Our Student Wellbeing activities relate to two of the Education Benalla Program objectives:
- To improve student-assessed levels of wellbeing to moderate or high
- To raise family and community expectations of students going on to tertiary education or training
Tomorrow Today funds children and young people so they can participate fully in community and school life even though their families are experiencing financial disadvantage.
We do not accept direct requests. Instead we work with Benalla referral agencies including schools, clubs, Benalla Rural City Council, NESAY, GOTAFE, Benalla Police, Benalla Health, Dept Human Services and Upper Murray Family Care.
Areas covered include:
Educational costs – to buy school uniforms, provide access to after-school care, attend school camps and excursions, hire instruments to enable participation in school bands, and to attend a special education setting that caters for students with learning difficulties.
Connect Clubs – we work with all local clubs to encourage and support teenage participation in club activities. Young people have received assistance to participate in swimming, teen gym, dancing, gymnastics, lawn bowls, basketball, football, netball, Scouts and Venturers, drama classes and music lessons.
Back to School vouchers – each year we work with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) to provide hundreds of FRRR Sidney Myer $50 Back To School Vouchers. The vouchers, which are distributed by school principals and welfare officers at all Benalla district schools, help parents buy uniforms, clothing and basic educational needs.
A student’s sense of health and happiness has a profound impact on educational success and whether that student will stay in, or turn away from, education. Research shows that it is possible to positively affect young people’s wellbeing by building connections between teenagers, families, the community and the school.
Tomorrow Today believes that we, as a community, need to redouble our efforts to keep students engaged at school. We also need to make the community more aware of the importance of students attending school each day so they do not fall behind to the point where they disconnect completely from education.
Benalla’s unique Connect9 is a community based mentoring program developed by Tomorrow Today Foundation for Year Nine students, who are usually aged 15.
Hands On Learning is a creative, flexible learning program that sits outside the school’s standard curriculum. It allows small groups of up to 10 students to work on real projects one day a week.
After School Paid Part-Time Work
We have partnered with NE Tracks LLEN and a number of other agencies to design and develop a program that trains young people for after-school part-time work and connects them to potential employers.
Research shows that being engaged in part-time work contributes to improved student engagement with school and the community. It also arms students with valuable life skills.
Students complete training in employability skills, employment rights and responsibilities, team work and resume writing.
Local business people attend sessions to tell their stories and give students tips and advice on how to succeed in the workplace. They also assist with mock interviews.
We help students who finish the training, to find part-time work in the local community.
Youth Mental Health
Youth Mental Health First Aid
We offer Connect9 parents and mentors a free Youth Mental Health First Aid Course in Benalla. The 14-hour course, run over two days, helps adults to support young people who might experience mental health issues commonly associated with teenagers, like depression and anxiety.
Youth Mental Health Forum
In 2014, Tomorrow Today and a number of local agencies helped coordinate and fund a forum on mental health for 100 Year 9 and 10 students from Benalla P-12 College and FCJ College.
- De-stigmatising and understanding more about mental health
- Pro-active brainstorming to identify potential school activities that could address mental health issues and assist peers who are ‘at risk’
- A question and answer session with a panel of local professional providers, doctors, youth workers and young people (with anonymous written questions taken).
In 2015, schools, with staff support and funding from a Tomorrow Today grant, staged a week of student-led activities to promote awareness of mental health issues and where to obtain help and advice.
The Education Benalla Program runs across the whole Benalla community. We conduct activities on our own and with partners, and Tomorrow Today also supports other groups and agencies with the same goals.
Grants have assisted a local youth group, youth art projects, Benalla Street Art Inc and North East Artisans, and the Winton Wetlands environmental project – all of which increase opportunities for students to connect. For example, support for the Let’s Find Our Voice! concert and story-telling fostered social connectedness and learning between young (FCJ students) and old (Cooinda residents). All Community Grants are locally funded thanks to the income generated by the Tomorrow Today Community Fund