Brauer College students look forward to Alternative to Schoolies program

Need: Students Lori Carlin, Phoebe Cody and Shelby Jenkins are helping children in the Philippines attend school. Picture: Christine Ansorge
Need: Students Lori Carlin, Phoebe Cody and Shelby Jenkins are helping children in the Philippines attend school. Picture: Christine Ansorge

At a time of uncertainty for year 12 students who are weighing up their futures, three teens have committed to sponsoring underprivileged children for the next eight years. 

Brauer College students Phoebe Cody, 18,  Shelby Jenkins, 17, and Lori Carlin, 18, are sponsoring a child to board and attend school in the Philippines. 

The girls said it wasn’t a hard decision and are happy to continue paying the annual $150 fee which pays for the child’s education, board, uniform and books. 

Shelby said sponsoring a child while living on a limited student or low income themselves “wasn’t an issue”.

“It’s the cost of a cup of coffee,” Shelby said. “It’s a small sacrifice for me when education is such a huge thing for them.”

Phoebe said it was a small amount to part with. “You’re sponsoring them for their whole education,” she said.

“That’s going to pay off in their future. This is something they can work towards and gain employment and provide for themselves.”

The trio will meet their sponsor children when they travel to Indangan in the Buhangin District  in November as part of the Alternative to Schoolies program. 

The program, devised by Moyne Shire youth development officer Geraldine Edar-Ralph, has been running since 2010 and takes teens overseas to learn new skills and develop a greater understanding of the world.  

The students will complete building works on a school orphanage boarding facility. The school was built by earlier groups of south-west students.  

Phoebe and Shelby participated in the program two years ago and said they were excited to return to see how the school had progressed. 

Lori said she had always wanted to go on an Alternative to Schoolies trip and was looking forward to meeting her sponsor child and others at the school.

They said while the physical labour was difficult, it was also emotionally challenging to seeing how disadvantaged the children were.

Phoebe and Shelby have chosen to return to make a difference and for the cultural experience. Instead of sunning themselves on a beach in Queensland to celebrate the end of their schooling, they will be working in hot and humid conditions.

“The aim is to finish the boarding facility, Shelby said. “It’s reached lock up (stage) at the moment. It's able to be used, it’s just the top level that needs to be finished off." 

A movie fundraiser screening of A Monster Calls will be held on September 23 at the Capitol Cinema, Warrnambool at 7pm. Tickets $20 at the door. Proceeds will go towards building the final stage of the boarding facility.