G'day from Ben Law
Benjamin Law here – writer, broadcaster, proud Inkwell and Story Factory volunteer and board member.
I hope you’re doing out (actually, scrap that – in) there, and that your Vitamin D levels aren’t too deficient yet.
Given our physically distanced and self-isolated times, you be forgiven for assuming Story Factory has gone into hibernation. After all, the bulk of Story Factory’s work involves going into classrooms and interacting with students, or inviting kids across central and Western Sydney into our headquarters at Redfern and Parramatta for free workshops to boost their creativity and literacy.
So much of Story Factory’s work – to date – has been about close contact. If you’ve ever volunteered, you’ll know so much hinges upon pouring patience, encouragement and attention onto individual kids and teens. Over an hour, a shy kid will go from insisting they can’t write to almost busting to share their story with the entire class about their favourite AFL player scoring a point, a diabolically murderous robot or fart-filled monster. (Or a diabolically fart-filled AFL player.)
But Story Factory hasn't gone into sleep mode at all. In some ways, we've never been busier.
And actually, we need your support more than ever. Right now, we're in the midst of the strangest – and most logistically challenging – Term Two in history.
Kids and teenagers who were already struggling before coronavirus shut schools and forced them to learn from home are now very much at risk: of being forgotten; of never catching up on their education; of being locked out of the workforce and emotionally losing contact with their school and safety net.
Across New South Wales, teachers are understandably challenged with the rate of change and new ways to deliver classes. Parents and guardians are working out how to simultaneously make a living, readjusting to this new reality and somehow educate their children. Many and finding they almost need to bend the laws of physics to make any of this work.
Which means that more than ever, the work Story Factory does is crucial. We’re already helping minimise the adverse impacts of coronavirus on education for kids, teachers and parents alike – not just across New South Wales, but Australia. We're charting new territory, rapidly evolving to ensure we can reach everyone where they are – by mail, video, zoom, email, phone call, even carrier pigeon if needed.
If you’re already a part of our Inkwell program as a financial supporter, we’re indebted – you ensure Story Factory’s important work continues when it’s needed most. If you’d like to consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation, please know your contribution makes a massive local difference, and now has the potential to reach more marginalised young people than ever.
It's a small act with a big result. Small, steady donations make all the difference, allowing us to plan for the future and assure our students that we will be there for them.
Hope you’re well and those you love are safe. We can’t wait to see you – and the kids in your life – again face to face. In the meantime, we’ll see you online!
BENJAMIN LAW (羅旭能)
WRITER & BROADCASTER