Our Recipient Stories

JORDYN
September 2018



"Without Chances for Children, I wouldn’t have been able to follow my dreams. Moving to the city of Melbourne and completing a Bachelor of Criminology and Justice seemed impossible.

I am currently now a year and a half into my studies and Chances has helped me remarkably, making my aspirations become a reality. They continue to help me with unforeseen finances that become stressful as a university student and they are continuously there for support and encouragement.

This wonderful organisation has assisted me with many things, from purchasing textbooks, paying rent and even expensive bills that have arisen unexpectedly. Chances for Children has not only helped me financially but their support is also needed. Just being a friendly person to talk to over the phone or by email for general support is great. They ensure you are travelling well with studies and that life is running smoothly. If I am struggling, Chances for Children is always there to help me both financially and with encouragement.

Thanks to Chances for Children, I have nearly completed my degree. I have made lifelong friends, I have been able to grow as a person, and open myself up to many opportunities for my future ambitions.

I would not have been able to complete this journey without Chances for Children, they are an amazing organisation helping people everywhere complete their dreams, just like they helped me."



OLIVIA
September 2018



"My journey with Chances for Children began when my school’s careers counsellor recommended it to me. I applied, and I was chosen to be given financial assistance.

In the past six months, Chances have given me an enormous amount of financial help. They have provided me with a wide variety of support including allowing me the means to purchase textbooks, being able pay for certain university fees and academic tests and providing me with a large portion of my rent that allows me to live away while I study.

Without their support I would not be where I am today, I wouldn’t have been able to move away to study which was something I always wanted to do. I wouldn’t have these crucial advantages that allow me to succeed and thrive on my academic journey. Advantages that have allowed me to blossom as a student and grow as a person.

Chances have given me the ability to follow my dreams and that means more to me than almost anything in the whole world. It has been a true blessing to be supported by such a caring and fair organisation that is purely community based. It warms my heart to know that those who can, donate their money to help support kids like me with big dreams and big ambitions but not always big bank accounts."



JONATHON
June 2018



“I’m delighted to tell you that your investment in me has allowed me to realise my dreams.  In May, I graduated from my law course while last year I graduated from an international studies degree".

Jonathon shared his story in the 2018 Winter edition of the Mildura Living Magazine. Click here to read Jonathon's story.



PAUL
May 2018



"Chances for Children provided myself and my brother (Nathen) with funding to travel and attend training and competition events in Melbourne related to our junior squash careers.

I am currently the Mildura Squash Inc. Club President and a professional qualified Level 1 Squash Coach. I am very involved with the local Mildura Squash committee, through Junior Squash Programs, Senior Pennants and Casual Hitting and our Ladies Squash Programs (Hits & Giggles).

The support from Chance for Children given to myself and my brother all those years ago, has greatly helped me strive to achieve my full potential on and off the squash court, in life and my sporting pursuits. I believe the help and support given, has driven me to succeed on and off the Squash court in ways not foreseen at the time over 20 years ago.

Whilst the support was very individualised, it has proven to be a worthwhile investment. To this very day, I believe in giving back to the community and helping to foster potential in everyone within our region, encouraging them to be active and participate in sport, particularly in Squash. In doing this all members of our community can have the chance to achieve their full potential....

Thank you Chances for Children."



ERICA
April  2018



"The support Chances gave me at the age of 21 living away from home in a new city was invaluable. I was so grateful to be able to focus 100% on my studies without the distraction of financial pressures. As a result, the skills I developed and the people I met have led me into a growing career as an international musician".

Erica is a member of the critically acclaimed South Australian band Lazy Eye. Click
 
here to listen to Erica's story on YouTube.


STEVI
December 2016



“Chances has provided me with mentoring, financial support and budgeting assistance which I am so thankful for. Studying at SuniTAFE would not have been possible without this support.”

Stevi shared her story in the 2017 Summer edition of the Mildura Living Magazine. Click
here to read Stevi's story. Stevi is pictured with Essendon footballer Matt Dea and Chances Alumni and Essendon footballer Kobe Mutch at the 2017 Tour de Murray. 


