09 Dec 2011

Clayton Utz and the Daystar Foundation

Kerrie Bristow talks about Daystar's work in the community.

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Clayton Utz and the Daystar Foundation
Kerrie Bristow, Corporate & Community Partnerships, Daystar Foundation

Can you tell us briefly about Daystar's work in the community?

Daystar Foundation works in the disadvantaged communities in South‑West Sydney. Our programs were developed to be put into schools which draw from the public housing estates. The programs are all involved in trying to engage the children more in their education so we want to increase the children's levels of numeracy and literacy and we really want to reduce their levels of truancy and absenteeism and also reduce levels of childhood obesity.

The programs that we run are the LAST program so, before, lunch, after school transformation programs - so we have our Breakfast Club, we have our Literacy Buddies, we have a Garden Club, Music Club and Homework Club.

How does the Daystar Foundation work together with Clayton Utz?

When Daystar commenced operation around about 11 years ago, our CEO and founder Kingi Williams came to Clayton Utz and they helped him with the legal work in the set up of the Foundation and since then they have been helping with pro bono legal work over the years. The programs that Clayton Utz volunteers have been involved in are the Literacy Buddies Program where around 200 volunteers are currently writing letters. They write to the children in the school about once a month. It's a long distance mentoring program and has wonderful results for the children.

For the Breakfast Club we can have three and four volunteers go out once a month and help in the Breakfast Club at Sarah Redfern. The Clayton Utz Foundation also assists Daystar with funds and that has been a wonderful help to Daystar over the years because it has allowed us to run all our different programs.

What is one of the most recent projects that Clayton Utz and Daystar Foundation have worked together on?

Well currently Clayton Utz and Daystar are working together on organising the Christmas parties for the Literacy Buddies Program. At the end of each year, we have children come in from Sarah Redfern Public School and also from Sarah Redfern High School who will have a party with all the big buddies from the Literacy Buddies Program here at Clayton Utz. The children absolutely love coming in and having their party. For some of them it is the first time they've ever left Minto, they come in, they see the harbour, they see the bridge and they see the wonderful view from this building and have a lovely, lovely time. All the volunteers from Clayton Utz all enjoy the day, the children do some performances as well and it is a wonderful end to the Program at the end of each year.