Supporter News – Autumn 2022

Welcome to our first e-news of 2022.

Welcome to our first e-news of 2022.

It’s a privilege to have joined Ardoch at the start of this year. I have long believed that education is the gateway to opportunity, and that for too many children, education is not the rich experience it should be. Many haven’t had access to quality books and reading at home, or haven’t learned the foundations of numeracy that continue to form part of our everyday lives. They start school from behind and then struggle to catch up, turning school from a place of curiosity and opportunity for learning into a place of self-doubt and disengagement.

I am quickly learning how the Ardoch community contributes to changing this. My first few weeks have focused on coming up to speed with the breadth of programs Ardoch offers and on how we can make the most impact in 2022, especially after the disruptions of the last two years.

Next, I’m looking forward to being out on the road and meeting with some of our education partners to hear how we can strengthen our impact in schools and early learning centres. I’ll be connecting with some of our amazing volunteers to understand how we can make their engagement with children even more meaningful. And I’ll be reaching out with gratitude to our incredible supporters to explore and deepen the mutual benefits of our partnerships. Ardoch is its team. I have been humbled by the warm welcome I have received, the passion and commitment to the work, and the determination to make a difference and give children and young people the best chance to realise their full potential.

I look forward to sharing our joint progress with you,

Lisa Jones
Chief Executive Officer

Upcoming Engagement Events – We want to hear from you!

The Ardoch community is a pretty special bunch, making everything we do possible. And we’d like to offer you the chance to get to know each other better.

Below are some upcoming free events where we’d love to find out how we can better support local children, the role you might like to play, and offer you the chance to have your questions about our work answered. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some of the schools, volunteers, supporters, and community organisations who all work together to support children’s education.
We hope to see you soon!

VIC: Dandenong, Bojak Brewery – 24th March, 4-6pm
Afternoon tea with Ardoch

NSW: Bankstown, Terrace Bar – 31st March, 4-6pm
Afternoon tea with Ardoch

Australia-wide – 6th April, 6pm (AEST)
Webinar with Ardoch CEO, Lisa Jones

VIC: Sunshine West, Sunshine Social – 3rd May, 4-6pm
Afternoon tea with Ardoch

VIC: Geelong, Venue TBC – 19th May 4-6pm
Afternoon tea with Ardoch

*Afternoon teas in Broadmeadows, Frankston, Ballarat and Melbourne will also be announced soon.

Why the Best Buddies are Literacy Buddies®

One of our core Literacy Support Program initiatives is Literacy Buddies®, giving children the chance to exchange letters with volunteers throughout the year, as well as the chance to meet their Literacy Buddy in their workplace as part of a school visit. This aspirational program not only builds core literacy and language skills in line with the school curriculum, it also gives children the chance to imagine a brighter future and explore their potential careers.

Workplace visits are a highlight for the children, exposing them to new environments to aspire to work in, and an opportunity for our corporate volunteers to share their work with the children. Children also experience different communications styles and practice their writing and composition skills in a meaningful and rewarding way. Over the past two years, we’ve also developed a fully virtual Literacy Buddies® program, to keep Buddies connected and engaged even through lockdowns.

Our 2021 evaluation found that:

  • 76% of Literacy Buddies® teachers agreed that the program improved student engagement in writing tasks
  • 76% of Literacy Buddies® teachers agreed that the program improved student social skills, especially regarding asking questions and responding to an adult mentor
  • 96% of workplace volunteers enjoyed Literacy Buddies

“As the coordinator of Literacy Buddies at Marsden, I again wanted to pass on my thanks for allowing Marsden to again participate [in the school visit]. The day was amazing. The students were delighted to be able to meet their Big Buddies and to be able to put a face to the name!”
– Literacy Buddies Coordinator, Marsden State High School

“My students learnt how to write letters using the correct format and structure. They also experienced great anticipation awaiting their Big Buddies’ letters.”
– Teacher, Sunshine Primary School

Volunteering is back, baby!

It’s given us goosebumps to see Ardoch volunteers returning to classrooms for the new year – the excitement of both the children and our volunteers has been palpable, especially given volunteering opportunities have been so disrupted over the past two years.

The impact of COVID-19 has been wide-reaching and the need for Education Volunteers is even greater than ever. That’s why we need you.

Students have missed months of in-school learning, inequality of education outcomes has widened, and many students also having missed extensive social development from being in the school or early years setting, surrounded by their peers. Given this, the Ardoch team will be working very hard over the coming weeks to connect volunteers and education partners, enabling volunteers to start providing crucial support to students.

Ardoch is also excited to have launched a new volunteer portal, to make it easier for volunteers by providing a one-stop shop for accessing online training, updating your contact details, registering for professional development sessions, and logging volunteering hours. We hope this community space will become an increasingly valuable resource and access point for our volunteers.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping children in your local community to bounce-back from COVID-19 and realise their potential, we’d love to invite you to join as an Education Volunteer. All life experience is welcomed, and we provide extensive training, so our volunteers are well equipped to enter a classroom setting. We ask volunteers for a commitment of two hours a week for a minimum of six months.

Apply below or find out more.