Helping disadvantaged students to succeed is more than a job for Sereena

Even the toughest challenges become easier with the right support. That’s why our Learning for Life Coordinators are on the ground in disadvantaged schools and communities where students need help most, and Learning for Life Coordinator, Sereena loves being with students over the long term.

“I don’t call my job, my ‘job’. The Smith Family is actually just a part of who I am. It feels like an extension. I get to meet so many wonderful families and the kids I’ve seen go through primary school, I’m now watching go to university,” said Sereena.

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I don’t call my job, my ‘job’. The Smith Family is actually just a part of who I am.

Sereena, Learning for Life Coordinator

“Some of the struggles in our town are that we’re small and quite isolated. The Smith Family has been here for 12 years now. We’re throughout all of the schools in our community.

“We’ve got a wrap-around program. Financial assistance through sponsorship is definitely important. And we offer students our range of learning programs. I’ve really noticed the impact both have for children in need.

“One family has been the whole highlight of my role. Both parents have been mostly out of the picture. One of the siblings has just been approved for tertiary sponsorship – I don’t think anyone else in their family ever got past Year 9. Another sibling has received, through her own merit, a traineeship. These kids are just doing so fantastically well given the challenges they’ve had!”

Sereena is also Ruth’s Learning for Life Coordinator. Ruth’s mum passed away just before Ruth’s seventeenth birthday. And Sereena became her extended family.

“We went to Ruth’s mum’s funeral,” said Sereena. “I think that the connection families have with The Smith Family, and with us personally, creates a deeper level of work.

“Whatever Ruth needs for her education – be it printing or a bit of advice, she knows she can come down to our office and we’ll guide her. She’s a credit to herself and a credit to her mum.”

Hear from Ruth and Sereena firsthand in our video interview.

I’ve really noticed the impact both [financial assistance and learning programs] have for children in need.

Sereena, Learning for Life Coordinator