When speaking about living “a good life” that wonderful teacher, Jim Rohn, suggested that “it is our responsibility to produce enough to cover our own needs”. If we don’t, then we must draw from the community to survive and that is not sustainable. Rohn then says: “Once we have produced enough for our own needs it then becomes a responsibility to help those who do not produce enough for themselves”.

Among all the things we strive for, or place importance upon, as we climb our ladder in life, we all know that maxim “you can’t take it with you” is the truth. The reality is, that day will come for each of us when we look back and wonder if we have lived “a good life”: a life you were proud of; a life your family was proud of; one that others spoke well of when you were gone. Better to think about that early I reckon and be sure you have your ladder propped up against the right wall as you climb to the top in your life.

If not for community we really cease to exist. If we are fortunate to live in a community where our days are not spent simply surviving, we must have opportunities to do more, be more and have more. We are destined to grow – its natural – and since there is no static we are either growing and developing or disintegrating. It seems to me that someone who produces more and therefore has more, can do more in the community – at least, they ought to.

Since 1999 I have been working with a wonderful group of supporters on the development of our next generation of philanthropists to instil this mindset from an early age. We fly under the banner of SchoolAid.  It’s hard to believe, but our youth are experiencing significant levels of anxiety, depression and suicide despite the incredible richness of our country and the myriad opportunities on offer in what is surely the best time in history. I’m certain that the messages they get from us (big people) help to create many of the anxieties that have them feeling unworthy, without a future, not pretty enough, not able to make a difference, somehow not as good as earlier generations …

I started SchoolAid in belief is that through “giving” our young people will develop a deeper sense of perspective about the world and their place in it while developing leadership skills and being empowered to make a difference.

With the Governor-General & Lady Cosgrove in our tent at Government House, Canberra

Why?

1-16

Young people experience depression

1-6

Young people experiencing anxiety issues

9000

Calls to Kids Helpline Re: Suicide

Sources: Mission Australia 2015 National Youth Survey and Kids Helpline

How?

SchoolAid aims to be part of the solution by providing a resource for parents and teachers. Our current focus is on four key areas:

Distribution of our Schools - Social Action Kit

Unique & safe crowdfunding platform specifically for young people;

SchoolAid leadership program – called KATs;

National SchoolAid Awards Program.

Result

Since inception in 1999 and in conjunction with Australian principals’ associations, SchoolAid has supported over 50 campaigns & raised $5 million for projects, here and across the world.

Its Time Foundation

Since 2008 I have been privileged to serve as a Director on the Board of Its Time Foundation established by a lifelong friend Rob Edwards. The purpose of this organisation is to provide clean green solar power to schools in the Pacific Islands (Fiji) in place of dirty diesel power that is only available by generators a couple of hours each day. The impact this has on education and health outcomes for these remote communities is extraordinary and the benefits will be felt for generations.