"I can see that The Smith Family’s long-term approach to working with disadvantaged students is effective. The support offered needs to start at an early age and be ongoing.
"That’s why I sponsor an Australian child with The Smith Family.
"It’s a personal choice based on what I understand matters about education – and what I know works to achieve better outcomes for disadvantaged young Australians.
"I’ve been sponsoring a child since she was in Year 4 and she’s now in Year 12. I’ll always remember what she wrote in her first letters: ‘This is the first time I’ve ever had school shoes; this is the first time I’ve ever had a school uniform; this is the first time I’ve been able to go on excursions.’
"As a sponsor, I’ve provided financial support and also communicated with that student. Through the letters we exchange, I ask her questions about what she’s doing at school and engage with her about her life. Just showing that interest has worked beautifully over the years.
"Because I travel a lot for work, when she was in Year 5 I sent her a map of the world and every time I go to a different place I send her a postcard. I don’t know whether she keeps them, whether she puts them up on the wall or whether they’re all in the bin, but given many of these kids have had no opportunity to travel or anything like that, I hope I’ve given her a little bit of insight into what’s out there in the world.”