Empowering Education: Impactful Grants Make a Difference

Mercy Connect

CCI Giving's Communities Taking Steps small grants program focuses on four key areas, including addressing educational disadvantage among young people. In Round 8, several initiatives received funding to support this cause, making a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable individuals.

One vulnerable cohort that faces challenges in education is young mothers. They often experience interruptions in their education, isolation due to lack of support or opportunities, and limited employment pathways, leading to welfare dependence.

Zoe Support Australia is helping young, vulnerable mothers in Mildura break this cycle by engaging them in pre-accredited Learn Local programs and accredited education, along with wraparound support to remove barriers to participation. The grant contributed to internet costs for facilitating Learn Local programs and out-of-pocket expenses for Zoe Support Family Day Care. This enabled 138 enrolments in 14 pre-accredited Learn Local courses, five clients completing accredited short courses, and 33% of clients utilizing day-care services. Moreover, a client wellbeing survey showed that 100% of those surveyed accessed mental health support through Zoe Support, highlighting the organisation's positive impact.

What is evident from participant testimonials is Zoe Support's provision of stability and assistance for all aspects of their life, in otherwise difficult and often chaotic lives. Much of the help provided is in lieu of a positive supportive family or friends network, while the provision of playgroups and others helps to build a supportive network of friends, so needed as a young mother.

Zoe Support

Another initiative supported in Round 8 was Breakaway Youth, focusing on building a sense of value, worth, and belonging for disadvantaged young people. Through a 6-year mentorship program, the organisation aims to break the generational cycle of drugs, alcohol, and welfare dependence by supporting and encouraging young people to pursue education and build essential skills. While the organisation faced challenges in identifying the full ten potential candidates, they made the most of the grant funds by extending the orientation program to three days, providing improved bonding opportunities for the selected group and program mentors.

CCI Giving's contribution to this project has enabled the beginning of a journey for a group of young people to feel hope, value and a sense of belonging. The relationships, life skills and character that these young people will develop throughout their years in the program will deeply impact them and their choices into adulthood.

Breakaway Youth

Dunlea Centre, a NSW-based organization, empowers adolescents to change their lives and restore relationships through therapeutic and educational services. Their CCI Giving grant supported the "Skill Me Up!" project, enabling at-risk young people to increase their employability and knowledge by undertaking short course training, such as first aid and white card training  . The grant also allowed the students to implement a hospitality program through an internal café, providing practical business experience and sustaining the program's benefits for the future.

Dunlea Centre was able to provide invaluable training and skill development to our young people, who face significant challenges on a daily basis. Many have been overlooked for employment or other opportunities due to circumstances outside their control. Skill Me Up! has allowed them to see their values, experience success and create hope and enthusiasm for their current employment opportunities and future careers.

Dunlea Centre

Mercy Works' Mercy Connect program assists refugee and asylum seeker students in overcoming educational barriers through mentoring and support from volunteers with educational backgrounds. CCI Giving's funds supported the program in Perth, engaging 35 volunteers who provided regular mentoring support to over 225 students across 20 primary and secondary schools. Additionally, 13 parents benefited from adult classes attached to schools, focusing on improving English language skills and integration into the wider community.

CCI Giving has helped our Mercy Connect program reengage with 20 primary and secondary schools across Perth, through the use of 35 specially trained volunteers who provided regular mentoring support for more than 220 refugee and asylum seeker students during their educational transition into the Australian school system. They assisted students with their learning through support that nurtures wellbeing and self-esteem, with a focus on literacy and numeracy standards. The program also supported 13 parents through two-adult classes attached to schools, providing them with the opportunity to improve their spoken and written English and to integrate into the wider community.

Mercy Connect, Perth

These impactful grants have played a crucial role in unlocking opportunities through education, empowering vulnerable individuals and communities to reach their full potential. CCI Giving's support has made a real difference, fostering hope, value, and a sense of belonging for these young people, and creating pathways to brighter futures.


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