1,150 disadvantaged children received a personalised card and $30 gift voucher for Christmas thanks to VIEW – Voice, Interest and Education of Women. I’ve had the pleasure of presenting to each of the four VIEW Clubs around Geelong, so now it’s their turn to talk to us. Together, VIEW Clubs around Australia sponsor over 1,150 disadvantaged students through the Smith Family’s ‘Learning for Life’ Program. The Smith Family believe education is the key to breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
The Geelong Evening View Club have 22 members and have been running for about 25 years. The Monday I met them, they were collecting goodies for Christmas for Bethany to pass on to women who are experiencing domestic violence. Gwendy Beck who has been a member since 1995, the year after the Club was formed, had a funny story to share.
‘I was getting ready for our monthly meeting which was to be held at our new venue, the Waurn Ponds Hotel, when it started to rain quite heavily. Being a loyal member, I continued. The carpark was flooded and I happened to be wearing my best party shoes. ‘Do I go home or go in?’ I decided to battle on, so took off my party shoes. I paddled to the door in stockinged feet, with my hair drenched by the pouring rain.
‘As I paddled to the door, the assistant secretary rushed out shouting ‘Go Home! The kitchen’s flooded’. So was our dining area!
‘I paddled back to the car. It was a scary drive home with water spraying over the top of the car and rivers flowing down driveways but I arrived home safely – hot shower – dry clothes – hot cuppa! VIEW ladies are hardy! This was the only meeting cancelled in over 20 years. We are all great friends and do lots of fun things together, like going to plays regularly. We also hold coffee mornings. At this time of year, we wrap Christmas presents to raise funds. The National Winter Appeal raised $46 million. We are a group of friends who also raise much needed funds for the education of disadvantaged children.’
The Ocean Grove VIEW Club is up to 144 members and runs 17 interest groups that range from walking or cycling to book clubs. Geelong Day VIEW have 55 members while the Drysdale group have 68. A number of groups also knit for Cottage by the Sea and support Days for Girls. The groups hold monthly meetings and listen to inspirational speakers while sharing a meal and laughs. For more information, or to find your nearest club http://view.org.au/
Story: Jacqui Bennett, Photo of Gwendy Beck