In these extraordinary times, Girls Academy remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting almost 3000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in the program.
CEO Ricky Grace said Girls Academy has made significant changes to its operations as a result of COVID-19 to enable staff to provide ongoing remote support to students as and where required.
“We have set up a database in each of our 43 Academies to maintain regular contact with the girls, and staff have been given additional resources, including extra mobile phones supplied by our corporate partner Swinburne, to facilitate that support,” he said.
“Where possible, we will use online tools, such as Zoom, to help bring students together. We are working closely with schools to ensure our systems and processes complement the approach taken by education departments across Australia to the evolving situation.”
Girls Academy staff have also been putting together care packages, including essential items such as toiletries and non-perishable food, for girls most affected by the changes.
Ricky thanked Girls Academy’s corporate partners for their continued support of the program, including Nestlé and Winc, which contributed to the care packages.
“We understand that our partners are facing their own challenges in these difficult times, so their continued commitment and concern is very much appreciated,” he said. “We have been contacted by supporters wanting to help and reassuring us that they are here for the long haul.”
With the situation constantly changing, Ricky said the executive management team was liaising closely with departments of education to ensure Girls Academy remained on top of the latest advice and could respond quickly and effectively.
Girls Academy was also providing the best possible support to staff so that they could focus on the girls. “We understand the stress uncertainty causes and will continue to pay our 136 staff through this crisis, as well as support any staff member impacted by the virus,” Ricky said. “A number of our staff have been supported to work from home during this crisis.”
While there was no denying the challenges ahead, Ricky said that Girls Academy staff would be doing everything in their power to ensure the girls in the program feel supported and connected.
“With the girls among the most vulnerable people in our community, COVID-19 has only made our support for their health, wellbeing and education even more critical,” he said. “We will continue to do whatever necessary to help them through the months ahead.”