Next up in our spotlight series we take a trip down under to Australia to hear from one of our charity partners, Learning Links and the incredible work they do for kids with learning difficulties. We will also hear from one of our very own members of TeamTru who just recently completed a volunteer programme with the charity.
Who are Learning Links?
Learning Links is a not for profit organisation which was established in 1972 by parents concerned about the lack of appropriate education and support services to meet their children’s needs. Today the charity’s mission is to provide children and young people who have difficulties learning with the skills, services and family support that will enable them to realize their potential.
What do they do?
Learning Links works in collaboration with schools, early childhood settings and parents to help children with learning disabilities and difficulties. These include conditions such as ADHD and high functioning Autism to speech and language delays. Around 5 – 15% of children in Australia have learning difficulties but, a diagnosis of a learning disability and difficulty does not entitle a child or family to financial assistance. When we consider 17.7% of children in Australia or 603,000 live in households in poverty it makes the work Learning Links does even more critically important as there is a strong correlation between learning disabilities and financial disadvantage.
The children are often anxious, have trouble communicating and interacting with others, and many have behavioural issues. In the later years they are often challenged in literacy, numeracy and impacting on their ability to complete education and participate in the community.
Early intervention for young children who experience developmental delays is critical to mitigate the risk of poor educational outcomes later in life. Learning Links is recognized as a pioneer in the area of inclusive early childhood education.
How are the Learning Links programs delivered?
Learning Links has 6 programs altogether, 4 of which are delivered by qualified educational professionals and two which are volunteer programs ‘Reading for Life’ and ‘Counting for Life.’ We’re very proud to announce one of our TeamTru members just completed the ‘Counting for Life’ volunteer program and wanted to tell us a bit about her experience but first…
What is ‘Counting for Life?’
The is a numeracy program for children who are 8 – 10 years old who are falling behind in maths. This volunteer run program provides one-on-one weekly support for 10 weeks to children and is proven to increase children’s numeracy skills.
Cara from our Marketing department in our Sydney office completed the program and had this to say about her experience.
“Volunteering with Learning Links was a really enjoyable experience from start to finish. Every Wednesday I would go to the school for 45 minutes and work with Sarah* who was my designated ‘Buddy’ and deliver the program. The program is delivered in a semi-structured way with lots of games, so it didn’t really feel like we were learning maths skills since we were often laughing and having so much fun! However, across the 10 weeks I was so pleased to see the huge improvements in Sarah’s math skills and how her confidence grew week by week.”
“I recently just met with Kate from Learning Links who delivered the results on the group in the school who went through the program and I was truly humbled by the impact myself and other volunteers had made. Some kids progressed by 2 – 4 years in skills such as addition and subtraction. I would highly recommend any take part in this programme and I hope to volunteer again next year!’
We heard from a volunteer but what did the children say after the program!
“Maths is much easier, it has made me more confident.”
“It has helped me because I used to get worried and now, I feel fine.”
“It makes me feel a little bit smart.”
We are so proud to sponsor a charity like Learning Links who are making huge changes for the better in children’s lives.
If you would like to donate to Learning Links and support them and the wonderful work they do please visit: https://www.learninglinks.org.au/get-involved/donate-now/
*Child’s name was changed for anonymity.