The next generation of budding young local philanthropists recently celebrated their success in organising nine great community projects for Benalla and district. Developed and coordinated by Melbourne organisation Kids Thrive, the Kids as Catalysts program was brought to town through a partnership with Tomorrow Today and local schools.
The program to encourage child-led social change was undertaken over two terms by fifty Year 5 to 6 students from St Joseph’s Primary School and Benalla P-12 College.
The 3Ts of philanthropy – time, treasure and talent – were used as a primer to spark passion amongst students, who teamed up with like-minded peers and local community organisations to develop community-building projects. A grant from Benalla Rural City helped finance the initiatives.
Projects focussed on environmental issues, mental health, domestic violence, social inclusion and cultural awareness. Students revealed a remarkable depth of understanding and insight into current social issues and how they might be addressed. To conclude the program, community partners, judges, friends and family members gathered at the Lakeside Centre to hear the students present their final project reports and talk about what they had learnt from the experience.
Tomorrow Today Wellbeing Coordinator, Cathy Hair said “The young people really grew in confidence during the program. They had to contact their prospective partners, plan their project, write funding applications complete with budgets and then pitch to the panel. When successful they had to variously source materials, organise events, build or construct items and travel to other sites. They have done an amazing job”.
Tomorrow Today and the schools expressed their gratitude to the judging panel and to the volunteers who helped with the program. Brett Moloney and Helen Nunan from the Bendigo Bank worked over two terms with the Benalla P-12 students, whilst Denise Tanner assisted the St Joseph’s students.