Michelle had her life turned upside down when a bush fire ripped through her home.

The family only had enough time to pack a few things in the car and leave.

Michelle’s dad stayed behind to fight the fire – and was injured and traumatised as a result. In an instant, the family lost their family home and their source of income.

This family, who had always done it tough but managed to get by, was now facing serious financial difficulty. Suddenly they found themselves living in poverty.

The family struggled enormously over the coming months, but Tracey, Michelle's mum, says it was the impact on her children that hurt the most.

Michelle had her life turned upside down when a bush fire ripped throug her family's rural property.

It's not her fault - no child should feel like this.

It's not her fault - no child should feel like this.

"I was trying to support the family, care for Brian, figure out the business and juggle too many bills. I couldn't keep up. I felt sick watching Michelle fall so far behind at school. I didn't know what to do." - Tracey, Michelle's mother.

With the extra stresses at home, Michelle hasn’t had the support she needs to keep up with her school work. Michelle’s Dad Brian used to be the one to help Michelle with her homework, but after the fire he couldn’t. Tracey does everything she can to help Michelle with her school work, but she doesn’t have the skills or knowledge.

Michelle started pretending she ‘lost’ her homework because she hadn’t understood what was happening in class.

She made excuses to go to the toilets when it came time to read aloud because she was embarrassed about not knowing the words.

Tracey felt so guilty, and so helpless, that it tore her up inside.

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1 in 6 Australian children are living in poverty.

1 in 6 Australian children are living in poverty.

In Australia today1, too many children and young people are having their futures defined by the circumstances they are born into.

The difficulties these children face at home often go on to negatively affect their school life. They start school behind their classmates and without extra learning support, they stay behind.

If we don't intervene in the early years of a disadvantaged child's education, these children are at risk of falling so behind at school they give up trying.

Your donation matters.

For over thirty years, The Smith Family has successfully helped large numbers of disadvantaged young Australians and their families engage in their education with long-term and sustained efforts so that they can create a better future for themselves.

Your donation can change the lives of children like Michelle, by providing them with the extra out-of-school support she needs. Poverty shouldn’t define Michelle’s future. But it will, unless we help.

Our students can access a range of programs that begin in the early years and continue through to the tertiary level. Students develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours they need for long-term educational achievement.



Early years
  • Let's Count
  • Let's Read


Primary years
  • Student2student reading program
  • Learning Clubs


Secondary years
  • iTrack career mentoring
  • Learning Clubs
  • Work Inspiration


Post-school years
  • Tertiary mentoring
  • Financial literacy


Parents and carers
  • Tech Packs
  • Financial literacy
What your gift can do... A donation today an help stop poverty affecting Michelle at school and into adulthood.


A catastrophic event like a bushfire can be what triggers poverty – but the impact it can have on a child’s education is lasting.


Can you help Michelle?

•	Learning Clubs provide safe and supportive environment for disadvantaged children like Michelle catch up and keep up at school

Can you help Michelle?

Michelle desperately wants to learn and enjoy school, with support and help she will regain her confidence to fully participate in her education.

By providing Michelle with out-of-school learning support this year you will help her catch up, keep up and stay engaged at school. Please help Michelle and thousands of children like her get access to Learning Clubs programs in Terms 3 and 4.

Will you help provide crucial support to children just like Michelle? Please be the change she needs to reach her full potential.

*Michelle and her family’s names, locations and associated images have been changed to protect their identity.
1 Poverty in Australia, 2018, ACOSS/UNSW Report.