Cultural and creative life

5 minutes with our New Year’s Eve charity partner The Smith Family

Learn about Australia’s largest national education charity and how you can support it.

The Smith Family/ NYE/ City of Sydney

The Smith Family is an education charity that helps children and young people experiencing disadvantage overcome barriers and participate fully in their education. The Smith Family is the Sydney New Year’s Eve charity partner in 2021.
We spoke with CEO Doug Taylor to find out a little more about the organisation.

Tell us about some of your recent projects

We’ve been working really hard to support young people with their education throughout the Covid crisis. We recently trialled a program called Catch-Up Learning. It’s an online home tutoring program for children that began as a response to the education disruption caused by the pandemic. It achieved some great results for school students who had been struggling with literacy and numeracy – and we’ll be running a phase 2 of the program in the new year.

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How do donations make a difference to the work you do?

1 in 6 Australian children and young people is currently growing up living in poverty. The Smith Family’s learning and mentoring support programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their classmates, and build aspirations for their future.

This support ranges from online reading support programs, to helping provide digital access to families who’re unable to afford it. We recently gave a Sydney family their first ever laptop so that the children could properly participate in remote learning. They’d previously had to rely on just the mum’s mobile phone. It’s been life-changing for that family. Donations are essential for us to provide these kinds of services and we’re truly grateful to all our supporters for enabling these outcomes.

What were The Smith Family’s significant milestones in 2021?

This Christmas we’re celebrating 100 years of improving the lives of young Australians in need, and it all started right here in Sydney.

From humble beginnings on Christmas Eve in 1922, when five businessmen provided gifts to children in a Sydney orphanage, we now support almost 60,000 children and young people across the country each year on our educational support Learning for Life program.

How important are partnerships with events – like Sydney New Year’s Eve – for raising awareness about The Smith Family?

Our partnership with the City of Sydney this New Year’s Eve is an amazing opportunity for us to explain more about what we do to the people of Sydney, and because the event is so popular, we’re thrilled to be able to shine a light on the importance of educational support globally too. Children everywhere have missed out on schooling over these last couple of years, and it’s vital that we do what we can to help keep them on their all-important educational journey.

And finally, why should people donate to The Smith Family?

At The Smith Family, we believe in the power of education to help young Australians create better futures for themselves. We work with more than 730 schools in communities throughout Australia, supporting the education of more than 58,000 children and young people in need through our flagship program Learning for Life.

Evidence underpins our programs and practice and informs our work. We are rigorous in how we track and measure the difference we are making. A donation to The Smith Family is an investment in the education of children in need that ultimately enables a better society for us all.

Make a donation to The Smith Family.

You can also donate when booking a ticket to a City of Sydney New Year’s Eve vantage point.

Published 13 December 2021