Community Action Team cares

A New South Wales, Griffith secondary school has today been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Connections UnitingCare Anti-Poverty School Award for the student’s work in the local community and will receive a grant of $2500.

Under the guidance of Pastoral Care Worker, Sue Hone, Marian Catholic College’s Community Action Team is a student-led group who work together to reduce the inequalities and injustices identified in their community.

The team has successfully completed a number of activities which have provided either practical support or financial assistance, increasing the social and emotional wellbeing of those directly impacted.  

The team recently facilitated an activity to compile kits, which contained the basic personal hygiene items required by those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.  

The “I Care Kits” will be distributed to homeless people, displaced people or those in the local community experiencing hardship or financial distress.

“As the name suggests, the kits symbolise that someone does care and each kit made includes a personal message of support written by the students,” said Ms Hone.

“Students have found the experience of being part of this team to be extremely rewarding and now have a better understanding and awareness of the community they live in. They have the confidence to identify issues, plan a course of action and implement a program or activity to reduce the impact of poverty,” said Ms Hone.

Connections UnitingCare Chief Executive Officer, Angela Forbes said the Awards presented a great opportunity to acknowledge the work of schools across the country, which often goes unnoticed.

“I am amazed each year at the creative and sophisticated ways that schools are engaging with the communities affected by poverty and extreme disadvantage and exposing their students to this,” Ms Forbes said.   

“These remarkable young people know that genuine investment in an individual is worthwhile, just as Connections knows that honouring their work and contributing positively for better outcomes for the families with whom we work, is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves as well as to others,” said Ms Forbes.  

Laura Vardanega, a representative from Marian Catholic College was in attendance to accept the award at the official ceremony held on Friday 21 October at Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne.

To read Marian Catholic College's full Anti-Poverty Awards application, click here.

Empowering children today for a better tomorrow

Alice Wojcik, 26, has been acknowledged in the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards, for the significant contribution she has made to the lives of young refugees and migrants in Melbourne’s West.

Receiving the 2016 Encouragement Award, Alice founded the Tomorrow Foundation, a charity which has evolved from a community group running a homework club at a local school to opening Victoria’s first Refugee Migrant Children Centre.  

After leaving her corporate job in risk management four years ago, Alice has been able to build a dedicated and passionate team of staff and volunteers who support over 100 children and young people each year.  

“Both of my parents immigrated to Australia from Poland with next to nothing. I was faced with many difficulties including culture shock and having to learn a new language.   

“I long for a world where every child is loved unconditionally, that they have the support network they deserve, and the opportunities that will define them as adults. The most vulnerable children in our local and global community deserve our support and love,” said Alice.  

“My vision is to empower refugee, asylum seeker and migrant children and youth between the ages of 5 to 18, who are encountering disadvantage by providing direct tailored services that empower, build their knowledge and develop their confidence,” said Alice.   

The Tomorrow Foundation’s programs seek to prioritise the wellbeing of children, so that a sense of agency, value and identity can be developed within the broader Australian community.

Connections UnitingCare Chief Executive Officer, Angela Forbes said the Awards presented a great opportunity for young people to come forward and be celebrated for their work.  

“The desire to be recognised by the many young people we have spoken to over the years has not been one of glory for themselves, but for the particular causes for which they have such enormous passion, and in showing leadership to other young Australians,” said Ms Forbes.  

“These remarkable young people know that genuine investment in an individual is worthwhile, just as Connections knows that honouring their work and contributing positively for better outcomes for the families with whom we work, is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves as well as to others,” said Ms Forbes.   

To read Alice's full Anti-Poverty Awards application, click here.

See the person, not the stereotype

Marcus Crook, 29, has been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Connections UnitingCare Anti-Poverty Award for his work with Melbourne’s homeless community, and for his efforts is the recipient of a $4000 grant.

The Anti-Poverty Awards recognise the many young people passionately working towards tackling inequality and injustice within Australia or abroad.

A passionate advocate for the homeless, gender equality, and global poverty-reduction, Marcus, co-founded HoMie (Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated Enterprise), a non-profit clothing store and fashion label that clothes, trains and employs people who are experiencing homelessness.   