DAMIEN



Born in Mildura in 1988, Damien Ditchburn went to Irymple South Primary followed by St Joseph’s College. Finishing Year 12 in 2006, he obtained the support of Chances for Children, which enabled him to move to Adelaide to study Nursing at Flinders University in 2007.

“The financial assistance Chances offered me was invaluable in allowing me to study for three years in Adelaide, as was the support I received through their Peer Support Program. This program linked me with other students in Adelaide, making my transition to university and my first year away from home much easier.”

“During this time, my father became seriously ill and the additional support Chances gave me was crucial, in what was an incredibly stressful time for both me and my family.”

With Chances’ support Damien was able to commit to fulltime study and on completion of his Degree, in 2009, he returned to Mildura to begin a Graduate Nursing Program at the Mildura Base Hospital.
In 2010, after finishing this program, Damien took up a position within the Emergency Department, whilst also completing a Hospital Coronary Care Course and Respiratory Course.

This year, Damien has returned to university in Adelaide to complete a Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing and to work in the Intensive Care and Emergency Departments.
At the end of this course, he plans to work in the Emergency Department as a Senior Registered Nurse.

Longer term, Damien hopes to have an educational or a management role.


ANGELA



Beginning piano lessons at the age of five, Angela Gowers quickly discovered a love for music that has followed her throughout her life, thus far. At 13, she started at Red Cliffs Secondary College and began to play the flute, under the tutelage of local flautist and teacher, Anne Webster and the flute has been with her ever since.
Performing at local eisteddfods and sitting exams throughout secondary school, a tertiary qualification in music was the logical next step for Angela. Through the support from Chances for Children, Angela completed a three-year Bachelor of Music degree at Monash University in Melbourne, finding the transition to city life much easier, thanks to her connection with her Chances mentor, Rhiannon.

In 2012, Angela transferred to The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to complete her Honours year, under the guidance of Professor and flautist Derek Jones.

During this time, Angela has also performed both nationally and internationally and has been a participating member of Fresco, a Melbourne-based flute quartet focused on performing Australian works but also premiering compositions from round the world.
Angela recently travelled to Europe where she undertook private lessons with Italian musician, Luciano Tristaino and German Flute Professor, Imme-Jeanne Klett. After a very intense period, she has decided to take a break from study, to work and travel but her future plans include completing her Masters in Music Performance.
Alternative career paths would include the teaching of music or music therapy.

Angela plays a Verne Q. Powell flute (Aurumite CH-2251).


STACEY
October 2018



“Without Chances I would not have finished my diploma, without a doubt I would have packed up and moved home in the first few months.  They assisted me with everything to get by living by myself for the first time.”

With a love for creativity, Stacey left her home in Kerang at the completion of secondary school, to pursue a Diploma in Photography at the Commercial Arts Training College in Melbourne.

“I worked in photography for a little while, however my real passion always rested with design, so I decided to pursue this further and finished my Bachelor of Communication Design a couple of years ago. 

“Whilst studying I worked and learned from the team at stationery brand kikki.K, and now I am employed full time at Peninsula Leisure on the Mornington Peninsula, working across design, user experience, marketing, front end web and much more.”

Having completed her degree, and now working in an industry that she loves, Stacey attributes her success to the constant support of those around her.

“Chances gave me the support I needed as a young adult who had never lived alone and just moved 300km away from my family.  They assisted with my day to day expenses and school expenses. I was also lucky enough to meet some great people at meet ups.

“Without a doubt I would have either moved home after a few months of Uni or spent all my time working outside of school if it wasn't for Chances. They allowed me to really focus on my studies and in doing so I walked away from my Diploma at the top of my class and received multiple awards for my studies.”

After a great experience at University, Stacey regularly returns to assist with Open Days and student workshops. She also enjoys volunteering for design events in her spare time.

Making the most of the learning opportunities that come about in her current role at Peninsula Leisure, Stacey plans to stick around for a few more years, and is considering some additional upskill courses to stay at the top of her game.



ALEX
September 2018




"My name is Alex Rowbotham, and I have been fortunate to receive funding from Chances for Children, which is supported by the Wentworth District Community Bank and other donors. I have been a recipient of the Chances for Children Tertiary Scholarship for two years, where it has assisted me financially throughout my last two years of my University degree.

