“The vouchers help students to be on a level with their peers and not distinguished due to their clothing.”
The Back to School program (BTS) is a national program which has been operating since 2005. The ethos of the program is to help rural students enjoy educational equality. For a program that gives in such small amounts, it has very tangible results.
The beginning of the school year can be a great financial strain on parents and caregivers, and in some rural, regional and remote areas, economic hardship heightens these challenges. The program focuses on struggling families and children, providing $50 gift vouchers from Target or local stores which are redeemable for items such as school uniforms, clothing, shoes, school bags and stationery – seemingly little things that help meet basic needs, including items that many of us take for granted.
In 2013 the program assisted more than 13,000 children. To date, this program has dispensed $4,595,250 to nearly 92,000 children.
The program is supported by various trusts and foundations, particularly the Sidney Myer Fund whose generosity, together with FRRR, has been the financial backbone of the program. They have committed $250,000 subject to FRRR raising matching dollars for the 2014 Back to School program, but will cease their involvement thereafter.
We therefore continue to seek philanthropic and corporate support to ensure the continuation of this fantastic tiny grants program.