Furthering their impact, HoMie also runs Homeless of Melbourne, an online advocacy program, which promotes a positive social movement for change by de-stigmatising and humanising homelessness.  

The online platform shares information and stories about Melbournians who are experiencing homelessness, and directly engages citizen support to advocate for social change.

“It’s a way for us to sit with, chat and listen to people we find on the streets as they speak freely, with the aim of providing an understanding and insight into each individual person and their circumstances,” said Marcus.

“Our VIP Shopping Days aim to increase feelings of social inclusion and bring homeless Melbournians into the HoMie support network,” explained Marcus.  

HoMie’s latest initiative is the Pathway Project, a retail training and employment program, which will offer an Australian-recognised retail qualification as well as guaranteed employment at retail chain Cotton On for trainees upon graduation.  

Connections Chief Executive Officer, Angela Forbes said the Awards presented a great opportunity for young people to come forward and be celebrated for their work.   

“These remarkable young people know that genuine investment in an individual is worthwhile, just as Connections knows that honouring their work and contributing positively for better outcomes for the families with whom we work, is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves as well as to others,” said Ms Forbes.    

Since opening its doors in July 2015, HoMie has held nine VIP Shopping Days, which have brought over 250 homeless Melbournians into its support network and distributed over 1,850 items of brand-new clothing. HoMie has also trained and employed three Melbournians who are experiencing homelessness.

Recognised for his humanitarian work and voluntary leadership, Marcus received the national award for his work in creating a more inclusive community, reducing social prejudice, empowering the homeless to re-integrate into the workplace and helping battle global homelessness through targeted and creative solutions.

To read Marcus' full Anti-Poverty Awards application, click here.

The 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture and Presentation of Anti-Poverty Awards

We warmly invite you to attend the 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture & Presentation of the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards.

This year's Lecture will be delivered by Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation.

Seri brings over twenty years’ experience in senior executive and advisory roles to her leadership of the ten20 Foundation. Having worked across the corporate, non-profit, philanthropic and government sectors, Seri has a unique perspective of how diverse sectors operate.

She utilises her strategic, innovative and entrepreneurial skills to build cross sector collaborations focussed on social impact. She joined ten20 as founding CEO in 2012.


About the WJ Craig Lecture
The Annual WJ Craig Lecture honours Connections’ history and the philanthropic legacy of William John Craig (1839 – 1899) and his family, which endures in the work of Connections to this day.

The Lecture aims to stimulate and encourage debate on important social issues.

About the Anti-Poverty Awards
The Anti-Poverty Awards recognise the many young people passionately working towards tackling inequality and injustice within Australia or abroad.

The awards acknowledge and highlight the hard work and dedication of individuals and schools across Australia who demonstrate a deep understanding of those in need.


When: Friday 21 October 2016

Where: Deakin Edge
Federation Square
1 Batman Avenue
Melbourne

Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm

RSVP: Christine Williams rsvp@connections.org.au or 1800 137 036 by Friday 14 October 2016

RSVP is essential

Refreshments provided

16 Sep 2016

Released: Connections News - Spring Edition

The Connections News, Spring Edition is now available.

It is core to our philosophy that we are absolutely committed to preventing violence against women, and consequently, children.  

As a community service organisation with a strong reputation in the community, we can use our status and our influence to enter into public conversations about preventing violence against women and support a workplace where we have conversations about gender equality.

It is with this in mind, we are thrilled to be one of four organisations, and the only community organisation piloting an exciting new project with Our Watch. The Workplace Equality and Respect Project was launched on Wednesday 24 August 2016 by Fiona Richardson, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Minister for Women.  

I encourage you to read more about this important initiative in our newsletter.  

I also want to extend a very warm invitation to you to attend the 30th Annual WJ Craig Lecture and the Presentation of the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards. This year we are delighted to have Seri Renkin, CEO of the ten20 Foundation delivering what we think will be a powerful lecture.  

