The YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program team has launched a new networking initiative to support staff, volunteers and school communities providing free, healthy breakfasts to students across Queensland.
The Program’s first networking event was held on Thursday 6 October at Bremer State High School and brought together a passionate group of supporters, from teaching and administrative staff to not-for-profit and local government representatives.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding was also in attendance and spoke of the inspiring impact the Breakfast Program was having on 38 school communities in the region.
The YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program currently supports more than 140 schools and provides 100,000 free breakfast meals to Queensland students each month, many of whom attend school without eating a substantial meal — if any food at all — before leaving home in the morning.
While the Program’s mission is to reduce the number of students disadvantaged by hunger and poor nutrition, YMCA CEO Damian Foley recently highlighted the additional benefits of children attending school with a full tummy.
“Our research tells us that 96% of schools see demonstrable positive impacts on educational outcomes after implementing our breakfast program, including increases in school connectedness, student focus and participation, and improved behavioural outcomes,” Mr Foley said.
Program Manager Amanda Maystone-Towell and her dedicated team plan to hold quarterly networking events to connect with participating schools and communities, support their staff and volunteers, share information and ideas, and celebrate local achievements.
Ms Maystone-Towell also explained that the events will aim to reduce the stigma of food insecurity, ensuring the Schools’ Breakfast Program is “part of the daily conversation with children, youth and families and a positive place to start their day”.
Plans are already underway for the next quarterly events to be held in Logan, followed by the Brisbane region.
To learn more about the YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program, to register your school or to donate, please click here.