Friday, October 21 2022

In this past week I experienced two galvanising moments. The first was on Tuesday at a primary school not 10 minutes from our Centre in Hunter St, Parramatta. The school’s enrolment is 95% English as an ‘Additional Language or Dialect’ students. With just over 700 students they come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds from 27 different nationalities and 48 different home languages. At 12.15pm I walked into the school hall with writer and illustrator Dub Leffler. What turned his face red was the sheer onslaught of clapping and cheering as he received a rock star’s welcome. Whilst Dub had prepared his presentation, much of the hour-long session was him answering questions from the students. And they really were intelligent, thoughtful, curious questions. It was obvious that they had read his books, been inspired by his illustrations to the extent that they had written poems and drawn pictures which were now hung up on the back wall of the hall, and that the teachers had invested so much in making this moment of Dub visiting as giving and fulfilling as it possibly could be for each and every one of these young people. It was the first time we had collaborated with the school and one of their first times to have this opportunity. These moments are why we do what we do.

The second moment was reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald. You should read it too. Simply put it cites evidence that “Australian schools face writing crisis as falling standards risk a life sentence for students.” This too is why we do what we do.

To create change sometimes isn’t that hard or difficult. Bringing Dub to those stage three students last Tuesday is what we do. It cost under $400. You too can contribute to making change for our next generation – as much or as little as you can goes a very long way. That is why we are running Booktober, to support our programs with children and young people. It is as easy as clicking here. And I do appreciate that we are all feeling the pressures of the rising cost of living, the grocery and petrol prices. Sometimes I just weigh things up and decide that I don’t need to weigh any heavier, that treat, that coffee can translate into inspiring the imagination of a child and giving the gift of literacy.

Michael Campbell, Executive Director

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