If VIEW Club members on the coast were in any doubt of the importance of their educational work, Suanne Sneddon can put that to rest.
The Learning for Life leader for the Smith Family has outlined just what a difference clubs up and down the coast make for disadvantaged families.
Ms Sneddon, based in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, said fundraising from Wollongong to the Victorian border – including clubs in Batemans Bay, Bega, Eden, Narooma and throughout the Shoalhaven – was crucial.
She said the program sponsored families to defray the cost of their children’s education.
“Coordinators connect the child and family to learning opportunities and support,” Ms Snedden said.
Other programs helped children “get the most out of their school years”.
Just this year, the program has linked 50 students in a peer reading support program.
Weekly learning clubs had reached 150 students and 35 had taken part in an online career mentoring program. Ninety school leavers were offered career assistance.
Basic financial skills have been offered to 45 students and a whopping 650 Let's Read packs were delivered to support early literacy.
Ten Let's Count places were provided for early childhood facilitators to promote early numeracy skills to preschoolers.
Ten parents received tech packs and have undertaken a computer skills course … to keep up with their kids.
Ms Snedden spoke the VIEW gala day at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on August 29, which drew members from up and down the coast.
St Georges Basin View Club members Jean Blay, Maureen Dennett, Valerie Hobbs, Pat Whalan, and Valma Christie attended the gala day in Batemans Bay.
“We come every year,” Ms Whalan said. “All the clubs join together on the one day, it is really nice.”
“We support the VIEW clubs,” Ms Blay said.
St Georges Basin members Thelma Clarke, Ros Evans and Ethel Medcalf attended, as is did Mollymook members Kath Ling, Betty Rumph, Pauline Oakes, and Jean Price.
Founding Moruya vice-president Lyneece Evans and Dawn Head, a member for 38 years, attended.
“I have been in View Club for 39 years at Moruya,” Ms Evans said.
“You need 10 members to start. We got 75 first up.”
“Friendship,” is what has kept her coming back since that day in 1977.
All guests embraced the black and silver cabaret theme, donning sparkly hats, strings of beads and lacy gloves for our photos.
Keynote speaker was Ulladulla’s Gayle Dunn, who lost her young son Craig and his mate in the Bali bombing of 2002.
She spoke movingly of the long road to building a youth activities and education centre – a speech which resonated with the large crowd.
View National Councillor NG Pat McRae travelled from the Bega Valley for the event, sharing the stage with national vice-president Toni Thomas and zone councillors NG Carole Cassidy, Fay Kastelein and Susan Stephenson.
Classical singer Sarah Prestwidge closed the day, resplendent in a red sequined gown.
Nowra Evening View Club members Robyn Bursill (past national councillor) and Lyn Gerstenberg (past national vice-president) attended.
Figtree Evening View Club member Sue Field, past national vice-president and Bega Evening View Club member Carleen Maley, past national vice-president, were all smiles at the event, as our gallery shows.
Bega Evening View Club’s Judith Reid, Sandra Mullaney and Sue Cotterill also said, but had a warning for guests: “We start dancing after sweets.”
“Being involved in assisting anyone who needs care and help, especially the children, and being involved in our area,” were Ms Reid’s reasons for remaining active in VIEW.
“And the good company.”
Judith Shears, of South Sussex Day View; Robyn Lewis, from Sussex Evening View; Alison Reed, from Sussex South View; Valerie Paul, of Sussex South Day View; and Doreen McGavock, program officer for Sussex South Day View also attended.