The Smith Family Centenary

For 100 years, The Smith Family has been working to improve the lives of children in need.

From humble beginnings on Christmas Eve 1922, when five businessmen provided gifts to children in need, The Smith Family provided welfare assistance to families experiencing disadvantage through emergency relief such as food, clothing and furniture.

In the late 1980s, after surveying the people it served, The Smith Family changed its focus to supporting the education of children experiencing disadvantage. The change maintained The Smith Family’s core mission of supporting the most vulnerable and in need in the community, but with the shift to education, The Smith Family now assists children to make the most of their schooling and create better futures for themselves.

The Smith Family will continue to provide its wrap-around educational support, which includes developing strong relationships between students, families and The Smith Family’s Family Partnership Coordinators, along with the financial and out-of-school program support offered as part of the Learning for Life program.

The Smith Family also continues to explore how best to support children and young people to maximise the benefits of their education. It has recently been delivering Digital Inclusion Packs to Learning for Life students who have been having difficulty working remotely, to help bridge the digital divide. These packs include a laptop, reliable internet access and technical support. The Smith Family has also piloted a one-on-one Catch-Up Learning tutoring program to help students who fall behind their peers. And the organisation is also expanding its careers education through the Growing Careers program, to provide even more opportunities to help students transition from school, tertiary education or training into the workforce.

Continuing the long tradition of identifying a problem, testing solutions and evaluating outcomes will help The Smith Family refine and improve its programs, and ensure that what it does will make a difference to tackling intergenerational poverty through education as it embarks on its second century.

At Bridges, we believe that a good education provides a strong foundation for all young people to realise their potential, which is why we’re proud to support The Smith Family and their work.