A Hunter housing organisation is going beyond “core business”, awarding inaugural scholarships to help two students living in social housing to continue their education and training. It is looking for local business support to help more young people.
Amelia Walsh from the Wyong Shire suburb of Kanwal and Zoe Khan from the Lake Macquarie suburb of Kahibah are the first two recipients of Compass Housing’s $2,000 GROW A Star Youth Scholarships. The scholarships are to be used to pay for educational costs including tuition fees and equipment. Amelia, 17, attends Mary McKillop High School. Zoe, 16, attends Hunter Sports High School.
Compass group managing director Greg Budworth presented the scholarships to the young women at Compass’ Hamilton headquarters last week.
Greg said the scholarships were open to Compass tenants who are undertaking Year 11 or Year 12 or tertiary education (TAFE or university) studies in the coming year (2015). This year’s recipients were chosen from young people initially identified by Compass’ tenant relations officer. They were then asked to submit an application. He said Compass hoped to award the scholarships annually.
“Compass is a housing provider but we see our role as being more than putting a roof over people’s heads,” Greg said.
“The scholarships are one of the ways we help our tenants to improve their educational and life skills so they build a promising future,” he said.
GROW A Star is one Compass program to help young people and their families who are living in its housing to be more active, more engaged with their local community and to improve their self worth. One aspect of the program is to support young people to access sporting, musical and academic activities and mentors.
Co-ordinator Shane Marshall said he looks at ways of supporting young people that show an eagerness, talent or passion to develop their skills. He is looking for support from the business community as sponsors, partners, donors and mentors to support future scholarships and other program initiatives.
“GROW A Star is about helping young people to navigate barriers to fulfil their dreams and create positive generational change,” Shane said.
“Program such as GROW A Star have positive benefits for young people but also the broader community,” he said
“Supporting GROW A Star is a practical way businesses can make a real difference to the communities in which they operate.”
Image | Zoe Khan receives her Grow A Star scholarship from Greg Budworth