Sally* is a No Limits student at Tyabb Railway Station Primary School. While she was happy to be at school, in the classroom she struggled to follow instructions and found it difficult to grasp the concepts being taught. She answered questions with comments unrelated to the topic and made markings on a page that were unrelated to the task.
In her Foundation year, Sally was screened by a No Limits speech therapist and was identified as needing intervention in a range of areas. Sally did not know letters or letter sounds and was unable to rhyme. She found it difficult to share amongst her peers in a small group.
Throughout the lockdowns, Sally attended three No Limits sessions a week where she had strong participation in small groups and one on one lessons. The repetitive nature of the No Limits lessons allowed Sally to practice her new skills, develop her confidence and take risks in her learning. She became a happy and eager learner, often arriving the the Zoom lesson before her teacher.
Sally’s teachers have seen significant increases in her skills and comprehension throughout her time in the No Limits program. She now excels in her classroom environment and is a happy and confident learner who Is keen to share her knowledge with her peers.
The No Limits program has not only benefited Sally academically – but socially and emotionally as well and has enabled her to develop new friendships.
*Name has been changed.
Learning Enhancement Program
Western Port Secondary College student Matthew* faced a number of challenges throughout his school life before joining the Elevate program. In primary school, he was often suspended and had anger issues, and after entering secondary school, he struggled with bullying and motivation.
Since joining the Elevate program in Year 9, Matthew has received the support he needed to actively participate in his studies, make new friends and gain confidence both socially and academically.
Matthew is now able to focus on his work and has increased his attendance from one-two hours a day to five days a week.
Sarah is a Year 8 student in the Elevate program at Western Port Secondary School. While Sarah had positive experiences in primary school and enjoyed learning, she found the transition to secondary school difficult. At the same time, she was having issues at home which affected her attitude and motivation towards school, which she rarely attended.
Sarah was identified as a student who would benefit from the Elevate program and through this, she was connected to the school counsellor. Through the program and the assistance of her counsellor, Sarah was able to build back her motivation. She now no longer needs her counsellor and is attending a mix of both Elevate and mainstream classes, something she was not able to manage previously.
Sarah has big dreams for her future. She wants to graduate and attend University to study law. In the meantime, she has recently started her first part time job.
Throughout our engagement with local schools, we continue to be amazed by the strength, perseverance and dedication shown by staff despite the significant challenges many face. One such school continues to grow from strength to strength despite these conditions including having 85% of parents unemployed.
Our relationship with this primary school began with limited outside support for the school and families. From this relationship, we were able to connect the school with donors who enabled the creation and funding of a food program called Healthy Eats. This program ensures that each child has access to nutritious meals at school, prepared by a different class each day. The food for Healthy Eats is prepared in a brand new kitchen, also funded by our donors. This program provides stability, comfort and food education for the students and is vitally important in their development both physically and mentally.
Food stability was identified as a particular need within this school but also as a point of access to families. The program was seen as so vitally important that when COVID-19 forced schools to shut down for such a long period in 2020 and 2021, we worked with the school to ensure that families continued to have this access to nutritious food. The budget from Healthy Eats went to creating hampers for families to collect. In 2021, we began a partnership with Port Phillip Estate to deliver home cooked meals to these families to get them through the lockdown period.
This school joined the No Limits speech and oral language program in 2019 and in 2020, saw the highest marks of improvement out of all schools involved. In addition, the school has embraced an MPF funded Music program in partnership with surrounding schools and has participated in multiple donor visits. Their Principal has been generous with her time and has successfully communicated with donors the specific needs of her school and students. Through these donor relationships, the Principal has secured a three year commitment of funding which will allow them the opportunity to join our Learning Enhancement Program.
The combination of extraordinary staff and generous donors has created this opportunity for the school to spiral out of disadvantage and achieve real academic and personal success.
St Vincent de Paul Transition Scholarships
Dear The Mornington Peninsula Foundation,
I would like to start with a thank you. I only started at Rye Primary School this year so receiving this $500 scholarship felt like I achieved something. I began the year with a goal to win something and I did it!
It made me feel so special and amazing. I knew I made my parents proud, and I can be proud of myself every time they tell their friends about my accomplishment and every time I get a “good job” or a “well done” it makes me feel so happy and accomplished.
With the $500 I am planning to use it on school books of clothes. The money has definitely helped with buying what I need for high school and I am extremely grateful for it. I can do a lot with this award and I can be proud and make other people proud of me.
Once again, thank you. This has really inspired me to keep trying my best and get more awards in the future.
