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Learning Club helps Phoenix to learn at her highest level

Phoenix reading book

When Phoenix’s mother, Stacey, left an unsafe home environment to protect her daughters, she found herself alone with no support. Then an accident put her in hospital. Throughout it all, our supporters have ensured her daughter, Phoenix, could keep doing her best at school.

“After leaving my ex-husband…I didn’t ask anyone for help because I didn’t want to admit what was going on in our marriage. There was domestic violence and I was very embarrassed,” said Stacey.

“Then we were in an accident. My daughters and I were in a dance studio and a driver drove into the building. I got my daughters out of the way, but I got hit badly. I was in the Intensive Care Unit with broken ribs, a head injury and second-degree burns on my back.”

Research shows that the early years of life play a key role in laying the foundations for children’s future learning and lifetime outcomes.1 Stacey didn’t want their hardship at home to affect Phoenix’s education. But focusing on her recovery as well as trying to help Phoenix with homework was too much to do by herself.

So we enrolled Phoenix in our Learning Club program. It’s a safe and supportive space outside of school where Phoenix gets help with her homework from volunteer tutors.

“Before Learning Club, Phoenix lacked some confidence. Now she’s much more confident reading out loud. She really animates words and acts out what's going on in the book,” said Stacey.

In 2017-18, 86% of students agreed that going to a Learning Club helped them do better in class.

“Phoenix is very spirited. She wants more homework. She’s always asking questions. She really loves Learning Club because there’s always more. It’s just a lovely program.

“And she’s so happy there because she is seeing her friends and building best friendships. So Learning Club has become her special time.”

Now Phoenix is going from strength to strength at school. And Stacey is so grateful to all the supporters who are helping Phoenix to reach her potential.

“Many of the volunteer tutors are university students. So Phoenix gets to interact with people who are more mature than her. It is a really great group of peers modelling good behavior,” said Stacey.

“Because of that extra time at Learning Club, I could see the difference between Phoenix and some of her peers. She has even been nominated by her teacher for the Student Representative Council.

“I feel like we’ve received a lot of personal support from The Smith Family. It feels like we actually do have family here. We’re very lucky.”

1. McLachlan R, Gilfillan G & Gordon J (2013) Deep and persistent disadvantage in Australia, rev., Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper: Canberra

Read more student and family stories in our Spring 2019 edition of Real People, Real Stories.

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