Helping young Australians build brighter futures
27 September 23
Established by Freemasons in 1923, A Start in Life continues to be a boutique Australian charity focused on helping students in need maximise the benefits from their education.
Its alignment and links to Freemasonry and its values remain strong. With A Start in Life rapidly approaching its 100th year of building brighter futures for young Australians, it is fitting to understand how this is achieved and to learn more about some of the students.
A Start in Life uniquely develops tailored and personalised support for each student. They can achieve this as their program provides regular interactions with students and their families. A Start in Life delights in getting to know the students’ personalities and what makes them tick, understanding their backgrounds, working through their challenges, celebrating their achievements and encouraging their passions.
Ali and Wally are just two of the many students in their program today. Enjoy reading their profiles below, so you too can get to know them. If you’d like to find out more or donate, please head to www.astartinlife.org.au.
Ali, Year 2
Background: Ali has been supported by A Start in Life since she was in Kindergarten, when her single mother applied for our assistance to help her two daughters. Despite being an intelligent and always enthusiastic student, Ali has struggled with issues of self-confidence.
Likes: ‘Kittens, cheetahs, Dad and chocolate’.
Dislikes: ‘Sauce, dogs, dinosaurs and bees’.
Accomplishments: In Semester 1 this year, Ali achieved As in English and Maths, Bs in all other subjects, and her effort rating across the board was ‘outstanding’. She also participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge and is now thriving in leadership positions, including volunteering to help around the classroom and actively contributing to class discussions.
What is one thing you’re looking forward to learning more about? ‘I want to learn more new words so I can read and write better.’
What has been your favourite area A Start in Life has helped you with and why? ‘My tutor because I can learn new things and my Dymocks book voucher because I looove reading.’
When I grow up I want to: ‘help animals that are hurt. I want to be a vet’.
Wally Bachelor of Environmental Science, first year
Background: Despite limited financial means and encountering various hardships, Wally, his single mother and his siblings are very resilient. Wally’s mother applied for support when he was in Year 9. Wally has a fantastic memory and has always done well academically, but struggled to maintain his motivation. With our support, Wally began to enjoy school again and is now working towards a worthwhile, satisfying future.
Likes: ‘Music (guitars are fun), going away to the country, and challenging myself with something new.’
Dislikes: ‘Dishonesty, the fact ‘inflammable’ and ‘flammable’ mean the same thing, and when the pen I’m using runs out of ink’.
Accomplishments: In 2021, Wally secured an environmental internship with a local botanic garden and was accepted into a Bachelor of Environmental Science program, making him the first member of his immediate family to go to university Wally is passionate about preserving the environment; his studies are progressing well and he received two high distinctions in his first semester this year.
What’s a handy new skill you learned at university this year? ‘I’ve developed several organisation strategies, which allow for much more coherent self-directed learning. I plan on acquiring a whiteboard, taking my organisation just that extra step further. These unprecedented organisational strategies come in handy both inside and out of my academic life, and has been a faculty I’ve lacked hitherto.’
From your quarterly check-ins with our Student Support Team, what has been the most valuable piece of advice? ‘The most valuable piece of advice, or more so the most valuable idea that the Student Support Team has given me, was the idea that there were people hopeful in me, people who were in my corner saying ‘go get ‘em’. It continues to mean a lot to me, giving me confidence in my abilities to succeed in whatever I may put my mind to, both in and out of the academic world.’
After university, I: ‘would like to see myself working in a job relevant to my learnings at university and enjoying it. In the hours I wasn’t doing that, I would love to see myself writing more music. I’ve given it a few attempts but would love to make it a more frequent activity, maybe even put it all together for whomever may lend an ear and their time to listen.’
Please note students’ names have been changed to protect their identity.