Olympic gold medal winning speed skater, Steven Bradbury, shared his story recently with local business people at a fundraising luncheon for a local youth scholarship and mentoring program.
Funds from the luncheon will help provide Home in Place’s (formerly Compass Housing) ‘Grow A Star’ scholarship to social and affordable housing residents and other disadvantaged youth to help realise their academic, sporting, or artistic dreams.
Home in Place Community Partnerships Manager, Michelle Faithfull, said Steven Bradbury’s story of becoming Australia’s first Winter Olympic gold medallist is fitting and inspirational.
“Steven underwent years of training, pain, setbacks, sacrifice and even life-threatening injuries to win the short track speed skating men’s 1000m final in 2002,” Michelle said.
“While it was perhaps the most unlikely, unthinkable gold medal in the history of the Olympics it was due to Steven’s years of determination, hard work and arming himself with the information, tools and support he needed to pursue his dream,” she said.
Wickham student Max Heffernan is the latest recipient of a ‘Grow A Star’ scholarship. The 16-year-old Year 11 student at the Big Picture Program at Cooks Hill College will be receiving his own computer and financial help for some of his other school costs.
Max often stayed after school or borrowed his girlfriend’s computer to complete homework and assignments. He has a passion for the arts, specifically writing and producing short films, for which a computer is essential.
“Mum rents a Home in Place property and they referred me to the ‘Grow A Star’ program,” Max said.
“This scholarship means I can get a computer now rather than saving for it from my pay from my part time hospitality jobs,” he said
Max’s scholarship is supported by Hunter-based member organisation Collective Heart. Founder of Collective Heart, Matt Linnert, said educational scholarships can make a real difference in young people’s lives.
Michelle said support from the Collective Heart, other business partners, and the luncheon helps kids to overcome financial and other obstacles. She said scholarship recipients also receive mentoring from ‘Grow A Star’ Co-ordinator Shane Marshall.
“Often the cost of equipment, lessons and extra-curricular programs prevents some kids with talents from realising their potential. We also provide mentoring to give young people another adult to talk to and help them in setting goals to reach for the stars,” Michelle said.
When Hunter based community housing provider Home in Place established ‘Grow A Star’ in 2012 it was a first of its kind program in the Australian community housing sector.
The event was supported by local businesses including Beyond Bank, HIC Services and Broadley Signs.
IMAGE | Steven Bradbury
Home in Place is a Tier 1 community housing provider and registered Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider. It currently manages more than 7600 social, affordable and disability housing homes in NSW, Queensland and New Zealand.