Easter is a really important time of year for me. Not just because of its religious significance, but because it reminds me a better future is possible whenever we use our compassion to lift people out of despair.

That’s exactly what your support enables me and my team to do every single day. Like the nutritious meals that stave off hunger in the homeless, or the basic healthcare that means our guests don’t get sick. 

But what if we could prevent poverty in the first place? What if we could intervene to break the poverty-cycle?

Thirty years ago I realised education was the miracle that poverty-stricken kids needed to get new lives. I realised that an inability to read was denying many of these kids a chance at a better future.  

Ever since, I’ve been running literacy programs for children from the poorest suburbs. It’s truly wonderful to see the spark of excitement in their eyes as they learn to read. Thousands of them have already benefited!

Now I’m thrilled to tell you that I am rolling out a brand new literacy program. It’s based on the phonics method – the ability to hear, identify, and blend the distinct sounds in the English language. This new program is even more effective! 

Indeed it’s needed more than ever! According to the most recent data a total of 24,309 year-5 students are below the national minimum literacy standard#. That’s the national figure, so think of the proportion who come from the poorest families and most disadvantaged suburbs. 

My literacy program directly targets the needy kids. We go into the most poverty-stricken places to give the kids the miracle of literacy – the chance to break free of poverty.

The children attend my literacy program for 18 weeks where they receive intensive tuition. The program gives these kids the literacy skills they need to catch up with their peers back in the classroom. 

By the end of the program all the children improved. In our most recent intake, our students gained an average of 13 months to their reading age, and 3 students gained close to 2 years! It’s a remarkable achievement that can only happen because of your support. 

Recently one student told me she was reading Harry Potter for the first time! A grateful grandmother of another student said to me, “We couldn’t afford expensive tutors, we just didn’t have the money. Your program changed my grandson’s life. It’s been amazing, his behaviour has changed and he’s doing well at school. He is a different person”. That’s the miracle of literacy and you and I can make it happen. 

It’s heartening to know that those first students who went through my literacy program all those years ago have now grown up and become successes in life with great careers. Some even went to university and became school teachers themselves. It’s the circle of life!

As we get ready to celebrate new life at Easter, your generosity to kids like these is always on my mind. To me, this work is living out the word of Jesus. It’s giving those in great need the chance of a new life.

Your support gives us new life too – it lifts our spirits and encourages us to help even more needy Australians. That’s why I’m asking you to give generously this Easter. Your tax deductible donation can help a child learn to read and break the poverty-cycle. So please donate today, safe in the knowledge I will honour your contribution with all my efforts.

God bless
Rev. Bill Crews.