A valued part of The Smith Family

Jodie Harrison (Charlestown) gave the following Private Member’s Statement in Parliament on Tuesday May 22, 2018:

Ms JODIE HARRISON (Charlestown) (12:19 :00): Today I bring to the House's attention the women's volunteer organisation, VIEW. VIEW is an acronym for the voice, interests and education of women. This is an organisation with an all-women membership base, raising awareness about and advocating for the education of children. I speak about VIEW today because it is an organisation effecting significant positive change within the Charlestown community. Helping disadvantaged children to succeed at school will have a lasting impact on their lives and for generations to come. VIEW has more than 15,000 members across Australia, supporting the Smith Family's work to improve educational outcomes for underprivileged children and young people, mainly through their flagship program, Learning for Life. VIEW clubs that have members in my electorate include Belair, Belmont, Hunter and Redhead.

Recently in my office in Charlestown I met with Ms Anne-Louise O'Connor, the Nationals councillor for the Hunter and Central Coast councils,. Anne is committed to spreading the word of VIEW and the relationship they have with the Smith Family. VIEW members dedicate more than 50,000 volunteer hours each year. They generously give their time to community and national activities organised by VIEW Clubs. They raise vital funds for the Smith Family and contribute more than $1 million every year to the Smith Family's programs for young people in need. VIEW women assist with life-changing mentor programs for children by helping parents to develop the numeracy skills of their children aged three to five years and pairing children with reading buddies who can provide advice and encouragement as they read together. VIEW women also help to run art workshops and creative courses that unleash potential and build confidence, and match students with positive role models to help to realise their aspirations for the future.

Nationally, VIEW members sponsor more than 1,100 disadvantaged students, enabling them to get the most from their education through assistance and support from the Smith Family's Learning for Life program. Through its supportive network, VIEW women also build lasting friendships, empowered and connected by the common purpose to make a difference to Australian children in need. VIEW is always looking for women of all backgrounds and ages to join them. I particularly encourage young women who are looking for volunteer work and who want to make a positive change to consider joining VIEW. VIEW Club members across Australia come together as friends to hear from guest speakers, exchange interesting ideas and socialise with like-minded women, while also raising important funds. VIEW women benefit from taking part in regular events, including galas, theatre nights, travel tours, social gatherings, conferences and the biennial VIEW National Convention, where members hear inspiring guest speakers, learn more about the changing world and network with other members. VIEW women benefit from the satisfaction that comes through providing essential support to disadvantaged children, so they can make the most of their educational and learning opportunities. They also benefit from developing leadership, public speaking, digital literacy and event management skills.

I believe that the best satisfaction and friendship comes through helping others, and that is an objective that is shared by this organisation. When I met with Anne-Louise, I was incredibly impressed by her passion to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. While VIEW members might not know who exactly they are supporting and exactly where the other student is from, they know they are contributing towards the Learning for Life program. They participate because they genuinely want to improve someone else's life, whether or not they know that young person. Children from my electorate of Charlestown and in other places across New South Wales are benefiting from the work done by VIEW women. I commend all VIEW members, particularly those VIEW members in my electorate of Charlestown, for creating better futures for children through education. We know that education is the great equaliser in our society. Anything that that groups such as VIEW can do to support that equalisation is to be absolutely commended. I commend the work of VIEW to the House.