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How it works

Kids as Catalysts is a six stage creative leadership program for upper-primary school aged children. Students start their work in the classroom, then step outside to engage with real community partners to create and lead positive change projects.

In the 2019 Kids as Catalysts program, 196 Year 6 students from across four Northern Bay College campuses teamed up with 28 community organisations and volunteer groups to develop and deliver 33 community change projects.

‘The Kids as Catalysts philanthropy program has considerable potential for broad social impacts and should be prioritised as an intervention.’ University of Melbourne, Child-led Community Change Strategy Evaluation Report 2013-2016.

Stage 1 – Students identify local issues they care about

Working with Kids Thrive facilitators and teachers, the kids formed teams to identify the issues that they wanted to see improved in their communities.

Stage 2 – Build partnerships with local charities and community groups

Students identify community connections – who do they already know who might help them with their project? Which organisations are already working on this issue and could help? Then, with the support of facilitators and teachers, they hop on the phone! Not everyone says yes, but 28 community organisations and volunteer groups agreed to partner with the Kids as Catalysts teams in 2019.

Stage 3 – Co-design, plan and budget community change projects

Then it’s time to work through the step-by-step process of developing a community change project. Teams work together – drawing on the strengths of each individual – to create goals, a timeline and a budget.

Stage 4 – Pitch to a panel of school and community leaders for real money

Time to get creative! Teams prepare their pitch presentations to secure the money to deliver their projects. They are empowered to be big, bright, colourful, bold – and confident! In 2019, 12 community leaders joined the program as panellists, to assess each pitch and decide if they should receive the funding they asked for.

Stage 5 – Implement these projects

This is where the rubber hits the road – students get out into the community and deliver their projects. They extend their community networks even further, meeting new people in the organisations and community spaces they are working in. They deliver real benefits to real people. They have first-hand experience of making a difference. They made it happen!

Stage 6 – Showcase to the community

This is the students’ time to shine! The teams come together – community partners, students and anyone else involved in the projects, to show VIP guests, family, friends, school mates and teachers the outcomes and successes of their hard work.

The 2019 Kids as Catalysts Showcase was held at the Geelong Cats Stadium in the Presidents Room. Hundreds of students, community leaders and members of the public attended. It was an enormous celebration of the power of child-led, positive community change!