Wallaga Lake Study Centre going strong

STUDY CENTRE: The students at the Wallaga Lake Study Centre get assistance with their homework and other assignments. The adults are Tom Noonan from the Red Cross, new coordinator Liza Morris, Bermagui Aboriginal Educational Officer Bermagui Primary and Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group regional representative Steve Buckley and Deanna Campbell from the Ngaardi Women's Group.
STUDY CENTRE: The students at the Wallaga Lake Study Centre get assistance with their homework and other assignments. The adults are Tom Noonan from the Red Cross, new coordinator Liza Morris, Bermagui Aboriginal Educational Officer Bermagui Primary and Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group regional representative Steve Buckley and Deanna Campbell from the Ngaardi Women's Group.

THE Wallaga Lake Study Centre is once again forging ahead due to the amazing and generous financial support of many private individuals from the local community.

Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust recently employed Liza Morris as the new co-ordinator of this valuable program at the Wallaga Lake Koori Village.

Also helping out is Bermagui Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Narooma and the recent 2015 Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund Grant.

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The study centre assists Aboriginal students with their homework and course work as set by their local primary and high schools and past results show attendance rates and suspension days lost at school are both dramatically improved.

“Our dream is to make learning fun, to bridge the academic gap and encourage new as well as restore old skills in cultural history and appreciation, along with music and art so as to create little miracles with big outcomes for the future of local Aboriginal children,” Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust Board spokesperson Sister Laurel Lloyd-Jones said.

In addition many people, such as representatives from Red Cross, Bermagui School, members of the Wallaga Lake Community, representatives of Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust's Board and trained teachers assist by offering their valuable voluntary assistance, which enables the study centre to flourish and offer such a wonderful resource for these children.

As a charitable foundation, offering tax deductibility on all donations, the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust agreed to take on the study centre program.

This followed government funding cuts to many indigenous educational services and which caused the closure of this valuable resource last year.

Teachers report much better engagement in class and better communication with parents and carers, while closing the gap for Aboriginal students leads to better employment opportunities upon leaving school. 

The Wallaga Lake Study Centre is a shared partnership between the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust and the Ngaardi Women's Group at the Wallaga Koori Village.

The Ngaardi women assist with the day to day running of the study centre assisting the co-ordinator with supervision, provision of a healthy afternoon snack following the school day, listening to the children read and attending to the many needs of the students.

A complementary Wallaga Music Clinic is now being offered by Jasmin Williams, who is the Aboriginal creative and cultural engagement officer for South East Arts NSW.

The clinic allows individual music tuition for the children as part of their Tuesday study centre session.

This adjunct program needs two acoustic guitars and a keyboard and the trust is appealing for financial help to obtain these or should people have any unneeded instruments they can contact Jasmin on 6499 2207.

“The Wallaga Lake Study Centre provides a strongly needed educational program which improves self-esteem and confidence, greater enjoyment of school and much improved educational outcomes,” Sister Laurel said.

“Without the generous support that has been offered from so many within the wider community this valuable program would have been denied to Koori kids and for this we are just so exceedingly thankful.”

Volunteer teachers are now also needed for this program, which runs Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 4pm to 6pm at the Wallaga Lake Community Hall.

They are hoping to ensure that with sufficient teachers they can set up a roster that ensures that they don't over-burden teachers enabling them to adjust the days most suited to them so that their valued commitment is manageable for their busy lives.

All volunteers are required to have a “Working with Children Check”, which is a prerequisite for anyone in child-related work.

Should you be interested to assist with this program please contact Laurel by phone on 4476 8511 or email egs2emma@dragnet.com.au