In his speech to the NSW Legislative Assembly on Thursday 4th May, Mr Parker acknowledged recipient, Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre and SOS Women’s Services, who will operate a career mentoring program for disadvantaged young women who are residents of Lillian’s in Erskineville and The Girls’ Refuge in Leichhardt. Congratulating the recipients, Mr Parker said; “I commend all of those involved—the businesses and individuals at Impact100 Sydney.”
The Impact100 model aims to attract 100 donations of $1,000 from individuals and businesses to provide a grant to an organisation having a real and measurable impact. Following a robust selection process, the mentoring program was awarded the grant out of 52 applicants.
Challenges for Sydney disadvantaged girls
“The mentoring program will assist 40 girls aged between 16 and 21, to go through life-changing career mentoring,” said Mr Parker.
“The girls in these refuges are not at home because of issues such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, neglect, parental drug addiction, or family breakdown or they have been rescued from forced child marriage.”
“These girls are among the most vulnerable members of our community, and ensuring their safety and creating pathways out of homelessness, poverty and abuse are critical because they are so young.
“Some are so young that they arrive at the refuges with their clothes and a teddy bear.”
Sydney girls career mentoring program
Mr Parker described the nature of the challenges the girls are driven to overcome. “Due to a lack of parenting, the girls do not have the usual weekend activities that other girls take for granted, such as ballet or netball, nor do they have parents to look up to or wider networks of relatives and friends to provide strong role models,” he said.
“It is difficult for most people to imagine, having come from a regular home, but not having those things creates a major gap. That is what this mentoring program aims to address.”
“Both refuges have a home-like environment with strict curfews for the girls’ safety and a very strong focus on girls remaining at school,” he said.
“Nights are spent doing homework together and staff help with completing assignments.
“The girls who go on to university create a highly inspirational environment for the whole house, particularly the younger girls.
“It provides genuine hope that they are worth something and that it is possible to overcome their difficult family backgrounds and abuse.”
The grant will fund a 10-step program that matches the girls with business leaders and mentors in the Sydney community. PricewaterhouseCoopers will provide mentoring for the girls, including advice about curriculum vitae, interviews and presentation skills. The girls also look forward to a workshop and end of year lunch with Jules Sebastian, ambassador for the Sebastian Foundation.
Creating strong networks for Sydney girls
“Some of the girls doing courses at TAFE are being matched with strong female mentors in the community to provide guidance, work experience and ongoing contacts for their future careers” said Mr Parker of the program already in action.
Closing his speech, Mr Parker said; “The support the girls receive at this time will help determine the rest of their lives and will have a flow‑on effect in the lives of others: the girls’ future children, their family, their friends and the wider community.”
Also offering his congratulations was Mr Mark Coure MP, Minister for Oatley and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure. Speaking of the Leichhardt Women’s Health Centre, Mr Coure said; “They have done a wonderful job for many years in Leichhardt, not just in mentoring but also in providing low‑cost and affordable medical health care and in improving the lives of women in and around the inner west of Sydney.”
About Impact100 Sydney
Impact100 Sydney are currently accepting new members for 2017. Members gain access to exclusive grant giving events and join a community of people making a difference with impact and scale. For more information, see http://www.impact100sydney.org.au/.