Student Counselling at Tootgarook
We know that schools are more than education centres and we know that being ready to learn means more than simply paying attention. Throughout COVID, students and families have experienced increased levels of stress and isolation. This has been an incredibly challenging time and to combat these feelings of anxiousness, we are dedicated to funding a dedicated student counsellor at Tootgarook Primary School. Mr. Borge meets with struggling students individually and has been instrumental in achieving positive outcomes and increasing rates of student attendance and engagement. The Counselling program has become an integral part of the school.
The 2020-21 lockdowns have been undeniably difficult, placing significant financial and mental strain on families in the Mornington Peninsula Community. Food and meal preparation were identified as a simple but effective means of easing this strain.
Throughout our 7th lockdown, our friends at Port Phillip Estate have been using their skills and kitchen assets to cook tasty, healthy meals for families in our vulnerable communities, with ingredients funded by MPF donors. While the families love the meals the staff report great feelings of satisfaction in being able to provide them, especially when they deliver them in person. Everyone’s a winner when giving becomes receiving and receiving becomes giving.
Melissa from Port Phillip Estate describes the impact of the project on her team:
“Lockdowns are difficult and it is inspiring to see a community strengthen during a time of crisis. We are pleased to be making a contribution to our local community and are proud to be offering fresh and healthy meals to members of our community who are experiencing difficulty at this time. Thank you to MPF and the MPF donors for funding the ingredients and matching us with a need”.
Western Port Community Support Centre – Brokerage Funds
At MPF we believe strongly in the power of early intervention and prevention. Our data shows that once an individual is already experiencing homelessness, they have only a one in four chance of exiting homelessness into stable housing. This compares to those who received intervention when they were at risk of being homeless, where 85% see a stable outcome.
Brokerage Funds that can be used flexibly and quickly are a key part of homelessness support programs MPF funds. Such payments cover a range of urgent needs, for example rent in arrears or advance, transportation or medical, and they can make a world of difference in someone’s life. These funds secure immediate outcomes that often prevent longer term crises.
Georgia Hourn, Executive Officer from Western Port Community Support Centre explains why:
“The brokerage has been used for a variety of reasons and has made immeasurable difference to 18 individual clients.
Teeth extraction may seem a very distant issue to housing and homelessness but in this instance the client had been homeless for many years and through our program had engaged well with the case worker and remained focused on improving his situation. With the case workers support he secured safe accommodation and was very clearly focused on gaining employment and becoming self-reliant, determined to move away from Government benefits. The client had dreadful teeth and this was impacting not only his self esteem and his health but also his employability. Our privilege was to be able to help this man with his teeth extraction and dentures and he now works full time and is on the pathway to financial and housing security.
The brokerage also allowed us to support a female client with one child who lost employment due to COVID and was struggling with the weekly rent expense. Recognizing that it was highly unlikely she would find cheaper rental and that supplementing her weekly rent was a far more desirable option as opposed to her becoming homeless, we were able to provide a weekly contribution to her rent until she secured employment and was in a position to support herself fully”.
Not only do these stories describe a significant change in circumstance in the lives of the individuals they affect, they are also clear examples of where the spiral into homelessness can be stopped. From a small investment, these individuals will and have become self-sufficient and no longer require the financial assistance of philanthropy, or the state. This is an investment in an individual, in the community and our general society as a whole.
Southern Peninsula Homeless Connections
Sam* has been attending the SPLaSH program twice a week for over four years, during which time he has been unable to remain engaged with other services. There, he built up a trusted relationship with the workers.
Sam’s housing history has seen him move from camping in the backyard of his father’s holiday property before moving to the Rosebud foreshore. While he stayed there for 15 months, his campsite was slashed which forced him to sleep on the floor of a toilet block on the foreshore where he was able to lock himself in at night. Sam suffers from osteoarthritis and will soon require a mobility scooter as his condition deteriorates.
After being introduced to Sam, SPCS’s Homeless Connections worker took the opportunity to engage further and begin the conversation on housing. Through the HC’s assistance, Sam was able to apply and be approved for priority public housing. The process involves doctor visits and letters of support however the wait time for public housing remains 6-18 months, leaving Sam sleeping on the concrete floor of the toilets.
As SPLaSH had become the only service that Sam would willingly reach out to, he attended the sessions regularly. Because of this, the Homeless Connections worker was able to take her time in the way that she worked and engaged with him. Not having time restraints or unachievable goals (often seen with other service providers) which are designed to meet funding requirements and not the requirements a client may need.
Ultimately, the Homeless Connections worker was able to find transitional housing for Sam. Here he is able to work on his goals with the HC worker while waiting for his long term housing.
MPF is a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 tax status. All donations are tax deductible. As all operational costs are covered by the George Hicks Foundation, 100% of donations are distributed as community grants.