Help give kids a new life this Easter

by Rev. Bill Crews 15 Feb 2024

When you think about Easter at my Foundation I’m sure you imagine lots of meals for the hungry. Indeed, we now serve over 42,000 meals a month! It’s a testament to your remarkable support.

Not so well known is the work we do with children to divert them from our food queues in the years ahead. I’m excited by this prospect. Moreover, I think it embodies the spirit of Easter; giving a child a new life. In this case through the miracle of literacy.

I have come across so many children from impoverished backgrounds who are absolutely brilliant, but because of their circumstances they find themselves held back.

So we provide literacy programs for the poorest kids in the poorest schools of Sydney and Darwin. You might wonder why the schools can’t do it themselves? Sadly, the funding they get simply doesn’t allow for the sort of intensive nurturing these children need to break out of the poverty trap.

Decades of teaching

Thanks to my Foundation’s literacy program, in the past 20 years thousands of children have been transformed from class-clown to splendid achiever. David was one such student. After completing our program he said to me: “Now I don’t feel stupid anymore.”

It is a joyous event when a child like David completes our program. They write me moving letters about how their lives have changed and their dreams for the future. I dutifully bind these letters into books which are available if you would like to read them.

Sometimes those dreams are fulfilled in amazing ways. I remember when a medical student asked to meet me. As I greeted her at my Foundation she became emotional. She said: “Bill, if it wasn’t for this place I wouldn’t be at university now. God knows I might never have even learned to read!”

Some children need extra care and nurturing

Remarkable as our life changing literacy program is, it is not enough for some children; kids with traumatised backgrounds find it difficult to learn at all.

I’m sure you can appreciate how their experiences can lead them to feel unsafe – especially in the classroom. They are hyper-alert; always looking for the way out if the trauma happens again.

So my Foundation also offers a remarkable intervention known as play therapy. It is a child-centred program that uses a child’s natural language of play to help them make sense of difficult experiences, thoughts and feelings.

It warms my heart to see children gradually settle down and feel safe enough to learn. It’s more than a fresh start, it’s a pathway to a better future.

Together, these two child-centred programs are paramount in our mission to address the cause and effect of poverty and disadvantage. They change lives and bring hope where there was none. I’m determined to never let these kids stop dreaming. In fact, many of them have grown to live the Australian dream; they are tradies, professionals, doctors and even social workers. Each contributing to society thanks to the life changing programs you’ve supported.

It’s humbling, especially as I reflect on the meaning of Easter; of hope rising out of despair. Which is why I’m asking you to give. Your gift can bring hope to so many children. I’m not overstating the situation when I tell you it can bring them a new life. So this Easter please be part of a child’s future by making a generous donation.

God Bless
Rev. Bill Crews