Kids as Catalyst: Children leading local community change

The Kids as Catalyst program is a schools-based program that equips children aged 8-12 with the skills to identify and solve real problems facing their community, through creative and collaborative projects. It is a two-phase, 16-week social action program where children begin their work in the classroom and then step out into the community to lead local change.

Kids as Catalyst is delivered throughout Victoria, and linked to the Victorian Curriculum.

Kids as Catalyst (KiC) won the 2017 VicHealth award for improving mental wellbeing.

Kids as Catalyst 2019

Join us at the biggest ever Showcase of child-led community change

The program is currently in its second year at Northern Bay College in Geelong. 200 students are working on local issues ranging from welcoming new migrants to protecting endangered wildlife, putting into practice values such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering. Students from the Hendy, Tallis, Wexford and Peacock campuses are taking part in terms two and three.

Kids as Catalyst – latest news

Below: Listen to what two of the Northern Bay College teachers had to say when we caught up with them at the teacher training day.

About the Kids as Catalyst program

The philosophy

Children can thrive when we acknowledge their capacity to lead local change.

Building skills for life

Kids as Catalyst calls for early engagement, new ideas, respectful community partnerships, and recognises children as vibrant catalysts for positive change. We ask children to reflect on their personal values, and teach them how to conceive, design and implement real-life, philanthropic projects.

The skills developed by children in the program go beyond numeracy and literacy bench-marking to introduce project management, leadership and communication skills. Participants forge partnerships with local volunteers, charities and community organisations; ‘pitch’ community projects to a formidable panel of local community leaders; develop budgets and manage finances; and then deliver their unique community projects.

Young students build deep community connections and deliver tangible, real-world results of which they are justifiably proud. Kids as Catalyst activates and inspires children to take an ongoing interest in community action and social justice.

Leadership and resilience

Kids Thrive collaborates with children as active members of their community, unearthing the issues they care about, and supporting them to make a real impact. Kids as Catalyst develops a sense of engaged citizenship in children, building a strong foundation for a resilient society.

School commitment

Kids Thrive deliver weekly training in schools over two terms. Schools commit to a weekly 90-minute class, in a designated room with weekly follow up in class for required actions, and attendance of the participating class to two community engagement events.

 Program Aims:

  • Activating children as major contributors to and creators of community
  • Fostering children’s resilience, leadership, and entrepreneurship
  • Building and embracing leadership opportunities for children in their schools and communities
  • Developing children’s passion for social justice, and capacity to drive community change
  • Strengthening connections between schools and communities
  • Developing children’s literacy, budgeting, and financial management skills

‘I realise that I can make a change now. I can talk to adults and they will listen to me. I thought I had to be older to do that. Kids can make a difference now.’ Student, grade 5

‘I saw many young people who were inspirational, passionate about helping others, were highly articulate and skilled to make a profound difference. I felt moved, touched and proud at what each group presented and had learnt through this exceptional program.’ Melina Maranville, Principal, Ivanhoe East Primary School

The 2019 Kids as Catalyst program is delivered in partnership with,

The William Buckland Foundation | Geelong Community Foundation | Sidney Myer Fund | Give Where You Live Geelong | Victorian Department of Education and Training | Equity Trustees | Communities That Care | Australian Government Department of Social Services | Deakin University | Northern Bay College | WCF Thomas Charitable Trust

Previous program Partners

Delivery Partners

Geelong Region – Northern Bay College, Geelong 

Benalla Region – Benalla P-12 College | Tomorrow Today Foundation

Wyndham Region – Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary School | Wyndham Park Primary School | The Smith Family

Goldfields Region – Maldon Primary School


Funding Partners

Victorian Department of Education & Training | VicHealth | Sidney Myer Fund | The William Buckland Foundation
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust | Newsboys Foundation | Collier Charitable Fund | W.C.F. Thomas Charitable Trust


Evaluation Partners

University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health – The Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program


2017 Program Outcomes

2017 Community Projects