On a sunny Sunday afternoon in December celebrated Australian pianist Roger Woodward AC, who is in the top echelon of international musicians, joined the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert to help raise awareness for our Tertiary Scholarship Program. The concert, held at The Concourse in Chatswood, received rave reviews.
After the concert Roger met with Sisters and supporters of the scholarship program at a private home nearby to further show his support for young people who have grown up in out-of-home care. He spoke eloquently about the challenges these young people face and the transformative power of education.
We also heard from one of our scholarship students, Cleo, who greatly impressed those gathered with her poise and determination.
Transcript of Cleo’s speech
“First off this evening I would like to say thank you to the Sisters of Charity Foundation for not only asking me to speak tonight but for providing me with this unforgettable opportunity which sets a vital foundation for my future dreams and goals.
I have been able to make choices which benefit me in my personal, professional and scholarly walks of life, all on my terms, due to the continuous support from the Sisters of Charity Foundation. I received early entry in 2018 for my degree which is a great achievement. I was hesitant to commence my university degree as there were so many liabilities and concerns on my shoulders. I knew my university fees were covered through HECs but I also had to consider the four-day a week full time study commitments that I was required to attend while ensuring my rent is paid on time on top of that.
By offering me a scholarship almost two years ago, at the start of my Bachelor of Communications and Media degree at Notre Dame, not only am I growing as a student but also as a human being, in all aspects of life. Although I’ve always been a strong person, as I’ve had to be in my life, it is nice to know that not every day is a battle and this has done wonders for my self-esteem and how I feel about myself and my future.
Now I am entering my final year of my degree, which I have decided to major in journalism for. As I have evolved so have the goalposts in my life. I am proving to myself that what I thought was impossible is now possible and my future achievements may be limitless.
I would like to embark on a career in the media as a correspondent in my future, I have always loved investigating the world and talking about it, while experiencing this I have a sense of what it takes to be the best I can be. I have also developed a love for law throughout my degree and am considering continuing my education in the future.
Having a sense of self and knowing who I am and want to be is so empowering and a feeling that is no longer foreign due to the support I have from the Sisters of Charity Foundation, who believed in me and what I can do. For that I am eternally grateful. Thank you.”
The Sisters of Charity Foundation would like to express our deepest gratitude to Roger Woodward and the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra for their support on an enchanting musical evening.
About the Tertiary Scholarship Program for students with an out-of-home care background
Out-of-home care is a statutory care arrangement for children under 18 who can’t live safely at home with their birth families due to chronic child abuse or neglect.
The state government becomes their legal guardian and places the child with an alternate caregiver: a foster carer, relative, or someone in their social network. They might also live in a group home under the care of paid staff, or independently in a private rental situation.
Only an estimated 1% of young adults from out-of-home care backgrounds are able to attend university, compared to around 40% of young adults in the general population.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program provides financial support so recipients can afford university or TAFE study expenses (course fees; textbooks; technology; and attending workshops, networking events and internships) as well as the cost of living on their own with no parental support. The scholarship lets them focus on their studies, rather than having to hold down multiple jobs to survive.
Main photo: Our scholarship student Cleo with Sr Anthea Groves rsc, Sr Eileen Browne rsc and Sr Margaret Fitzgerald rsc.
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