I am studying the Bachelor of Education in Mildura, which is a four‐year degree. I found out about the Chances for Children scholarship through my University, where I started the application process. To be eligible for the scholarship, the recipient(s) had to live in the Wentworth district area and be pursuing further education, either TAFE or a University degree. The application process was easy, where you had to discuss how the funds provided by the scholarship could ease financial burdens, making academic studies more enjoyable. There was an interview process too, which followed the same questions expressed in the application process – how would receiving the scholarship help you? I was incredibly grateful when I found out that I had been successful in securing a scholarship, where it made my overall University journey a lot more enjoyable and less stressful, especially financially.

Receiving the scholarship allowed me to purchase textbooks for my subjects, stationery, and resources that I could use on my placement requirements, the scholarship ccovered transportation costs too.  The scholarship indeed made my university journey enjoyable, as many of the financial burdens that accompany further eudcation could be solved.  The team at Chances for Children are remarkable too, where they also offer emotional support, as they understand how stressful and demanding further stuyding can be.  Receiving the scholarship has eased my financial requirements for further education, making my journey unforgettable.  I am genuinely thankful to have received the scholarship, bringing me closer to reaching my dreams."



MIKAYLA
September 2018



My name is Mikayla Martin and I was successful enough to be the recipient of the Wentworth District Bank $20,000 scholarship through Chances for Children to help with the expensive towards me completing my Diploma and Bachelor of Nursing.
In 2017, I began my Diploma of Nursing at SuniTAFE Mildura.

Growing up I never wanted to be any else, nursing has always been my career choice. When starting my Diploma the first struggle was definitely the cost side of the course. Books, uniforms, fees and equipment requirements kept adding up and it put an extra stress on me that I didn’t need going into my first nursing degree. One day an administration staff member at SuniTAFE suggested Chances for Children to me for some extra finical support during my degree. Once seeking more information about them I applied for a scholarship to help towards my fees. Three days after submitting my letters of recommendation and writing a short letter about myself I was very excited to get a phone call saying Chances would be more than happy to pay my Diploma course fees. That phone call definitely took a huge load of stress from me and helped me to focus more on my studies. A few months later, I received another phone call from Chances saying I had the $20,000 scholarship to help towards all the extra costs of my studies. I couldn’t believe it, I was nearly in tears. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I felt a huge weight had come off my shoulders. 14 months later, I have completed my Diploma of Nursing and I have gained employment at a local Aged Care working as enrolled endorsed nurse. Receiving my diploma was one of the happiest moments I have experienced.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today if it wasn’t for the support they have given me. Financial stress is hard to handle while completing a degree, and I couldn’t be more thankful towards the bank. 



ANNE
August 2018



"The funding from Chances for Children allowed me to gain my qualifications as a Junior Development Tennis Coach. This has had such a positive influence on my entire life, I cannot thank Chances enough. I have been able to provide tennis coaching to isolated school children, groups with disabilities, as well as gain employment through high school, university and beyond. 

I went on to become a teacher and the skills and confidence gained from my coaching experience have helped shape the teacher that I am today. I am now Club Captain and Secretary at the Wentworth Tennis Club, and currently volunteer as coach of approximately 15 young people learning to play tennis aged 3 – 7 years old."



D'CON
August 2017



Chances supported D'Con to undertake a Certificate III in General Education through the SuniTAFE Swan Hill campus in 2017.

D'Con shared his story with the Swan Hill Guardian. Click here to read D'Con's story.


JASMINE
2015

Jasmine began a Bachelor of Business (Events Management) at La Trobe University in 2012. After completing her first year of study in Mildura, Jasmine relocated to Melbourne to complete her 2nd and 3rd years.

To help with her transition to Melbourne, Jasmine was matched with volunteer mentor Olga through the Chances Mentor Program. They have since remained good friends and catch up regularly.

Jasmine is also giving back to community. Recently Jasmine volunteered with a program called ‘I Need Helpers’. Additionally, Jasmine decided to ‘give back’ to Chances by becoming a mentor to a 2015 Chances recipient who is following a similar study path to herself. 


