Volunteers making a big difference in schools

by James Reid12 May 2016

Australia’s largest children’s education charity, The Smith Family, has marked National Volunteer Week 2016 to recognise those making a significant difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.
National Volunteer Week 2016, which runs from 9-15 May, has been given the theme Give Happy, Live Happy, recognising that not only are volunteers making the lives of others happier, they too are happier as a result.
Last July, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed that just 31% of Australians volunteered with a not-for-profit organisation in 2014, down from 36% in 2010.

The statistic marked the first time the nation had experienced a decline in volunteering.
However, defying a downward trend, The Smith Family’s volunteer base grew by 10% last year.
In a statement, The Smith Family CEO, Dr Lisa O’Brien, said the charity – which provides 34,000 high disadvantaged children with long-term educational support – sees volunteers as integral to maintaining this much-needed support.
“Generous volunteers donated an estimated 516,700 hours of service to The Smith Family last year, with around 5,000 volunteers directly supporting disadvantaged students as trained mentors, tutors and reading buddy supervisors,” she said.
“Our volunteers choose to support The Smith Family knowing they can make a positive and lifelong impact on the lives of young people and their families.”
Volunteering has been shown to have a significant impact in schools seeking help with matters ranging from funding shortfalls to completing infrastructure projects.