Last night I was priveliged to attend The Smith Family’s Graduation Ceremony – a yearly event hosted this year at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney.
I wasn’t very familiar with what this important charity that cares provides educational help for underpriveliged children and young people actually did. The most I knew about them was that they are active within our community and recognised by most people. I didn’t know was how incredible they actually were in contributing to struggling families and in supporting Australian students’ education!
The Smith’s Family’s ‘Learning For life’ program was the key reason for the evening; it had brought together over 30 graduates and their families, The Smith Family staff, company sponsors and other public members.
The night started with a few opening speeches by Jack Murphy, Acting General Manager NSW & ACT from The Smith Family. Then came Reeja Nasir, MC and Learning for Life student. Felix Busch, Hotel Manager at the Hilton Sydney spoke and then came Allen Madden, an elder from the indigenous Gadigal tribe where the hotel stood. He gave a Welcome to Country Speach and spoke of the ancient tribal lands where we had gathered.
All of the speakers received us warmly on this special occasion. We were welcomed with open arms and praised on how we were an integral part of their very special night, and this was because The Smith Family’s program was celebrating sponsored students who had been supported by The Smith Family and had graduated from either year 12 high school, or from a tertiary qualification.
The students all had the biggest smiles on their faces; it was like something I had never seen even at my own university graduation! These students were given the opportunity only most students can dream of – an opportunity to receive a great education which will lead them to better job prospects, the security of a regular income and the skills to participate in community life. All that was expected of the students was to commit to education, and for the younger students it applied to attend school regularly.
The night continued with a beautiful musical performance by another Learning for Life student of eight years, Amba Mercuri, and a panel discussion which brought a tear to my eye (not in a bad way of course!). One student in particular on this panel was Sang Bui and his mentor Gavin Street. Jack Murphy along with Gavin mentioned how really important it was for mentors to give these students guidance and networking opportunities with an ambition to help others. This brought more meaning to me about The Smith Family’s tag line “Everyone’s Family”– it meant that family support, Corporate Partners (Including USANA’s True Health Foundation -yay!), 7800 volunteers across Australia and the 450 Learning for Life students brought a change to the community and the future of Australia.
It made me so proud that we (and all of you!) are helping the youth of Australia – every child deserves this chance!
Students varied in different ages, backgrounds and from different areas of Sydney. It brought us all closer with a ‘lovey dovey’ atmosphere, a feeling that we’re all in this together. I personally wanted to get up on the stage and congratulate each and every one of those students because it made me proud of what my company, USANA, and The True Health Foundation was able to contribute to make a difference in their lives. It taught me to never say never, and never to give up on my dreams and goals because as long as you believe in yourself, you will come to believe that anything is possible!
I encourage everyone to take some time out of their day and think about how you can make a difference and make a change for one of these students. Whether it’s monetary, volunteer work or even become a mentor for one of The Smith Family’s students. I want to really thank The Smith Family for what they are doing and I was so glad to be part of their ceremony. I personally congratulate each and every student who has taken this program and wish them every success in their future endeavours!