VIEW Club empowering students

Published 6:00am 12 June 2024

VIEW Club empowering students
Words by Jodie Powell

A club that’s supporting students through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program is keen for more members to join them.

The Brendale Evening VIEW (Voice, Interests and Education of Women) Club raised more than $11,000 for The Smith Family's Learning for Life program last year, with funds going to support eight students in the Moreton Bay region.

President Suzanne Williams says the program gives crucial assistance to young people experiencing disadvantage to help keep them engaged in education so they can finish school and go on to further study or get a job.

“So many costs are not covered by free education,” Suzanne explains.

“Last year Brendale raised about $11,000 to support eight students through the Learning for Life program between grade one and fourth year university.

“We communicate with them through The Smith Family portal – we send birthday and Christmas greetings and encouragement and a $50 voucher for their birthday.”

Learning essentials

As well as supporting students through Learning for Life, Suzanne says the money raised by the Brendale Evening VIEW Club’s 54 members allows the group to select special packages under The Smith Family’s Joyspreaders scheme.

The scheme funds educational programs and personal support that help students make the most of their education.

“We can choose what we want to support, such as indigenous learning packs or digital learning essentials packs,” Suzanne says.

VIEW Clubs of Australia National Councillor for Area QA Lyall Aldridge has been a member of the Brendale Evening VIEW Club for the past 21 years and says she was drawn to the organisation’s drive to provide educational help for disadvantaged children.

“I was still working when I joined, which is how I came to be with the Brendale Evening VIEW Club – it’s the only evening club on the northside.

“What impressed me was that it was providing education for Aussie kids in need and that is still a passion of mine,” Lyall says.

“VIEW offers something different from other groups because we help the community by fundraising to support Australian students who are disadvantaged and involved in The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

“What adds to that is once they graduate a lot of the students give back to the community by mentoring students or working for The Smith Family.

“One lady did a sports degree and now in her spare time works with young kids.”

Focus on education

Lyall is responsible for VIEW Area QA covering Brisbane and surrounds, which is divided into two Zones; QA01 covering Redcliffe, Pine Rivers, Brendale, Arana, Aspley and Newmarket, and QA02, which encompasses Logan, west to Ipswich and east to Redlands.

Inspired to join VIEW by her aunt, Lyall says the group’s approach to supporting young people experiencing poverty has evolved dramatically since it was founded by The Smith Family general secretary George Forbes in NSW in 1960 as a service club for women who wanted to share ideas, learn new skills, form friendships and give back to their communities through supporting the work of The Smith Family.

“In the 1990s the educational program started and that’s all they concentrate on now.”

Suzanne joined VIEW in 2012, encouraged by a longstanding VIEW member who lived across the road.

“I was new to Brisbane, so it was nice to be involved and meet new people.”

She says while VIEW’s work supports disadvantaged young people, it’s rewarding for members too.

“VIEW ladies are fundraising but there’s fun, friendship and guest speakers at our dinners once a

month,” Suzanne says.

“We have a dinner on the third Tuesday of the month at the Aspley Hornets Football Club at Aspley.

“We’ve had guest speakers ranging from various authors, a retired diplomat, wellbeing experts and

medical researchers, to travel specialists and people with unique life stories to tell.”

Brendale Evening VIEW Club also meets for coffee and chat on the first Saturday of the month.

To find out more email [email protected]

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