Grants lifts school’s self-esteem

Max e Grants are open again this year for schools and preschools to support disadvantaged children in their schooling.

The initiative is to provide financial and educational support to disadvantaged children between age four to 18.

Max e Grants aims to support individual children or groups of children experiencing major disadvantage so they can join in activities at school.

Pukehina School received a grant of $5000 last year to remodel their uniforms, but the grant achieved much more than just a new look on the children.

The grant, by Max e Grants in conjunction with Office Max and Barnados, helped rebrand the school and principal Roger Reid says it lifted the students’ self-esteem.

“It just never looked nice, but our new one now looks stunning, it looks great.”

During the last five years, 39 Bay of Plenty schools have received Max e Grants, with the money going towards vital school supplies and field trips.

Pukehina School, a low decile school, received a $5000 Max e Grant in 2015, and put the money towards funding new uniforms.

Roger says the old uniforms had been around for “quite a while”.

“It was made out of an old material and it stained. I don’t think we ever had all of our kids in school uniform one day because they didn’t want to wear it.

“Since we’ve got the new school uniform, the kids have got a lot more self-esteem, their confidence has improved.”

Roger wears the uniform shirt himself, and says he gets comments all the time of “oh nice uniform”.

The school rebranded to an extent, and the new uniforms have the schools motto printed on them, says Roger, and it is a “replication of our values”.

Schools, kindergartens and daycare centres can nominate children experiencing economic disadvantages for grants of up to $5000, with the money go to essential school supplies and extra-curricular activities.

OfficeMax New Zealand’s national manager of government and education Blair Horsfall says the programme is now more important than ever.

“With the cost of living rising it’s becoming harder for families to cover all those extra school expenses such as uniforms, books, and camps.

“Even in a free public education system these quickly add up, and this is where our Max e Grants programme can really help.

“In five years we’ve really helped more than 11,000 children gain access to the education they deserve.”

More than $530,000 has been donated, with the grants paying for extra hours of teaching aide and support, stationery and textbooks, excursions, sporting equipment and extracurricular activities.

Applications for 2016 close March 18. See: www.maxegrants.co.nz

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