It’s a question we continue to ask ourselves and a question that will continue to shape the growth of the charity.
We’ve diversified your donations across a unique blend of community partners because we believe our impact as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But it’s a strategy that hasn’t come without the same challenges we all face.
The charity and not for profit sector has never been under more pressure. We’ve been stretched, interrogated and scrutinised for years but the last 6 months has gone to another level. As a country, we’ve had to endure drought, bushfires and floods but nothing could have prepared us for this global pandemic.
People are hurting and we’re all too quick to point the finger of blame and criticise those responsible for making a difference when we could look in the mirror, take responsibility and ask ourselves how much of an impact we’re making.
So while some of the greatest minds in the country and around the world work towards finding a vaccine, we’re continuing to support the work of another type of treatment and that’s the treatment of education and mental health in response to the growing uncertainty for the futures of young Australians.
What’s Small Change Big Change I hear you ask, and how much of an impact are we making?
First things first…
Our mission is to build resilient young Australians. We do this by supporting education and mental health outcomes because we believe that a) they’re inherently linked and b) they’re two areas of development that hold the greatest potential impact for young people to thrive in an increasingly connected world.
But the challenges for young people are vast and complex and so it’s with confidence that we’ve hand-selected three distinctly diverse community partners to support our mission. So let’s take a closer look at the work their doing and see just how much impact we’re making.
“Our impact is your impact.”Michael Goschnick
ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia, with more than 2 million users visiting them every year. Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well.
As a consequence of COVID-19, there’s been a 50% year on year spike in the number of people seeking help from ReachOut’s digital youth mental health service to deal with loneliness during the pandemic. Early numbers showed that more 800,000 people have accessed ReachOut’s services since March 2020 – that’s 10 people every minute (ReachOut, May 2020).
But of the 1 in 4 young Australians who are experiencing a mental health difficulty, the bigger problem is that 70% of those who need help don’t get it.
The internet is now the number one place a young person will turn to for advice after friends and family so it’s no doubt one of the areas of greatest impact for early suicide prevention of young Australians, yet there’s more that your money is doing through Small Change Big Change.
Red Dust is our indigenous community partner. We believe that you cannot truly identify as an education and mental health charity in this country without embracing our wealth of traditional and cultural knowledges.
Aboriginal history is Australian history – Australian history is Aboriginal history.
The challenges in remote indigenous communities have been exacerbated by the tyranny of distance but more so by the challenge of walking into two vastly different cultural worlds. So while your donations have recently contributed to the digital transformation of their youth programs, their unique ‘community-as-family- model of health programming is continuing to help close the gap by walking alongside and empowering community leaders and elders to create a strong future for youth and their families.
Impact is one thing, but sustainability is another and this is where we believe education can help make our impact even more sustainable. Beacon Foundation is doing exactly that by providing education which goes beyond the conventions of a regular classroom and connects young people with inspiring leaders of today.
“We’re talking about the education you can’t find in a textbookWarren Sainsbury
or even search on google.”
We believe there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only be acquired through connection; connection to family, friends and work/life mentors.
Beacon prides itself on being a connector, what we do is bring people, organisations and communities together to create meaningful outcomes for young people that need it most. This will not and should not stop, in fact, it is more important than ever.
We hope that sheds some light on the incredible work you’re supporting through Small Change Big Change.
The demand for education and mental health support for young Australians has never been greater, the solution, never more complex. But we believe we’re having an impact and if you too are in a position to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.