Each week, around 40 primary and secondary school students gather in Flemington. Some sit around computers to complete class work, and others work one-on-one with volunteer mentors to explore textbooks, assignments and essays.
For more than 10 years, Jesuit Social Services’ Homework Club has provided support to students aged eight to 18 who have recently arrived in Australia.
Grade six student Taycier has attended the program with her sister Tasneem for more than four years, and has benefited enormously from its support.
“Homework Club has made me bring all my tasks and finish them on time which takes away the stress of being asked about the unfinished task the next day in class and be down or embarrassed in front of other students,” she says.
“I’ve made a lot of new friends from all different cultures and also when I have no one at home that can help me with my homework, I can come to Homework Club and tutors can help me.”
Rachel Biar, Support Worker with the Homework Club, says students from a variety of cultural backgrounds including Ethiopian, Sudanese, Vietnamese and Chinese regularly attend the program.
Many of the volunteer mentors are university students, retired members of the community or currently practising teachers.
“In addition to getting help with their homework, students also have an opportunity to widen networks. This has led to greater opportunities when seeking employment, deciding on career pathways and linking in to sport and social clubs,” she says.
“They also learn to look at things from different perspectives, outside the world view they usually live in.”
Taycier says that the program has had a positive impact not only on her, but on her family.
“The help we get makes a lot of difference to our families, especially parents not having to stress about spending money and finding private tutors to help us with our education,” she says.
The Homework Club receives no government funding and relies on grants and donations to continue supporting students like Taycier.
In late 2017, the Homework Club was a recipient of grants from The Readings Foundation and Collier Charitable Foundation. The program also receives ongoing donations from financial consulting firm, QMV.
If you would like to support the Homework Club by making a donation or volunteering, please call 03 9421 7600.