What’s the buzz at St Joseph’s College, Mildura?
There’s a buzz around St Joseph’s College in Mildura these days, as they prepare for the arrival of thousands of new resident bees. As part of the funding rounds for December 2018, the Are-able Foundation granted St Joseph’s $5,000 for the purchase of new beehives (and of course the bees), which will be added to their existing community garden. The school’s VCAL program is introducing a Paddock-to-Plate event, aiming to raise money for local charities. The three-course lunch will be produced using fresh produce sourced from the garden and surrounding growers, including honey from their very own beehives.
Head of VCE / VET / VCAL Mr Mel Ficarra is excited to see the students engage with the local community and increase their work skills while they raise money for charity.
‘The Paddock-to-Plate initiative will allow students to improve their knowledge and skills in primary production, which is a big part of our local industry, and hopefully we’ll see some employment opportunities for our young people.’
The VCAL program at St Joseph’s has around 30 students who are enhancing their skills and preparing for the future, whilst boosting their self-confidence in an engaging, hands-on training experience.
‘This project will allow these kids to demonstrate their skills in a supportive and non-threatening environment,’ Mr Ficarra said.
Are-able Mildura Site Manager Ethan Fox says helping people into employment via support programs is proving to be very rewarding.
‘It’s important to put the funding where it’s going to be effective in helping people with disadvantages, and community groups know exactly what’s needed to help people connect with each other.’
Mr Fox is also quick to point out the advantages of getting people back into work.
‘Employment is one of the most effective ways of improving the lives of who are experiencing disability, disadvantage or long-term illness, and the grants are making a real grass-roots difference for people.’
Are-able Chair Mary Graham is impressed by the level of community commitment she sees in the grant applications.
“The process of reviewing and accessing applications demonstrates just how innovative and passionate our communities are about finding ways to increase inclusion and skill development for those who can find themselves isolated or disadvantage, be that due to where they live, their education, or physical or mental disability,” she said.
The Foundation grants are offered to organisations that aim to increase employment and social inclusion opportunities for people living with a disability or disadvantage. The Trust is currently funded solely via are-able’s profits, generated by its operation as an employment and disability service provider.
The Are-able Foundation is a community grants scheme formed in 2004 with an objective to assist people with disabilities, or those highly disadvantaged by other factors, to achieve employment or access to employment opportunities. The funding program provides grants of up to $10,000 to individual programs or projects that demonstrate the ability to meet the objective of the Foundation. The total value of are-able Foundation community grants is up to $100,000 each year.
For more information about the are-able Foundation, go to www.areable.org.au/about/WDEA-Works-foundation