EdConnect Australia and Alcoa Foundation partner to help students and volunteers.

School children in the Peel region will receive additional support to successfully navigate emotional, social and academic issues thanks to a US$180,000 partnership between EdConnect Australia and the Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa has agreed to continue supporting delivery of EdConnect’s ‘Connecting Generations for School Success’ program in the Peel region for the next three years after first partnering with the organisation in 2016.

The partnership aims to match volunteers with up to 800 students at risk of not achieving their educational potential in at least 15 schools across Peel each year.

EdConnect Australia CEO Gerri Clay said the partnership would connect about 100 volunteers with the schools, where they would assist teachers and provide one-on-one student support.

Ms Clay said local students would receive academic and social support while older generations would get an opportunity to stay active and connected with their communities. “We are pleased to be associated with the Alcoa Foundation and are looking forward to providing continued support in the Peel region,” she said.

Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker said the company was proud to support a program with cross generational benefits. “Supporting our young people to reach their potential is vital but so too is supporting other members of our community,” Mr Parker said. “EdConnect’s programs assist both students and older volunteers, who have so much to offer.”

Wilbur Graham agreed that EdConnect had dual benefits. The 84-year-old has volunteered at Pinjarra Primary School for 14 years and for the last eight years has attended every school day. “I get so much out of it and love going home at the end of the day thinking I’ve been able to remain active and help someone,” Mr Graham said.

Bett Caldwell, one of the newest of the five EdConnect volunteers at Pinjarra Primary School, said she was nervous at first about venturing into the classroom but was thoroughly enjoying her time with the students and encouraged others to follow suit.

EdConnect Australia Rural Liaison Officer for the Peel region Karen Barden urged any community members interested in volunteering, particularly those prepared to mentor a high school student, to contact the not-for-profit organisation.

Photo: EdConnect Pinjarra Primary School volunteers Wilbur Graham, Jacinda Gordon, John Szkraba and Bett Caldwell with Karen Barden from EdConnect (second from left), Suellen Jerrard from Alcoa (fourth from left) and Marcia Kett from Pinjarra Primary School (second from right).