Most days, Will Pearse can be found at his desk in Sydney, buying and selling gas to service Origin’s largest business customers. But on Friday mornings he heads back to school to help young Indigenous children learn to read.
When he heard that a few of his Origin colleagues were helping the next generation of Indigenous children develop their literacy skills at Gawura, a primary day school for Indigenous children, he was keen to get involved. Growing up in regional New South Wales, Will noticed the discrepancy in educational outcomes facing Indigenous Australians in his community. This inspired Will to look for opportunities to get involved in volunteering, but he needed to find something that could work with his busy schedule.
“It only takes an hour and a half out of my week, but the rewards are immense” says Will. “The kids are always happy to see you, and it’s really satisfying to seeing their progress, and to know you’ve played a small part in that”.
The experience isn’t just beneficial for the children at Gawura, either. Will practices keeping his negotiation and influencing skills sharp as he keeps the kids focused on the task at hand. He’s also developed a deep appreciation for the work of teachers.
“It only takes an hour and a half out of my week, but the rewards are immense”Will
Gawura's Lucy Crook said "the students are delighted to have Origin volunteers helping out and the volunteers have built up excellent rapport with our kids."
Gawura is an independent day school for young Indigenous children in Sydney that sits within St Andrew’s Cathedral School. Alongside a strong curriculum of literacy and numeracy, Indigenous culture is celebrated, respected and an integral part of everyday life at Gawura.
With the support of the Origin Foundation, Gawura is helping to address the educational disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. The Origin Foundation also provides Origin employees with volunteering opportunities, so they can give their time and skills to help our partners pursue their important work.