The City of Wanneroo currently provides us with invaluable support by (amongst other things) allowing us to use their new Girrawheen Hub each Saturday for a reduced rate.
Girls and boys aged from 9 to 15 years attend the Club each Saturday morning during school term time.
They have come to the program in various ways. In some cases, their parents have requested our support after learning of the positive impact on the children of other family and friends. In others, their parents have seen us at work on a Saturday morning and have wanted their children to join. There is an open enrolment policy and no entry fees. Places are only limited by the space and number of mentors available and the needs of students.
Our students are, most importantly, encouraged not to put limits on themselves. We believe it is about changing students mindsets from accepting that they will be average or ordinary, to exploring the idea that they can be high achievers. We emphasise to our students that they should work hard and do the best they can, so that when the time comes they will have career choices.
For example, when one student was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said "tuckshop lady". She didn't think she could ever become a professional. Another mentor tells the story of a female student writing on the board to explain a point she had been struggling to understand. The mentor was impressed by her growing confidence and skills, and took the opportunity to praise her by saying "You know, you could be a teacher one day". The girl expressed doubt in this possibility, which led to a discussion of what would be needed to achieve this goal, including university studies.
Parents accept that their children may be exposed to different cultural expectations, and the normalisation of an expectation that they do well in school and, for example, have the opportunity to go to university, is one of the main reasons they want their children to participate. No ceiling is placed on any child and we make every effort to build their confidence, telling them that they belong to the Achievers Club and that people who work hard can create their own new opportunities.