponsored student

Writing to your sponsored student can be a very rewarding part of your sponsorship journey. Students often tell us how motivating it is just to know that they have a sponsor – a special person who cares about them and their education. Students also tell us that hearing from their sponsors gives them added encouragement to do their best.

That’s why we make it easy for you to correspond with your sponsored student. Every year, you’ll receive a hand-written update from your sponsored student. We will also send you a birthday reminder so you can send on birthday wishes if you choose. You can write to your student at any time of the year and we’ve included some conversation tips below to help you get started.

We do understand and respect that you may not wish to write to your student. Choosing to correspond with your student is entirely optional.

Conversation starters

We know it can sometimes be hard to know what to write about, so we’ve created some conversation starters to help you get started.

Asking questions is another great way to start a conversation with your sponsored student. You can ask them things like ‘What are your hobbies?’, ‘Do you have any pets?’, ‘Do you have a favourite sport or book?’

What you can include

Sponsor a student

What you can include

All correspondence between students and sponsors is reviewed by The Smith Family before we forward it on. This is to protect the privacy and safety of our students and our sponsors. By law, we cannot provide photos or any information that can identify your sponsored student, or reveal your identity to your student. This table shows which personal information you can include in your correspondence.

TSF_WelcomePack_Table

The Smith Family will always act in the best interest of students. Only correspondence complying with our guidelines will be forwarded.

The Smith Family is not a religious organisation nor are we associated with any religious organisations. However, you are welcome to share religious expressions with your student if you wish. We do ask that any information you share regarding your faith is treated sensitively and in a non-intrusive manner, as the student and family you support may share different beliefs.

The Smith Family is a child safe organisation. For information on our commitment to Child Protection, visit thesmithfamily.com.au/child-protection

Please also see ‘Gifts for your student’ below for more information about enclosing items with your messages.

How to send your correspondence

All correspondence between students and sponsors is checked by our team of volunteers before we forward it on. You can send messages, emails, letters, cards or gifts to your student in the following ways:


Unique links
On occasion you may receive an email from us containing a hyperlink unique to your Smith Family account. You may click this link to write a message to your student and purchase a gift card online using our e-form.

My Smith Family

Send your student(s) a message via the My Smith Family portal by following these easy steps:

  1. If you are an existing user, login to the My Smith Family portal or register for an account
  2. Select My sponsored students from the menu
  3. For the student you would like to send a message to select ‘View details’ > ‘Corresponding with your student’ > ‘Write a letter’
  4. Type your message and then select submit. We will print your message and send it onto your student.

Email
You can email your correspondence to [email protected] and we will print this out and send it on to your student. Please include your Smith Family ID and your student’s name and student ID in the email.


Mail
Send your correspondence and gifts to:

Learning for Life student correspondence
The Smith Family
GPO Box 10500
Sydney NSW 2001

Attn: Your student’s name, your student’s ID and your Smith Family ID (found on any letters or correspondence from The Smith Family to you)

We ask that you respect the privacy of students and their families. Please do not take any action to make direct contact with a student or their carers at any time during or after the sponsorship. We consider this to be in the best interests of the student and the sponsor.

If a student or their carer attempts to contact you directly, please contact us on 1800 633 622. We are also happy to assist you over the phone if you have any other questions.

Two boys on a slippery slide

Gifts for your student

Three girls sitting on steps with books

Gifts for your student

Your valued sponsorship is a great gift in itself and further gifts are not required or expected. However, you are welcome to send gifts to your student in the way of gift cards. Being able to shop for themselves can be exciting for students.

As some students have siblings who may not receive gifts from their sponsor, we ask that you limit your gift to $100. Contact us if you would like to find out what stores are most convenient for your student.
Please refrain from sending:

  • any food items such as chocolates and biscuits, as we cannot send these to your student (due to allergy, diet restrictions and anaphylaxis)
  • heavy or fragile items, as these can be expensive to forward on to the student and may get damaged in transit.

Please note: The Christmas period of November and December is a very busy time and we would appreciate your assistance in sending your gifts well in advance - 8 to 10 weeks during this period is most helpful.

Hearing from your student

A drawing correspondence from a student

Hearing from your student

While our students and their families appreciate hearing from you, please remember that due to a range of extenuating circumstances, they may not always be able to respond. Some students may feel embarrassed about their circumstances or inadequate writing skills, they may not know how to respond appropriately or may have a disability.

Parents may also struggle to communicate with you as they may be juggling many demands such as working multiple jobs to make ends meet or caring for an ill or disabled family member. Some students, particularly younger students, may not fully understand the concept of sponsorship. Please don’t take this as a lack of appreciation on their part. We know that hearing from their sponsor can be very encouraging for our students

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