Extending a helping hand

Morwell students from disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to receive support from their first day of school to their first day on the job with new funding for The Smith Family's Learning for Life program.

The Smith Family general manager for Victoria Anton Leschen, AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets with grade 4 students Kade and Lilyarna. photograph hayley mills

The Smith Family general manager for Victoria Anton Leschen, AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets with grade 4 students Kade and Lilyarna. photograph hayley mills

AGL Loy Yang announced on Friday at Morwell Park Primary its continued support for the program by committing $26,000 a year for three years for 45 local students.

Sponsorship provides students with essentials such as school bags and books, access to a qualified education support worker and out-of-school leaning and mentoring programs.

Learning for Life Gippsland team leader Susan Scarr said the program gave children "that little extra bit of support" to feel equal among their peers.

"Sometimes for students ... if they don't have the opportunity to have the same things as other students such as the books or the even the same shoes as other students it does set them apart," Ms Scarr said.

The Smith Family general manager for Victoria Anton Leschen said kids raised in disadvantaged backgrounds had parents who would "be keen to see them get on and get an education".

"But because of the household's lower education, lower employment, low income, they're facing a whole lot of barriers to getting to school every day," Mr Leschen said.

The program helps students navigate the decision-making required in the education system and provides $600 a year to each student for their educational needs.

Six hundred students in the Morwell area are involved in the Learning for Life program.

Mr Leschen shared the success of local Katelin Lugton to illustrate how the Learning for Life program was making a difference.

"She went to FedUni ... now she's a teacher so she's contributing to education, she's earning her own money, she's paying her taxes. I won't say she's broken out of the poverty cycle, but that's what we do," Mr Leschen said.

"We know that the most disadvantaged students at disadvantaged schools are on Learning for Life ... and we track them on advancement from year 10 to year 12, from year 12 to TAFE and university and to employment, and on those three measures we see Learning for Life students equal or better than their peers."

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said his company believed education should be fair and AGL has supported the program since 2012.

For more information about how to sponsor a student and stay in touch through their education visit thesmithfamily.com.au.

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