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  • LIVEfree Project Team

Brighter Beginnings Bus Program Expands to a Second School

You may remember back last year in March of 2022; we shared some exciting news with you. After 4 years of LIVEfree Project operating, we had finally secured a larger vehicle to transport our clients in. This was such an incredible moment for us that came about through a timely donation from a kindhearted couple who have been long time supporters. Read the full story here...

Brighter Beginnings Bus Program Video created by Excalibur Videos

This vehicle has been an incredible gift to our organisation and allowed us to continue to run our Brighter Beginnings Bus program within Merewether Public School for the whole of 2022. This program has seen incredible results, that are beyond even what we had hoped for when launching the program.

Across 2022, this program saw over 4,000 school drop-offs!

This had an incredible impact on the attendance of the children involved in the program. The majority of these children were non-attenders or attended school irregularly, but since joining the program the school has seen that their attendance has increased by 40%!

“They’re getting here early, on time, ready for breakfast. Ready for school, making those social connections with the other students. Their growth and their attainment levels have just started to skyrocket, because their wellbeing is being looked after now”

- Kathryn Nagle, Assistant Principal of Merewether Public School

Out of the children who participated in the program, we saw an amazing 20% of these children receive academic or leadership recognition at the end of the school year. This included the Principal Excellence Award, Aboriginal Young Leader Award, Student Prefect leaders and School Captain achievements. These children received breakfast each morning as part of the bus program and were also involved in our other school mentoring and dental programs, providing them with holistic support. This demonstrates that if children can get to school, they have greater opportunities to shine bright and reach their unique potential.

“As a retired Police Officer, I have witnessed generational poverty first hand. Where unemployment & welfare are the norm. There is a close correlation between truancy and juvenile crime. Lawlessness starts early. A key to breaking this chain is through education. I have trouble expressing the importance and value of the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program. It really is a privilege to drive the bus and be involved in such a program.”

- Volunteer Bus Driver for the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program

Having now run this Brighter Beginnings Bus Program for the last two years, we are excited to announce that with the Community Building Partnerships Grant,we will be expanding it to a second school!

In December 2022, we were absolutely thrilled to learn that we were one of the recipients of the Community Building Partnerships Grant. We received from the state member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp.

These funds have allowed us to purchase a second vehicle for our organisation and means that this year we will be able to expand our Brighter Beginnings Bus Program to a SECOND school.

Thanks to the support of this grant we will now be able to do an ADDITIONAL 4,000 school trips in 2023.

And so we are looking forward to and are excited to announce that this year the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program will be partnering with WARATAH WEST PUBLIC to support their students by providing transport to at-risk children with low attendance to school each day, improving their attendance and educational learning outcomes

“I don't think we can actually measure all the benefits to the kids involved. It relieves pressure off struggling families and benefits the entire school community. To see the kids happy smiling faces each day is a joy. They are so excited to see us and literally run to get on board… I’ve been involved for over a year now and the kids have grown in so many ways. I’ve seen a little community forming between them where they support each other and develop social skills and connection. I love it.”

- Volunteer Bus Driver for the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program

But to expand this program and reach more families, we need your help!

If you have a spare couple of hours free in the morning, are a confident driver and enjoy meaningful work than we need you.

We are in need of volunteer drivers who are available to drive our 8-seater vehicle on weekday mornings, from 7:45am - 9:30am. All you need is an unrestricted drivers license and to complete our 'New Role' form and email this and your working with children's check number (or application number) to and we'll be in touch!

We can’t wait to launch this program when school returns and report back to you with the results of what a difference it has made in the lives of children and families living in the Shortland area.


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