Students from the Youth Off the Streets program are paying it forward by raising money for drought affected farmers by auctioning a mural they have created as part of The Archibull Prize.
The students are from The Lakes College, an alternative high school on the central coast of NSW, and in conjunction with Losty and Mercy College, have chosen to support the rural initiatives of Aussie Farmers Foundation.
“The kids have been positively impacted by their learning across all topics to do with the Archibull Prize such as healthy communities, climate change, food security and more.
“They felt a profound sense of empathy with some of the struggles farmers experience but they also saw the farmers as being really courageous and they wanted to help by acknowledging that courage,” The Lakes College teacher Amy Gill said.
By working with an artist who uses spray art, or graffiti walls, to help and assist the community rather than harm, the students created a 2.4m high mural depicting an Akubra-clad farmer standing on the red soils of his farm.
“The kids see a lot in the media about the drought at the moment but being a charity ourselves we realised that sometimes people want to give but they don’t ask us what we need,” Ms Gill said.
According to Ms Gill, the Aussie Farmers Foundation’s values towards education and mental health was the reason why Youth Off the Streets chose the Foundation to recieve the funds from the mural’s auction.
The students said that the struggles which farmers persevere through strongly resonated and inspired them.
The Archibull Prize is a project based learning (PBL) competition that uses creative arts and multimedia to engage students and their communities with Australian farmers and agriculture. This method of teaching has been a resounding success at The Lakes College.
“We can teach maths and we can teach science but at the end of the day it doesn’t have that real-world connection or value that education should.
“A project like this has that real-world and human connection and is an opportunity for the kids to have a voice and an audience; and that’s why I think it has been so meaningful. They’ve never had their work hung on a wall anywhere before and they take such an absolute pride in this,” Ms Gill said.