FIRST SUNDAY CLUB: April 2010 Southside Education

I know what you’re thinking this morning: “Hurrah for elasticised pyjama pants!” Or is that just me as I contemplate Easter egg number 43?  (I refuse to feel bad. As someone once said, “Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays”).

Wherever you are, I hope you get the chance to relax this Easter.

That said, I’m here to remind you that it’s the first Sunday of the month. That means today is all about the First Sunday Club.

This month I’m asking readers to donate $10 to a cause close to home: Southside Education.  Southside Education at Sunnybank is a school for indigenous and non-indigenous students who require a different approach to schooling.

When you come from a stable family, school is just, well, school. As a child I took for granted the ease with which my family bought new school shoes, textbooks, uniforms and lunchboxes. My parents helped me with my homework, turned up to sporting carnivals, made cakes for the school fete and made sure I never missed a day of school unless I was legitimately sick (I did once draw dots on my face to convince them I had measles but they didn’t fall for it. )

For the students who attend Southside Education – life isn’t necessarily quite so rosy. Many have suffered the type of social and emotional trauma that you and I would find hard to comprehend. They often have huge gaps in their education, having missed large chunks of school. Some of the girls have been in and out of foster care and are well known to Child Protection.  Many turn up on their first day cloaked in extreme sadness, arriving with nothing.  A number of students have no stable accommodation.

Yet, according to principal Colleen Mitrow, they turn up full of hope. They turn up with the goal of turning their lives around by getting an education.

“To try to make education a reality for these young people Southside Education provides books, healthy meals each day, school uniforms and sports uniforms and shoes that help these students to feel included in our school community and the wider community. Southside students are proud of their school which is based on a different model of education that they believe will enable them to build a promising future and eventually gain economic independence.”

However it is often a long journey to help mend a child’s broken spirit and the Southside staff work with great sensitivity and understanding. Students are urged to become kind and active citizens, to aim high academically and to explore their many talents. Last year 95% of Southside’s Year 12 students graduated with a Year 12 Certificate and/or a Vocational Educational & Training TAFE qualification. Many have now begun further study.

Your $10 this month will go towards paying for uniforms, shoes, textbooks and even meals for these girls.  Send your cheque to Southside Education
PO Box 234, Coopers Plains, QLD 4108

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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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