Strive is a collaboration between the Warwick Farm Neighbourhood Centre, police, Warwick Farm Primary School and the four high schools in the Liverpool area, that encourages girls to connect to the community through a range of activities. A caseworker is assigned to the girls and relationships with the families are built, with a particular focus on those living in risky situations. They receive the support they need to attend school, to graduate and to connect with successful businesswomen through mentoring. The idea is that the community has the capacity to look after the young girls and identify if something is going wrong early enough to step in. Resources are available if help or intervention is needed.
‘None of our girls would have ever been here,’ Pat Hall sweeps her arm toward the bridge that crosses a sparkling Sydney Harbour, a world away from the shuttered shops and replica bridge on the highway at Warwick Farm. ‘We need to give them opportunities to see that something else is possible, that they can live a different life.’
The $100,000 for the initial three years of Strive, which started in February, will be provided by the First Seeds Fund, the Sydney Women’s Fund, Barclays Bank and generous individuals. One anonymous woman donor has given $10,000 to the project.
Strive has been a long-term objective for the community.
‘We have an opportunity to break the cycle with this program and help the girls see they are worth something,’ Hall says.
First Seeds Fund are enthusiastically contributing because they can see how it has the potential to make a real difference for disadvantaged girls. It also allows them to get involved. Some of the women will provide mentoring and work experience placements to the high school girls.
The Warwick Farm girls will have opportunities that have not been there before, and as Pat Hall says, it’s the opportunities that matter. ‘That’s what we really want for our girls.’