If you haven't already, may I also encourage you to read about the work of the talented young people and schools who have been nominated for the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards.  

Each year, I am moved by the motivation and commitment of the young people who apply. Through their actions, whether they are working in communities in Australia or overseas, they have taken up the challenge of making a difference and are working toward the common good.

Once again, I thank you for your support and hope you continue to be inspired by our work in your local community.

If you would like to receive the newsletter each season, please register here.

Click here to read Connections News – Spring Edition.

Thank you for your continued support of our work.

With best wishes,
 
Angela Forbes
Chief Executive Officer

Gawler East Primary School students are true global citizens

Gawler East Primary School in South Australia was the recipient of the 2015 Anti-Poverty Awards School Award.

It is the first time in the awards’ history that a primary school has won the award; highlighting children are learning early the value of thinking about others and the call to action which can occur.

“Throughout this whole process our students learnt they can be true global citizens. They realised they have a voice and can promote real change around the world”, said classroom teacher, Ms Anita Marling-Bauer.

“We hope this experience will be just the start of them thinking of others less fortunate than themselves.

“The Anti-Poverty Awards make real for children and young people the knowledge that they can contribute, no matter what age they may be, for the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow,” said Ms Marling-Bauer.


  • Do you know a young person aged 16-30 working towards tackling inequality and injustice within Australia or abroad?
  • Do you know a school involving and educating its students about poverty-related issues?


If this sounds like you or someone you know, apply now!

Any school or young person aged 16-30 working on a project to overcome poverty within Australia or overseas is encouraged to apply.


Applications for the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards have been extended until 11:59pm AEST Friday 9 September 2016.

For more information about the awards, visit antipovertyawards.org.au or contact anti-poverty@connections.org.au.

Most votes competition

Have you voted for your favourite Anti-Poverty Awards application?

This year we are excited to be able to offer a cash prize of $500, proudly supported by the carsales Foundation, to the applicant with the most number of votes by 11:59pm AEST, Friday 16 September 2016. This number will be determined by the counter located under each application.

We will also consider, 'shares' on Facebook and 'mentions' on Twitter if they contain the hashtag #AntiPovertyAwards.

The recipient will be notified by a staff member from Connections UnitingCare on Monday 19 September 2016 and will be announced on Connections’ social media pages.

When voting in the most votes competition, one voter will be randomly selected to win 2 x adult Village Gold Class movie tickets. For full terms and conditions, click here.

Please note: Voters can only vote once per application per email address. The number of votes an application receives does not determine the result of the main awards.

For more information, visit antipovertyawards.org.au.

Celebrating young people making a positive difference

Applications for the Anti-Poverty Awards open 1 August 2016

The Anti-Poverty Awards, now in its twelfth year, acknowledge the many projects of both schools and individuals; highlighting their hard work and dedication and the significant contribution these projects have on the wider community’s understanding of poverty.

The unique awards not only incentivise traditional forms of philanthropy, but also the energy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial nature of young Australians.

Helping launch the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards is Victorian, Andrew Mellody. Andrew, the 2015 Individual Award recipient was commended for his work with Co-Ground, a not-for-profit organisation, which launched in response to the devastation following Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

Almost one year on, Co-Ground has completed two international development projects and is currently working on a social enterprise - a mobile café. One hundred percent of profit will go towards sustainable funding for other global development projects, whilst supporting the sale of direct trade coffee and implementing training, development and leadership opportunities for young people in Australia.

Australia’s current youth population is hungry for the chance to create a better world and Connections believes young people, like Andrew should be given the chance to be catalysts of social change.

“The Anti-Poverty Awards reinforce to me there is still a place for dialogue about poverty and the community is open to having such important conversations. I am honoured to have won the award in 2015 and to be able to share the story of the people we work with to a broader audience,” said Andrew.


Applications for the 2016 Anti-Poverty Awards are open from 1 August 2016.

Any school or young person aged 16-30, working on a project to overcome poverty within Australia or overseas is encouraged to apply.


For more information about the Anti-Poverty Awards, visit antipovertyawards.org.au

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