Posted by David Button on Dec 06, 2023
Left David Willersdorf, Chair of CCEF , Brad Beach, Representive of VVF and David Button, Representative of RCB

The Rotary Club of Berwick is embarking on a transformative journey to enhance our community engagement. For those following the updates in the Spoke N Words this year, you may be aware of our club's collaboration with Violence Free Families. If you haven't caught up on this significant development, you can find the details here: This partnership aims to transition the Violence Free Families online program to Chisholm TAFE, with Rotary actively participating in the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation, responsible for managing funds to support students facing financial barriers to education.

In a noteworthy move, Violence Free Families has contributed an initial fund of $40,000 to the Caroline Chisholm Education Foundation. This fund is dedicated to assisting students who, due to family violence, struggle to afford tuition fees and reference books. The Rotary Club of Berwick has taken on the responsibility of maintaining and allocating this $40,000 fund to support this specific group of students. Currently, we are in the process of gaining a comprehensive understanding and insight into the challenges faced by the 30,000 current Chisholm students. This learning phase has proven to be a steep but enlightening curve.

David Button is representing our club in this impactful project, creating a direct and meaningful impact on individuals within our immediate community. Moreover, this initiative positions our club to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics and challenges shaping the potential growth of our community.

The Rotary Club of Berwick is no stranger to supporting the CCEF in past years: In fact, three other D9820 Rotary Clubs support the CCEF: Dandenong-Endeavour Hills, Rosebud-Rye and Sorrento.

So the picture above? Recently I attended the Big Thank-You event at the Dandenong Campus of Chisholm. This is the event where a few students who received CCEF Scholarships presented what that opportunity meant to them and how it made a life changing difference to their outlook. It certainly shone a light on a part of life that I had only seen at a distance. This is a real space that Rotary can make a difference, if only being closer to the action and observing where we can be effective.

To bring it all into perspective, the CCEF grant over 300 scholarships a year, averaging $1000 each. The purpose of the scholarships is to enable students to complete their courses so they can find employment. Funds are raised through a Golf Day, volunteer lead events and BBQ's as well as regular donors. All donations are tax deductable and 100% of donations are used for scholarships.