PATRICIA



In November 2010, Chances were very fortunate to receive a large sum of money from the Swan Hill Field Days Committee. The Committee had resolved not to run the field days again and gave the balance of their bank account to Chances to be used to establish a scholarship.

The money was invested for the program, with a scholarship drawn annually in the name of “The Swan Hill Field Days Scholarship.” The scholarship is matched to a Chances recipient who is studying Agriculture or a related industry that supports the rural economy.
Patricia was the first young person to be awarded the Swan Hill Field Days Scholarship in 2011. From a farming background, Patricia took up an opportunity to study Animal Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. The scholarship has assisted her to meet the accommodation costs of living away from home.
Patricia is well on her way to developing expertise in the sheep and wool industry, where she will later be able to work in artificial insemination, genetics or a veterinary practice.

During semester breaks, Patricia usually works on properties, gaining valuable experience and helping to pay her way. In two years time, Patricia will finish her degree and will then consider post-graduate study.


ASH



For the past four years Ash Credlin has been completing a Degree in Adventure Ecotourism at Charles Sturt University in Albury. With a passion for the outdoors and adventure education, the Degree has provided Ash with a range of opportunities to extend his knowledge and skills base.

Chances for Children has supported Ash through his university degree by providing financial assistance to enable him to participate in and get the most from, his chosen course, which includes adventure experiences. One of the more recent university opportunities that Ash has undertaken was a three-week expedition to East Timor. The aim of that tour was to research the effects of tourism on a developing country and to be able to provide guidance for local villages to further develop their own tourism ventures and formed a part of a compulsory international field trip required for his graduation. Whilst in East Timor, the group of 12 students and one lecturer visited the town of Maubisse up in the mountains and became the first tourists to spend more than a day in the town. They also visited the country’s capital Dili and spent a week on Atauro Island. Ash loved East Timor and learnt a lot from his experience. He was struck by their style of evolving tourism that offers an experience that is personal, environmentally friendly and culturally appropriate, in total contrast to that which is offered by one of its nearest neighbours, Bali.

Ash will be forever grateful to Chances for Children for the support they gave him and the opportunities that support has allowed him to embrace.

“There are so many memories from not only my trip to East Timor but the last four years as a whole, which can be credited to the assistance I have received.”



WENDY



After completing her VCE at Mildura Senior College in 2000, Wendy Miller was accepted into a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts course at the University of Melbourne. Her excitement was immediately dampened however, by the reality of her financial situation. There was simply no way she could afford to move to Melbourne and support herself while studying unless she deferred for a year to save some money. Fortunately, one of her teachers put her in contact with the newly formed Chances for Children program. Wendy became one of Chances’ first recipients and received support and assistance that ultimately enabled her to move to Melbourne without the need for a deferral.

Wendy loved her university experience (except, perhaps, for the exams) and gained a lot from her exposure to the incredible intelligence of some of the academics and students she encountered along the way. “I learned countless skills both inside and outside the lecture theatres.”

Graduating in 2006, Wendy commenced articles with Herbert Geer in 2007. Herbert Geer is a mid-tier legal practice with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Deciding she enjoyed corporate law she has been in the Corporate / Mergers & Acquisitions team at Herbert Geer ever since being admitted in 2008. The challenges have been endless but deeply rewarding.

“There are new legal problems to solve every day and as I have become more senior I have also needed to learn how to manage people and clients (which is sometimes harder than the legal work!). Being a lawyer has also enabled me to give back to the community through pro bono work. I spend a lot of time providing free legal advice to charities and have recently taken up a board position with a not-for-profit organisation.”

Wendy has no doubt that Chances for Children played a big part in helping her to get to where she is today.

"I have no idea what the future holds (at this point the options are going for partnership or quitting law and trying to be an author) but regardless of where I end up in another 13 years, I will remain grateful to Chances for their contribution to the experiences I have enjoyed.“


Make a Donation
Mildura Office:
Haselgrove House
122 Ninth Street Mildura
T: (03) 5023 5966