To officially launch its Winter Appeal this year, the entire staff from The Smith Family's national office along with celebrity ambassadors, former Olympic swimmer Elka Whalan, Host of Channel 9 / GO's -Kitchen Whiz' and Masterchef Australia 2012 Series 4 contestant Alice Zaslavsky and Network Ten's The Loop Presenters Scott Tweedie and Ash London and Ten's Late News Presenter Hermione Kitson, will reveal its giant 'Opportunity Key" at the Harbour foreshore today.
The Winter Appeal aims to raise $3.43 million by 31st of July to provide educational support and mentoring programs to 10,000 disadvantaged children. The key is symbolic of unlocking the future of disadvantaged children and restoring their self-belief.
Right now, one in ten Australian children is living in financial disadvantage and does not have access to the same opportunities as other children. This affects their engagement at school, their emotional and social development and ultimately their self-belief.
The Smith Family's General Manager in NSW Theresa Collignon said that supporting the education of Australian children in need was a powerful way to end disadvantage.
'Australia is known as the lucky country but unfortunately there are huge inequalities that exist for children and young people from disadvantaged homes and communities," Ms Collignon said.
'It is essential that we raise $3.43 million this winter to provide ongoing educational support to 10,000 Australian kids who are being held back from accessing the same educational and life opportunities that the other children have, and as a result their self-belief is being chipped away on a daily basis."
'Without support, the disadvantage these children are experiencing today – through no fault of their own – could lead to a lifetime of lost potential."
Ms Collignon said there is a strong link between a child's background (or socio-economic status) and their educational outcomes.
'Young people with poor educational outcomes are less likely to complete Year 12 and more likely to go on to experience unemployment, welfare dependency and poor health. That type of disadvantage leads to further disadvantage, as it is passed on to the next generation."
'The opportunity key represents how donations from the public will unlock the future for disadvantaged Aussie kids," she said. 'We're asking the community to get behind The Smith Family's Winter Appeal so we can continue our work in 97 communities across Australia and help children in need hold on to their self-belief."
Funds raised will support a range of educational support and mentoring programs, including after-school learning clubs, reading support programs for kids who are up to two years' behind in their reading levels, mentoring and tutoring programs.
Donate to The Smith Family's Winter Appeal by phoning 1800 024 069 or visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au/winter